Sunday, 25 November 2012

Mini-Game Review - GEMZ on X1000

Today I am looking at a new game called GEMZ for the X1000 under AmigaOS4. The game is written by Fabio Falcucci and Pascal Papara. It is also available on other platforms like AROS, MorphOS, Windows and Mac. It was written using the Hollywood development package.

The game is essentially a Puzzle game where the objective is to get rid of all the tiles in the centre of the game field. This is done by clicking on the tiles around the edge of the gameplay areas which horizontally or vertically can slide into a tile in the centre of the game field.

As tiles are moved from the outside of the game field they are replaced with another tile of a random colour.

When two or more tiles of the same colour in the game field touch, they are removed from the game and your score is increased.

There is a timer for each level. When your time expires, your score is quickly reduced until it reaches zero. Once it reaches zero the game is over.

It is quite a challenging game and I got through the first few levels without difficulty but it gets quite hard very quickly!

Some mention needs to be made of the install process for the game as it is a bit confusing and not explained very well.

The game demo can be downloaded from the GEMZ website here. However please note that the game also requires a quite large game data file (489MB) to be downloaded from the same page.

The reason for the large file is mostly because it includes 43 minutes of uncompressed music that is included with the game data! Using MP3 or OGG format music files would be more space efficient I think.

I understand the music is left uncompressed for AmigaOS3 game players, but given the tight storage constraints on AmigaOS3 systems a 489MB download is not possible for many of these systems to store and extract on hard disk anyway, unless they have been significantly upgraded.

It is unfortunate that the data files are so large since a game of this type would normally be fairly small - it may put people off downloading it which would be a shame as it is a interesting game.

After downloading the two archives (Game Data and Game Demo), extract the Game Data where you want it on your hard disk as usual, but make sure first that the structure you extract into eg. Work:Games/OS4/GEMZ exists before you extract to the GEMZ folder.

After extracting the game data archive to this folder location, it will create a another subfolder called GEMZ. It is important not to change this, or the installation of the game demo archive will fail as I discovered below:

So after I corrected the error as described above, I ended up with the correct folder structure.

I then reran the game archive installation (which I extracted to RAM:) again and this time it was successful (click to expand):

The installer then prompts a User license agreement:

The installer reminds you that you need to download the game data archive and extract it before running the installer:

The installation finishes quickly, however the final message below is missing the installation path:

I have to say the installer and install process needs some work and I noticed on the Amiga forums that a few people had problems with it. So I hope my tips help some people out!

The final GEMZ subfolder then looks like this:

When I first ran the game it came up with an error trying to initialise the sound and exited. I found the issue was that if I ran TuneNet or some other audio program prior to running GEMZ it would report that error. When I boot the X1000 and ran the GEMZ game first, I had no issues...

Here are some game play screenshots, starting with the intro which after a background story explains the games rules:

There are a number of difficulty levels to choose from - I didn't go beyond Normal because I was hopeless at that level! (Screengrab utility didn't do a good job of the screen capture as the tiles are moving quickly, sorry!):

You can run the game on the workbench or full screen. Onto the game itself, below I am working through Level 2:

Onto Level 3 now:

A few levels later and things get harder - much harder:

 Game Over! To be honest I am not very good at this game!

HiScore screen - I am not even close to getting an entry on this. I am curious how you get an entry on it given that your score has to be zero before the game ends....anyway!

To register the game costs Euro4,99 using PayPal from the webshop linked from the Download page  here. Once paid, as I did, within a few days you will receive the registered game executable via email with the registration assigned to your name.

This game is interesting - it needs some tweaks, especially to the installation process, and sometimes the music seems to stutter, especially in the main menu - but it's good fun to play, although I am not good enough to do the game justice!


  1. Hi Epsilon and thank you for the detailed review, I'm the GEMZ's developer and I'd like to advise you and your readers that in few daysa new version will be released to fix many problems including the uncompressed audio data reducing the game archive to 130Mb.

    Anyway thanks again for your review and stay tuned for the upcoming release :)

    Fabio Falcucci

  2. Ah! Another thing about the HiScore entry!
    The game allow you to quit it at any time using the pause menu, if you have enough points to enter the HiScore you will be prompted to enter the name ;)
    So you have the chance to break your session but enter the HiScore or continue with the risk to loose you current score: is up to you to decide, and that's another challenge.