Diablo logo

Robtek/Diamond Games
Price: £19.95 cass

The sliding block puzzle has a lot to answer for - particularly now that it has been let loose from its rightful place at the bottom of Christmas stockings, and deemed a suitable subject for computer games.

Diablo is a game based on the sliding block principle, and evidentally designed as mental exercise and a break from blasting the universe to bits or mingling with pixies. Unfortunately, and this comes from someone who enjoys "mental puzzle" type games, it is boring.

The screen portrays a squared grid (12 across by 10 down), each square with a section of "track" on it. A ball runs along the track and your job is to keep the track continuous by moving the squares so that the ball always has somewhere to move on to.

As the ball completes one square, that piece of track is wiped off the screen; the object is to clear each segment before moving on to the next grid with a different pattern of track. For the first fify squares completed, the ball will hit a dead end at the corners of the grid - after that it will reappear at the opposite side of the grid.

The skill obviously lies in foreseeing where the dead ends will fail and manipulating the squares so that they become linked up. This is not particularly difficult, and throughout the game, you are helped by the fact that the ball moves at snail's pace. The ball can be speeded up considerably by clicking on the "hyper-ball" option, but it speeds up so much that it is only really of use when you have a long stretch of clear track set up.

Some variety is offered by giving you the chance to play "series" screens, which follow the same grid pattern from level one upwards each time, or "random" screens, which are freshly generated each time.

But that is all there is to it. It would have been nice if the grid/sliding block idea had been varied much more over the screens, so that completely different challenges were presented in later stages, but frankly its appeal palls fairly quickly.

Besides which, what on earth is a game of this type doing on the Amiga in the first place? Diablo is the sort of game that just might have been called "ingenious" on the Spectrum two or three years ago but it is certainly no advertisement for the Amiga's capabilities.