Review by Stygian Ablyss

"Amazingly, this game is actually fun....if you have nothing better to do."

Ah yes, I remember the good old days of dos (or not....). Black screen, white words, and the infamous words, ''Bad command or file name.'' Anyway, When the devil...I mean, Bill Gates decided to unleash, windows 3.1 after finally realizing that DOS isn't really fun to look at, he released a little game along with the OS (operating system). Yeah, there's another game, but I'm reviewing this one, so don't border me. As I was saying, a game was included with the OS (read: It's ''FREE''. If you exclude the OS cost). Amazingly, the game was fairly fun to play....if you have nothing else to play.

KA BOOM!!!!

Well, as most of you know, Satan...I mean, Bill Gates went on to create more OSes (if there's actually such a word), and right now, here's windows XP. And the little game is, unbelievably, still here. Since I'm using windows XP now, I'll review the windows XP ''version''....which is COMPLETELY similar to all the other versions.

As soon as you click the words ''minesweeper'' (with a lovely spiked ball icon beside it....wait, that's supposed to be a mine. Sorry), you'll be magically warped into the amazing land of...*drum roll* MINESWEEPER!!!! And our little demon...I mean, Mr gates decided to put the name on top of the little blue box surrounding the ''mine field'' in case people with memory defects forgot what they were playing. Anyway, The first thing you'll notice is the smiley face [ :) ] greeting you on top of the ''mine field''. No, it's not smirking at you for playing a free, simple, soundless game when you could have playing some other graphically superior game (with sound). The face changes as the game proceeds, and everything you click a square and succeed in not getting yourself blown up, it'll go [ :o ] (that's about as good as I can describe it.) If you get yourself blown up, it goes [ X( ]. And, finally, if you win, it goes [ 8) ]. Handy, these smiley icons are, aren't they. A message board without smiley icons will lead to a dull world. All words and no smileys make Jack a dull message board poster....

Ok, I'm digressing. Anyway, You'll notice a number on the left, and another on the right. The left number tells you how many bombs there are. The right one is the timer. Your goal, as a minesweeper, is to clear the mines. What else? However, you have the leisure of taking your own sweet time to do it, and an added bonus is that you won't die if you actually hit a mine. Yippee.

On the top left corner of the ''box'' (or window, as the dark messiah....I mean, Bill gates calls it), there's a word, in ''times new roman'' font, saying ''Game''. Pressing it reveals a nice little menu with more words. The difficulty settings are there, beginner, intermediate and expert, as well as a couple of other options (one of them happens to be ''new''. No, it's not new, the option is called ''new''. Get it? The English language is confusing sometimes...). The difficulty settings are poorly named, as an ''expert'' player can be ''killed'' in a second on beginner mode simply because the game relies on luck during the first few rounds. Left click the wrong square, and you'll go BOOM! But, if you're lucky, you'll get a number telling you how many bombs there are in the surrounding area (which means all the squares adjacent to the square you've opened) Sometimes the adjacent square does not have a bomb, so the squares beside it will automatically open until they've reached a square with adjacent bombs. So this goes on... and on.... and on....

Oh wait, there's actually more. The right mouse button actually has some use in this game. You can place flags on the mine field. No, it's not because you want to tell the world you're the first one to plant a flag on a computer generated chessboard like field, but rather, you're telling our bombs that you think one of them lies under the flag. Strangely, they won't explode a flag. Flags have rights, after all. Your goal is simply to place flags on the areas you think have bombs, and ''opening'' the other areas where you think are ''safe''. You can't place more flags than the number of bombs, or the game won't end. Otherwise, some snot nosed little brat will line the entire map with flags and scream: ''I R0X0R!!'' (whatever that means).

Still reading? Amazing. I'd think you'll be asleep by now (or playing the game). Oh, I'll add that the game ''rewards you'' if you manage to clear the map by making the smiley face go [ 8) ]....i.e. a smiley face with sunglasses. Great reward, ain't it.... But I'll say that the fun part comes from clearing the map. Despite it's simplistic gameplay, underneath all those little squares lies a rather challenging (and frustrating) puzzle game. The excitement one gets when you are unsure if the next square is a mine, and the trill (and relief) of clicking a box without a mine is....well, indescribable. The game requires a lot of luck, but there are many puzzle elements in it too, as well as requiring elimination and probability theorems (sort of..). It's because of that, the game has managed to survive in windows for so long...(either that, or because Lucifer...I mean, Bill Gates was lazy to think of other games).

^_^ :) -_-; :0 ^_- 8) -_- X( T_T :P

^______________________^

Love smileys, don't ya?

However, minesweeper gets rather boring quickly. After smashing a horde of killer bombs, the ''ending'' leaves much to be desired. And the graphics are.....plain (grey square, black bombs, a smiley face...nice, eh?). And there's no sound (you can consider the mouse clicks as sound effects if you'd like...) or music (unless you're playing MP3s on your computer). Oh, and there's no story (make one up yourself.). Then there's a noticeable lack of a multiplayer option. Minesweeper is a single player game. A loner's game. Then again, minesweeper is great for times when you have to wait for something and there's nothing to play. Downloading something large over a 56K modem and can't play anything? Play the old sweeper. Waiting for the anti virus to finish scanning? Play minesweeper. Simply put, minesweeper is a great game to play for those ''in-between'' periods where you have nothing else to do. I do not recommend sitting in front of your computer and playing this game for 5 hours straight....unless you're E.T. In that case, welcome to Earth, and here, have some coffee. Oh, and can you please duplicate these 100 dollar bills?

Alright, I'm digressing. While minesweeper may not be as visually stunning as Final Fantasy 10, have stupendous sound effects like Lord of the rings, be as enchanting as harry porter, or have an amazing soundtrack, I'd say that the devil's incarnate...I mean, Bill Gates has managed to create (I know he didn't create it, but what the heck...it's fun to pretend that) an entertaining game that can help pass time while you've nothing else to do, or to pass time (while waiting for the computer to finish something). And the game manages to do that very well. And the BEST part about it, is that it's FREE!!!!. If you exclude the OS cost, that is.

Scores:

Gameplay : 8.0
Graphics : 3.0
Sound : NA
Music : NA
Story : NA (one day, a little smiley decides to kick some bombs' asses. And it was good....)
Control : 10.0 (unless you can't control a mouse. Or can't click. Then control gets a score of zero.)
Originality : 10.0
Fun Factor : Questionable. Debatable. Whatever.

Final Score: 6.8


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/09/02, Updated 01/10/02


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