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Krisalis Software * £19.99 Joystick/Keyboard

Slippin-rippin-dang-fang-rotten-zarg-a-barg-a-ding-dong… not the kind of language you would use in front of your maiden aunt, but certainly the kind of language you’ll be using within an hour of loading Revelation.

Being a thieving, oily, slippery crim’ is not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s not just a case of sneaking about in a stripy T-shirt with a black bag with ‘swag’ emblazoned proudly across it. Oh no, being a crim’ is a lot more demanding than that. Not ony do you have to contend with guard dogs, security men and infra-red burglar alarms, but you also have to deal with your embarrassing professional status and extremely complex safe mechanisms.

These safe mechanisms are both the bane of your criminal life and the primary object of the game. Your task is to crack the safes and pocket the loot you find inside.

Smash ‘n’ grab
The game opens with an impressive animated sequence, where your character sneaks, in silhouette, past the window of some extremely posh-looking gaff. Both he music and the opening animation are very similar to the Pink Panther cartoon series that used to be on the telly.

The actual game screen is a puzzle variant, and it is rather original, not to mention initially somewhat confusing. Beautifully drawn on the screen are the tumbler wheels of a safe. Some, or perhaps only one, of these wheels will have a dial with which it can be turned. Each dial has four coloured circles on its face, and certain dials stand beside a lock, out of which a small coloured arrow points. In order to complete a screen, you must turn the dials until each arrow points at a circle of a corresponding colour.

It sounds simple enough, but there is a snag. The tumbler wheels without dials cannot be turned directly, but will move 90 degrees clockwise when another wheel matches coloured circles with it. The combinations of turns that are required to complete a screen within the time limit become very complex, very quickly.

During the game, at random intervals, a small variety of bonus icons will appear. If grabbed quickly, these little power-ups will reward the lucky crim’ with features like extra time, a restart option for when a screen has been messed up completely and, the most valuable of the lot, a pause, which is a lot more useful than it sounds, giving you a chance to stop and think about what to do next.

Crime does pay
If your brain is still intact after a quick read of the mind-warping instruction manual, then experimenting with the mechanics of the game soon reduces the initial confusion to a vague numb sensation in your head.

It soon becomes evident that a great deal of fun can be had and the bonus screens between levels contain loot, and additions like extra lives and padlocks (stop correctly-placed wheels turning).

The graphics are nice, if not completely heart-stopping, and the music really suits the game, giving a real sense of urgency. In fact the tension gives this game an edge. You will find yourself jumping when you inadvertently set off the alarm or accidentally reset a near-completed screen.

Don’t be put off if it sounds complex: it’s not as difficult as first impressions lead you to believe and patience and persistence reveal this to be one of the better puzzle games available. So put on your special robber trousers and get thieving.

Tresorchen öffne dich!

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Safeknacken als Knobelspiel? Eigentlich ein Wunder, daß bisher noch keiner auf diese naheliegende Idee gekommen ist! Also Leute, setzt die Strumpfsmasken auf, haltet die Nachtschlüssel bereit und folgt mir unauffällig...

Wer hat schon mal einen fremden Tresor ohne Einwilligung des rechtmäßigen Besitzers geöffnet? Keiner? Gut, dann erkläre ich am besten erstmal, wie das geht: In aller Regel werden diese stählernen Wundertüten durch einen Schließmechanismus geschützt, der sich nur durch die Eingabe einer bestimmten Zahlenkobnation öffnen läßt.

Dazu dienen die Rädchen an der Tür: wenn man sie in die richtige Position bringt, geben sie einen Sperrstift frei, der dann wiederum den eigentlichen Verschluß öffnet – und schon ist man um ein vergammeltes Briefmarken-album reicher!

Bei Revelation! Befinden sich nun keine Zahlen auf den Rädchen, sondern Farbpunkte, und anstelle der Sperrstifte verrichten hier bunte Pfeile ihren Dienst, das Prinzip ist aber (fast) das gleiche. Hauptunterschied: Die meisten Rädchen können nicht direkt gedreht werden, sondern nur über andere "Steuerräder".

Das mag sich kompliziert anhören, ist es aber keineswegs, und genau da liegt auch das Problem: Sobald man mal weiß, wie‘s geht, fällt die Lösung der einzelnen Level nicht mehr besonders schwer. Schade, denn, das Game kommt grafisch und besonders soundmäßig sehr ordentlich daher, bietet stolze 88 Level plus Bonus-abschnitte, originelle Extras, einen motivationsfördernden Zwei-Spieler-Modus und vor allem mal eine wirklich originelle Spielidee. Aber so leicht darf man es Safeknackern einfach nicht machen… (od)

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There’s an elite group of well-designed puzzle games, but Revelation won’t be joining them. The game comes across as a mish-mash of Rubik’s clock and cheap brain-teasers, with a frustrating, repetitive style.

The object is to crack the locking mechanisms of safes by rotating tumblers. Each tumbler has four coloured points. If identical colours on two separate tumblers point toward each other they act like magnets, spinning both tumblers one click round. Not all tumblers can be rotated so the repellent qualities of each colour has to be exploited to spin the untouchable tumblers. This is where the puzzle element lies. By rotating certain tumblers so they force other tumblers to spin round, the lock will be cracked.

Bonus levels unsuccessfully attempt to relieve the monotony of the puzzle sections – these have you whipping open deposit boxes in an attempt to find jewelry and bonus points. And that’s the game in a nutshell.

Though the puzzles increase in size, their complexity fluctuates between easy and near impossible, regardless of level. Software starved puzzle freaks may be tempted to give this a look, but I think they’ll be disappointed.