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Eric Heimburg
Santa Claus could totally kick the bogeyman's ass. He has like 600 hp.

Luxor 2

A very pretty game in the Zuma family, a sort of high-speed shooting game mixed with match-3 gameplay. Similar to Zuma but with decidedly higher production values.


Overview

Fun Factor: Reasonable, though if youíve played a lot of Zuma (or, I presume, Luxor 1), this probably wonít be too different.
Pacing: The game seems pretty well-paced. It did seem to be getting slightly harder by the fourth level, but nothing too dangerous.
Story: None

User Interface

The interface is lively and interesting, with very pretty flickering torches on the main screen.

Menus: Very good, with lots of animation and segues.
Pre-Game Instructions: Has a couple of nice animated instruction screens at beginning of game.
In-Game Tutorial: None
Other Instructions: None. You can re-access the pre-game instructions via the "How To Play" button on the main menu.
Save Game: Yes, auto-saves. Even has a (very brief) "Auto-Saving" screen that pops up, I guess to remind you. Or perhaps to make porting to consoles easier.
Player Profiles: Typical UI for this, but it does not seem to actually delete any profiles! If you delete a profile and create a new one with the same name, it says "A profile with this name already exists. Would you like to restore it?"
Alt+Tab Works: Yes, but with a minor irritant and a minor bug: If you click away from the game in windowed mode, it pauses the game. To unpause, you must press the space bar; thereís no other way to unpause. Thatís the irritant. The bug is that if you press the space bar and quickly click to a different program, Luxor 2 will unpause and keep playing in the background without you.
Alt+Enter Works: Yes
Lefty Swapped Mouse: Yes

Art

This game makes great use of minimalist 3D processing to create some really nice art. See the screenshots for some examples.

However, the "partial 3D" effect can get a little confusing. Many game boards have areas of varying heights, and when balls are rolling on "further away" areas, they show up smaller. This is a nice 3D effect. It is marred by the fact that the ball you shoot is a sprite, not a 3D entity. When you fire a ball from the bottom of the screen, it's always the same size (until it hits balls in the "back", at which point it shrinks down to match their size). Itís only a slight effect, so itís not super disconcerting.

The little motif of having dung beetles push the balls around is a cute touch, though it can be a tiny bit surprising when players realize these dung beetles are merely cosmetic (balls go right through them).

Backgrounds: Thereís a lot going on in these backgrounds. Most background scenes have water, and the water has ripples and occasional spatterings of rain. Many scenes have torches with very nice fire effects.
Game Pieces: Well drawn, if not particularly astonishing. The pieces sport a high amount of flair -- they have very pretty sparkle effects (especially gems).
Fonts: Stock, easy to read fonts.

Sound

Some odd choices of sound effects, harkening back to the pinball machine era.

Music: The music is very "Egyptian". It fits the theme well. However, if balls get near the end of the line, the music suddenly becomes really tense. It seems a bit too melodramatic. The music is high tension when you donít really feel that much tension. Iím not sure if players would normally notice, though.
Sound Effects: The GUI sounds are fine. I especially like the grinding sound during the screen-switch animation. In-game, the sounds are mostly fine, but there are some really weird choices:
  • When you shoot a ball and it doesnít make a match, it makes a "shattering porcelein vase" sound. Itís supposed to be a mild rebuke, but I couldnít tell where the hell the sound was coming from. "Whereís the vase I broke?" It was confusing. Are the balls supposed to be made of pottery?
  • When you get a Stop powerup, briefly pausing the beetlesí movement, a breathy womanís voice says "Stop!" Itís not exactly out of place, but it is very noticeable.
  • When you get a Wild Ball, you hear a howling wolf.
These sounds seem really strange. It reminds me of the sound effects from early-90s pinball machines. This may have been the effect they were going for.

Technical

Very technically sound. No crashes, and very little misbehavior, regardless of what I tried.

Resolution (Windowed): Always 800x600. Will work to resize itself if you Alt+Enter away from a larger full-screen resolution.
Resolution (Full Screen): Supports a wide array ranging from 800x600 to 1440x900 (wide-screen). Also, nice touch: when choosing a new full-screen resolution, it brings up a yes/no box saying "Keep Resolution?" and counting down to 15 seconds. So if you pick a resolution you canít actually display, it will revert.
Quality Settings: The "Detail Level" slider has 6 possible positions. The slider seems to only affect lighting and particle effects. On the lowest setting, torches are not lit and water does not move.
Cursors: Always simple hardware pointer. (Not a big deal since cursor is hidden during normal gameplay and only reappears on menus or when game is paused.)
Engine: Unknown. Stores data in a '.MJZ' file. Uses FMOD engine for sound.
Size Downloaded: 19.2 MB
Size Installed: 20.5 MB
System Requirements: 98SE/ME/2000/XP
Pentium II 700MHz
128MB RAM
25MB free HD space
DirectX 7 (DirectX 8.1 or higher and 32 MB of video memory needed for Hardware
DirectSound-compatible sound card

Miscellaneous

Developer: MumboJumbo, 2006
Distributer: Most portal sites
Credits In Game: No (in readme.html instead)

Links and Reviews

Credits

Screen Shots


Startup screen. This is a static image, aside from the meter which fills up.


Main Menu. The torches flicker and give off smoke; itís a very nice, yet subtle, effect.


This is a single frame of the screen-changing effect. Gold walls come out of the sides of the screen, then reopen onto the new scene. Appropriate sound effects are played. The old scene dims out as it closes, and the new scene lights up as it opens.


Level-indicator screen. While I was playing, there was never anything to select on this screen. It looked like I should be able to click on stuff: you can scroll back and forth to see the whole world map, and stuff blinks and animates. But you canít click on any of the stuff. You just click "Start". I assume if you beat the game, you could click stuff on this map to replay levels.


Game screenshot from early game. Note the vase. That might explain the "broken vase" sound, but not really. This is not the first game level. The water on this level changes as it begins to rain. Very nice effect.


Another game level. Lots of lighting on this one.


Yet another game level. There are a lot of very original designs in here.


This is the same scene but with the quality-meter set to minimum, so you can see the difference. Mainly the lighting effects are gone.


One last game shot, this time from a "Bonus Round". You canít lose in this round; the beetles just push the balls from one side to the other and disappear. Instead of having balls, you fling knives in this round. (The knives are a power-up you can also get during the main game.)


Options screen. On my wide-screen monitor, the Resolution combobox has so many resolutions that the list actually pops up OVER the combobox instead of below it.


Badge screen. This is just a static screen with a long list of accomplishments you can scroll through.


Screen shown right after each level. Different quotes are shown each time; thereís a large selection of quotes, though none of them are very interesting.


Top 10 list. Note that you have to scroll to see all ten names.


First of the two tutorial screens. This screen has lots of moving parts: balls fire, text comes in and out, gems rotate on their axis. Note that when this is first shown to the user before the game, thereís a "Donít show this again" button. In this screenshot, the button is missing because I brought this screen up by pressing the How To Play button on the main menu.


Second tutorial screen, accessed by pressing ďMoreĒ from the previous screen. Less activity here; a few of the power-ups glow or animate, but most are static.


This is what the game looks like while paused. You have to press the space bar to unpause; mouse clicks donít do the trick. Note that it keeps track of how many times you've played and won this screen.


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