Strategically speaking it could be quite puzzling...

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INFOGRAMES * £25.99 * 1/2 meg * Mouse * Out now

In a chess-playing kind of way, 7 Colors (sic) is one of those abstract concepts that means next to nothing to just about everyone except the guy who invented it, and it only means anything to him when he's at the wrong end of eight pints of Gold Label.
But if we choose to ignore the abstract comment on the all-consuming nature of today's society, in a patronising Open University kind of way, we can take the game on a superficial, mechanical level and look at it from that point of view.

The concept is simple - the board is made up of randomly distributed blocks of multicoloured diamonds, each of which is one of the seven colours. Starting from a point opposite your computer or human opponent you will be in possession of one diamond of one colour. Your first move will be to change your diamond to another colour, but not that of your opponent.

If you have chosen wisely a diamond of this chosen colour will be adjacent to the one you possess meaning that you have now two of one colour. There will be other diamonds of this colour, but only the ones connected by a full face to your original diamond will be in your possession. And so you progress across the board by selecting colours that will add to your "territory".

Confused? You will be. On top of all this, any diamonds of miscellaneous colours that become trapped by your diamonds will become diamonds of your colour.

With the overall aim being to capture over 50 per cent of the play area this strategy may suggest a plan of action that involves capturing a thin string of diamonds across the board so that when they meet the far edge of the play area, all the multi-coloured diamonds trapped by this "string" will become yours.

The game is also timed ina see-saw manner - as your time drops your opponents builds up, so if you get really quick for a succession of moves then the situation may arise where your foe has little or not time to make a move.
But wait! There is even more to confuse you with. The game will also include barriers on some levels which you have tow work around to conquer the areas you need, making it just that little bit more complex. The scoring system is suitably confusing, in the usual communist way.

You begin with a score of 300, and as you win or lose this score is adjusted and saved to disk after each game, until a league is established with various people who have come across your Amiga and decided to play 7 Colors. Unlikely, yes, but a very New Age, love the neighbours kind of concept that could happen in the enlightened nineties.

Despite the apparent complexities that probably have you blithering into your coffee at this very moment it is at least seven dozen times easier to play than it is to describe, and enjoyable in that bizarre Infogrames kind of way that kept me engrossed with Alpha Waves for ages.

As you get more and more into it, working your way up through the levels against the computer, little strategies start emerging and it slowly becomes surprisingly addictive. Not "keep you awake at night" addictive - but then those games suffer a very early burn out - but a "casual relationship" addictive that will always be fresh when you come back to play it.

Well worth it purely to build up the collection and impress your mates.

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Infogrames £25.99

This is an absorbing colour-based puzzle test, but just lacks any real impact. A finely tuned, strategic balancing act where you have to dominate the game board with a single colour. It plays like Othello with seven different counters and a tough computer opponent. You start at opposite ends of a multi-hued board and build out from there. By selecting colours you gradually work to dominate the board and win the round.

7 Colours is well put together but doesn't pull players in. Those seeking a quietly-taxing board-style game will love it - once you get into it, it's good - but folks who like action will be disappointed by the absence of pressure which is essential for this style of game.

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Im September bescherte uns Infogrames ein "Tetris" Remake, jetzt schiebt die franzözische Company die nächste Knobelei eines russischen Programmierers nach. Nur laider fanden wir auch bei Dimitri Pashkovs Spielchen eine fette Made im Speck...

Die Idee hinter 7 Colors ist simpel. Aber grundsätzlich gar nicht übel: Der Rechner bringt ein Zufallsmuster aus unzähligen, verschiedenfarbigen Rauten auf den Bildschirm, ein oder zwei Spieler sollen nun mindestens die Hälfte des Spielfelds in die eigene Farbe einfärben.

Das geschieht durch einfaches Anklicken irgendeiner Raute, die dem momentanen Herrschaftsgebiet benachbart ist. Dazu gibt's reichlich Optionen wie Barrieren, die man ins Spielfeld setzen kann, Größe und Farben der Rauten dürfen verändert werden, die maximale Zugzeit ist zwischen 10 und 30 Sekunden variierbar, und ein Turniermodus sowie ein Editor zum Basteln eigener Rautenfelder sind auch mit von der Partie.

Soviel zum Speck, jetzt zur Made: Gelegentlich wechseln die Rauten von alleine die Farbe, manchmal bilden sich im eigenen Hoheitsgebiet auch Riesenrauten - und niemand weiß, warum das so ist! Die Anleitung verliert über derlei Dinge nämlich leider kein Wort, weshalb der Spielspaß schon bald einer gewissen Konfusion Platz macht.

Und genau das ist der Knackpunkt: Eine Knobelei, die nicht vollkommen logisch ist, verliert zu schnell an Reiz. Schade, denn die schlichte aber saubere Grafik hätten wir gern in Kauf genommen, zumal die Maussteuerung prima ist und sich die Klavierbegleitung ausgesprochen nett anhört. Schade um die Made...

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Diamonds are a girl's best friend, they say. Unfortunately, that's the only diamonds-related opening line I can think of, but it'll have to do as 7 Colors is based, by and large, on diamonds. Whole screenloads of them. 7 Colors is a puzzle game, you see, and perhaps the next obvious step is for me to try and explain what you have to do.

To start off with, all the diamonds are different colors (sorry, colours). You start off 'owning' one of them, in the bottom left-hand corner. What you have to do to score points is 'annex' adjacent diamonds by changing the colour of your first diamond to match them. You can choose any color you like as long as it's different from your opponent's (who's trying to do much the same thing, starting in the opposite corner), and all diamonds of that colour that are touching diamonds you already own become yours. The aim is to take over 50 percent of the screen.

I know it's a bit of a crap explanation, but at least it's better than the one in the manual. Then again, anything would be as there they don't even try to explain it - you're just meant to work it out by yourself. This doesn't take long, but even so, eh?

The graphics are, well, diamond-shaped and the sound consists of either effects or some astonishingly repetitive music. What really matters, though, is whether it works as a game. For the first few goes it does, and once you've worked out what's happening and 'strategies' have become apparent it gets very addictive.

After a few games, however, it becomes increasingly obvious that success depends more on luck, and the original layout of the screen, than skill. (This applies whether you're playing against the computer or a puzzle-gaming chum). Then it starts getting boring.

7 Colors logo

Infogrames' latest draws its Americanized name from the seven colours of crystals that make up each of its levels. Without the need for a lengthy scenario, Seven Colors is a battle over a field of the aforementioned coloured crystals.

Played against the computer or friend, the player must link with adjacent crystals to expand their percentage of the screen. However, by linking with clusters of six or seven like-coloured crystals this process can be greatly speeded up until the first person to cover over 50% wins.

The two players are both given a corner, from where their quest for supremacy can begin. Depending on the chosen difficulty level, the number of crystals between them will vary from hundreds to a mere handful and, using the mouse pointer, each must take a turn in expanding their domain.

Although this doesn't sound particularly taxing, Seven Colors is a pleasant puzzler which starts to hot up as both players approach the middle of the play area. In addition, just to make things a little more trying, walls can be added to confuse matters and render some areas inaccessible.

The main problem with the game is that, despite the three difficulty levels and the wall ide, it doesn't have the variety to sustain prolonged interest. It's fun for a while, but it certainly isn't twenty-six quids' worth of fun.