Review by King Broccoli

"Click, click........BOOOOM"

There wouldn't be a person who owns a computer that hasn't heard of the juggernaut otherwise known as Minesweeper. Since it's packaged with Windows there isn't anybody that can escape from it's ever-reaching grip. Minesweeper is simplicity at it's finest, but for some unknown reason it's hooked thousands of people and managed to frustrate so many more.

GAMEPLAY
The gameplay is of course where Minesweeper excels. The premise is simple and the game is easy to play, easier to get hooked on, but for some reason the majority of the population have no idea how to play Minesweeper.
You're presented with a box (referred to as the minefield) of a certain height and width. Contained inside this minefield is a certain number of mines, it's the players duty to mark all of these bombs without getting the smiley face and himself blown to bits. Control is done completely with the mouse, the left click will uncover a square and the right puts a flag on a box, marking a bomb.
When you click on a square, underneath will be a number (if you don't get blown up that is) from one through to eight. This number represents how many mines are touching that particular square. Using a bit of strategy and some lateral thinking you have to work out where the bombs are and therefore solve this minefield. Seeing how simple it is, it's a surprise that so many people have trouble figuring this out.
To add a bit of depth to the game there's a desing your own level option, choose the size of your box and how many bombs to find and you're set to go. It might not be much but it's enough to keep some people interested.
Overall, the gameplay of Minesweeper is inexplicably addictive once a player has gotten into it. Even if you're not a fan of the game I bet you'll find yourself ''accidentally'' clicking on Minesweeper and having a few goes at it. On levels of addictiveness Minesweeper is up alongside the likes of Tetris, it's so hard to click on that X button.

GRAPHICS
The graphics of Minesweeper aren't really pushing your computer to it's fullest. It consists of grey boxes, numbers of assorted colours and of course the ubiquitous smiley face located up the top of your playing screen. You can choose to play the game with the colour or simply in black and white, the B & W is plain ugly, and whilst it's nothing special to look at the colour mode at least offers a friendlier and reasonably prettier outlook.

SOUND
The sound of Minesweeper, well, there actually isn't any sound to be found here at all. Being a simple game I suppose sound effects were pretty unneccesary. By using a hack sound can be added to the game, but even then it's only your normal windows sounds, and you already hear enough of them without adding them to the game. Sound wouldn't have really added anything to the game so it would be unfair to remove marks just because the game is mute.

LIFESPAN
That said, the lifespan of Minesweeper is a good, maybe even great one. First you'll teach yourself how to play the game, learning which ones will be bombs and which won't be. Then you'll try and learn a few time-saving strategies and take on a big battle to see if you can set some killer times that will impress your friends and colleagues alike. Finally, once these tasks have been taken care of you'll hit the custom mode to challenge yourself as hard as you can. These three steps ensure that Minesweepers lifespan will outlive that of your computers, you'll probably go through three of thr darn things before Minesweeper doesn't excite you any more.

FUN FACTOR
The fun factor contained in this game is not great, in fact more than anything Minesweeper is just plain frustrating. It's unfortunate really, you may be taking on one of the more difficult levels and not being overly successful, and of course because it's so damned addictive you won't quit the game, oh no! Odds are you'll just get more and more annoyed until you're just one big fiery ball of rage. It can do that to a person, it could do it to you!

CHALLENGE
The challenge offered here is simply perfect. Anyone and I mean ANYONE will find a game that will challenge them. First up, there are the three set difficulties (10 bombs, 40 bombs, 99 bombs), these should offer a decent challenge to most players, but if you can't find anything to your liking then it's simply over to the custom mode. A little bit of trial and error should make your skill level perfectly clear to you and from there you can design levels which will require every bit of your talent to finish or even levels that you can breaze through in two seconds. A computer illiterate player could easily play minesweeper and have a decent challenge. It just doesn't get any better than this.

OVERALL
Overall, Minesweeper is the perfect time-wasting game. It doesn't require any long term attention and you can play quick easily gratifying games, no game will last longer than five minutes but hours can be spent diffusing these mines. Overlooking the audio/video components Minesweeper is almost perfect, it has all the ingredients that make up a classic game. It's packaged with Windows for a reason, because people will use their computers for far longer because of it.
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GOOD POINTS
- As addictive as it gets
- Challenge range is unsurpassed
- Got 15 minutes to kill? This is the perfect solution

NOT SO GOOD POINTS
- As frustrating as it gets
- No sound
- Simple graphics
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GRAPHICS - 4/10
SOUND - 0/10
GAMEPLAY - 10/10
LIFESPAN - 9/10
FUN FACTOR - 5/10
CHALLENGE - 10/10
OVERALL - 8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/03/00, Updated 09/10/01


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