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Rich Diamond

Developed by Core Concepts
Price: $16.95 (Electronic Software Download)
http://www.coregames.com

With all the saturation of RTS, RPG and FPS games it's difficult to remember a time when other genres thrived. One such genre that has all but disappeared of late is the puzzle genre. Only Microsoft's Pandora's Box springs to mind when I think of a PC puzzle game from the last few years. Core Concepts attempt to change all that and have released a very enjoyable puzzle game in Rich Diamond.

Looking at the screenshots you'd be forgiven for thinking the game was an isometric version of LucasArts' Indiana Jones Desktop Adventures. In fact it's highly likely that the titular Rich Diamond was based on Indiana Jones, at least in terms of appearance. In fact just like Indiana Jones, Rich Diamond has to watch out for arrows, giant boulders and various enemies in his pursuit of escaping from his current situation.

So what's the game all about then? Well basically you have to manoeuvre Rich out of his current maze and also collect the diamonds along your travels. However, it's not as simple as it might initially seem. All the available diamonds have to be collected otherwise the trapdoor, from which you exit the maze/level will not open. You'll have to learn to manipulate the movement patterns of your enemies if you're to succeed. You also have to cope with lava, shooting arrows, giant boulders, bombs and many more potential life ending threats. On some levels you'll have to manoeuvre Rich through tunnels and you can't see where he is for moments at a time which can prove tricky.

Collecting diamonds and solving the puzzles will gain you points and you'll lose points for every step you take so it pays not to mess around and solve the puzzles as quickly as possible with as good a score as possible. What makes Rich Diamond different is that your enemies are not free roaming. They move in accordance with your movements. You have to make the right movements in order to manipulate the movements of your enemies. That is not to suggest that we have really dumb enemies here, far from it. You can't lure a spider into a pit for instance because it's too smart to fall for it. You can lure the small robots to their doom though and walking past boulders and arrows will trigger their movement.

You'll be pleased to learn that the game isn't a test of how fast you can move your fingers on the keyboard or mouse (the game can be controlled by either) as enemy movements are directly linked to your own. If anything the game has rather a turn-based feel to it that should please puzzle fans everywhere. The game would have the potential to seriously frustrate you but mercifully the developers saw fit to include a save feature so you needn't lose any progress that you make during a level.

Graphically the whole thing has been kept simple and uncluttered. A clean isometric look has been used for the game and as a result there is no struggling with camera angles so all your attention is focused on the gameplay and that's the way it should be. You can choose to give the game one of three styles. Dungeon, Desert and Jungle themes have been included and can be applied to any level. You can even download an Egyptian theme from the Core Concepts website. The game comes with a level editor so you can create your own levels which will of course extend the life of the game should you manage to complete all 80 levels (which is going to take a very long time).

Rich Diamond is absolutely fine for deaf gamers the tutorial is given completely in text so you'll be up and running, or should that be thinking?, in no time at all. Rich will occasionally make the odd comment and these comments are not shown in text but they have no bearing on the gameplay.

Rich Diamond is one of those games which thinking gamers will appreciate. The complexity of the puzzles is just right and encourages you to rely on your intelligence and logic rather than having fingers that move at the speed of light. Puzzle fans everywhere have a new game to enjoy.

Overall Game Rating: 8.8/10
It's not that often you get a game that really encourages you to think these days but Rich Diamond is just that and it's like a breath of fresh air.

Deaf Gamers comment:
No problems at all for deaf gamers.

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