REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

Komplex
by Not Known
Legend [1]
1985
Crash Issue 17, June 1985   (1985-05-30)   page(s) 11,12

It seems that the trouble began when some dotty scientists realised that the object hurtling into our galaxy was not a bit of space debris, but, was in fact a very complex, alien artefact. The machine is out of the range of our probes, so how can the scientists discover all there is to learn from the master race that built this express blob? You guessed it, they are going to send you up there to put the brakes on. Some smart Alec in a white coat has worked out that if access can be gained to the central control computer and the correct sequence of codes be placed in it the ship will grind to a halt. Well that's the theory, it's up to you to try it out in practice.

You start on the deck called 'CCC' this is on level 4 deck 4/4, roughly in the middle of the ship. The layout of the ship is constant, it has 7 decks but the number of 'rooms' varies according to the deck. Decks 1 and 7 have only one room, decks 2 and 6 have 9 rooms (3X3), decks 3 and 5 have 25 rooms (5X5) while deck 4 has a matrix of 7X7 giving 49 rooms. A simple map of the ship would be diamond shaped. Each of the decks and rooms are interconnected by service tubes.

The player is presented with a 3D, vector graphic, view of the space ship internals. The focus of the game, the 'CCC', has seven empty racks and inside each is a letter and an empty space. In the start up game the letters are K, O, M, P, L, E and X, the task is to find the seven letters and place them in the empty space within the corresponding racks. The missing letters will be found scattered about the ship inside the many other racks the vast majority of which contain nothing but circuits, so it's going to take you a long time especially if you don't make a map as you progress.

To help you your ship is equipped with a target indicator which points in the direction of the rack containing a target letter. Once you have found the rack and docked with it you will be able to transfer the letter to your own ship, then it's back to the CCC to place the letter into the correct rack. Repeat this process with the remaining six letters and the Alien will have been re-programmed.

The scientists on Earth will not have explained the ships automatic defence system, possibly because they thought that you might not go, but we know what a brave bunch CRASH readers are. The first element of the defence system is the surface lasers, long poles protruding from the floor, firing as your ship passes and damaging shields. The second element is mobile droids called Monitors and Wardens which seek you out and fire on you, again damaging shields. When you move along a service tube you will be fired upon by the third defence mechanism. Your own laser will not work within the confines of the tube so all you can do is minimise damage by deflecting the attacks with an external shield. Shield strength is indicated by an array of short bars under the playing area. With each hit they will shorten and eventually vanish. Shield strength can be improved by destroying the droids with the laser provided you and allowing their debris to settle.

The degree of hassle you get from the mobile attackers depends on the ships awareness of your presence, if you scamper about the place bumping into walls, tubes and over motion detectors the ship will alert more of its defence against you. The player knows how aware of him the ship is by the number of 'warden alert points' he has accumulated, these, together with the damage to your shield, can be cleared by changing decks.

Apart from the target location device your ship has an accurate navigation log to help keep track of your location, and luckily you don't have to travel along a tube to find out where it leads because in a fit of inexplicable cooperation the ship will tell you the destination of a tube when you dock with it.

Accompanying this game is the free Editor which allows customisation of the alien ship you can turn off the various defences for instance. It has been included to aid in making maps which in turn speed up the process of playing the game. Another feature of the Editor is that it will generate entirely new maps to extend play. Each new map name will invoke a map, different in every respect except for the number of rooms and levels, which will remain constant.

It is important to remember that the map generator does not generate random maps, if two machines each had a map named 'CRASH85' then those maps will be identical. Since each map is generated by a combination of any seven letters the Komplex Editor is capable of creating a total of well lots and lots of different maps.

Control keys: all definable to suit player
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor type, Sinclair 2
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: mostly black and white but effective where used
Graphics: very effective
Sound: very little
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 1
Screens: 119 locations for each map name

'After the failiure of The Great Space Race Legend have rapidly produced Komplex. On playing I was totally confused, but as time went by things became clearer. Although confused I had fun shooting wardens etc. After learning how to play, the game's awesome task was before me. I managed a 'K' and now I just need the rest. This game, with pretty decent 3D graphics really grows on you in time. All in all a much better offering than last time.'

'Komplex is a very attractive looking game, with nicely moving 3D objects drifting about the screen. The detailed ground rises and falls as you move towards it very well. It looks like a very professionally written program, but oddly enough, as soon as you move the screen moves jerkily left and right, although this isn't as noticeable if moving forwards or backwards. It's a little bit disturbing. I like the idea of the regenerating shields which enables you to progress through enemy territory for some considerable time, and the docking idea is really good, especially as you float down hexagonally- shaped tunnels, where the sense of forward movement is created by waves of colour coming towards you. However, I began to lose interest after a while - perhaps it could do with more fast action, although the strategy side of it is quite good, and it's a little over-priced for what you get'

'I am really having a great deal of difficulty making my mind up about this game. The effects created by the graphics are superb and the interior of the space ship is truly alien and eerie. The pure arcade player may not find satisfaction in the shooting action, nor will his adrenalin pulse around his system as he tries to avoid death because dying is not easy. The real purpose of the game is to explore and eventually re-program the ships central computer. After playing the game for an hour there is little chance of your being surprised by the objects and scenery that will be found on a new deck. As a pure mapping game Komplex is winner because of the number of non-random maps that can be created, all of them graphically excellent. An astute player will soon learn that the more care he takes in moving about the ship the less aggravation he will get from the defence system, others may simply ignore the attackers on the grounds there is little chance of being killed anyway.'

Use of Computer 79% 78% 62% 51% 64% 65% 72%
Summary: General Rating: An unusual 3D game more involved with mapping than fighting.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 16, July 1985   page(s) 42

Roger Komplex is just what it says - complex. Apparently, you can create seventy thousand million different maps if so inclined but player-generated maps, just like the standard K.O.M.P.L.E.X. one, all have seven deck levels of a diamond shape. Changing the map is just like changing one's underpants - you don't notice after you've put your trousers back on. That, pretty much, (not that there's anything pretty about Willis's underwear. Ed) sums up the game. Despite excellent scrolling 3-D action, a high yawn factor is guaranteed by crushingly similar - and uninteresting geography.

But that's not all, because location komplexity (groan) can be safely ignored. The less-cerebral amongst us just zap about blasting the monitors and wardens with lasers and collecting and dropping Target Modules in the appropriate place. Fallen safely to sleep yet? Yes, Komplex isn't really complex (double groan) at all because it's just another old dose of shootiebangs in space clothes.

Komplaining without kompassion about the kontent without kongratulating (kut it out! Ed), the programmer on graphical action excellence may seem unfair, but computer games are supposed to be fun, not works of art, and this ain't. Just like the last offering, The Great Space Race, it's better than Valium. 2/5 MISS

Dave: Will Legend ever release a good game? This one's just as boring as TGSR though the graphics are a bit better. Basically a komplete waste of time and money. 0/5 MISS

Ross: Is it me? I couldn't make head or tail of this and when I did I realised it was a waste of time. Nope, it was them! 1/5 MISS

Dave 0/5 1/5 2/5
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 39, June 1985   page(s) 26

IS LEGEND taking its revenge on the computer press for its opinions of the Great Space Hype? If so, it has the perfect weapon in Komplex.

To begin with, you have to plough through pages of miniscule and illegible instructions. The aim is to descend the many levels of an alien planet picking up the letters, K, O, M, P, L, E and X in order and storing them in a central computer.

Despite the title the game is simple. Target Sensors on your control panel turn from red to green as you approach a letter and pinpoint a telephone booth shaped object, called a Rack. Docking with the Rack releases the letter into your cargo hold.

Docking with Service Tubes takes you through a tunnel to the next level. In this phase you control a single laser shield to fend off approaching aliens. If your craft sustains too much damage you will be unable to pick up a letter on the next level.

Sound is minimal and the graphics are basic and wireframe, though good 3D and masking techniques are used.

All this makes for mundane and plodding entertainment, considerably less fun than the arcade oldie Battlezone, of which it is but a thinly disguised version.

It is, however, the optical effects which really put this game in a class of its own. The screen flashes red on and off continuously, as your ship is battered with a hail of laser fire. Head-bangers might enjoy this rape of the eyeballs but, frankly, it gave me a headache.

Clare Edgeley

Publisher: Legend
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston

**

Overall 2/5
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 43, October 1985   page(s) 22

PRETTY CLEVER aliens, the lot in Komplex - they've built a vast maze of a city to test our resources. Naturally you're unable to resist the challenge, so it's into the mazes of Komplex City for another bash at convincing the aliens of humanity's superiority.

Legend's series of shoot-'em-ups got off to a shaky start with Komplex, but the sequel more than redeems earlier disappointments. Komplex City is fast, long, and, as its name suggests, complicated.

The maze of tunnels has over 65,000 intersections, and there are several trillion possible mazes - you can change them by typing in a name for the maze at the beginning. Then, every time you use the same name you will get the same maze.

To help you there are a number of on-screen scanners and the like. The long and short range scans show how far away from the targets you are - there are 11 to collect.

Another display shows what lies just ahead in the tunnels. At each intersection you can choose your direction, or whether to go into hyperdrive. You may also get an opportunity to increase your score, make a short jump or restore your shields - with the exception of jump, those involve maximising the size of bar graphs or the amount of green on the screen. It is what lies ahead in terms of shields, score bonuses or jumps that is shown on the display, and you will have to plan carefully to make the best use of those options.

Hyperdrive is great fun. The screen suddenly bursts into colour and various mushroom-like baddies come at you. Some are animated, with ports opening and guns extending to blast you. Hyperdrive is costly on the shields, but vital for completion of the game in less than a month.

The tunnels themselves are done in wireframe graphics, with aliens coming at you at some speed. While there is little new about the graphics style it is extremely effective, and the flashes and various stuttering sounds indicating gunfire or damage are not so obtrusive as to hurt the eyes - a boon to reviewers at the end of a long week of zapping. You can switch off the sound or the flashes anyway.

One particularly good feature is the autopilot, which actually plays the game for you and can be cut in at any time. It's not a very skilled autopilot, and you will have little trouble in doing better yourself, but it does provide a good way of learning how the game is played.

Legend has clearly put a lot more care into Komplex City than into recent products, and that attention to detail has paid off. You probably won't want another shoot-'em-up this side of Christmas.

Chris Bourne

Publisher: Legend
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Sinclair, Cursor, Kempston, AGF

*****

Overall 5/5
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 45, July 1985   page(s) 20

MACHINE: Spectrum
SUPPLIER: Legend
PRICE: £9.95

Legend have a habit of making pretty looking games which don't live up to their promises. After the disaster of the Great Space Race - probably the most horribly hyped game of all time - Legend make a comeback bid with Komplex.

Komplex is a giant meteorite which just happens to be making a passing visit to earth. It is said to contain evidence of an alien culture - and the boffins want someone to pilot a probe to discover its secrets. Just a slight similarity to Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama here, eh guys?

Your probe can stop Komplex zapping out into the galaxy again by getting hold of seven modules hidden in the many different levels of the alien meteorite. Well, I think that's the case - but the instruction sheet is so badly written that it's hard to tell.

Once you are on the surface of the meteorite, you find yourself in a landscape consisting of alien telephone boxes and telegraph poles which fire at you. The telephone boxes lead to other levels of the meteorite via service tubes.

There are guardians of the meteorite called Monitors and Wardens which you can zap with your laser.

The game also features an "editor" which enables you to disable lasers and change features of the game to suit your mood. You ca also change ma Komplex system at will should you wish.

Legend have done it again - or rather they haven't. They will soon end up with the title of producer the world's greatest one hit wonders.

It's a game that just doesn't quite make it - too Komplex you could say!

Graphics 9/10 5/10 6/10 6/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne