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Manufacturer: Atari
Year: 1989

Personal hiscore - 1,734,886

Klax is a variation on a 3D-style Tetris game. You control a paddle which can move left and right above five empty columns, each five rows high. Coloured tiles move towards you along a conveyor belt and you must catch them and deposit them into one of the empty spaces below. Your paddle can hold up to five tiles at once so you are able to choose which colour of tile you drop down.

If you manage to align three or more tiles of the same colour in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line then the tiles involved are removed and you are awarded points according to the size and orientation of them - this is called a Klax. Vertical lines are the lowest scoring, then horizontal, then diagonal. When tiles disappear, any placed above them are removed and a chain reaction may result if a new alignment of three or more tiles of the same colour is created. Bonus points are awarded for chain reactions or if more than one Klax is completed at a time.

In order to complete a wave and advance to the next level, you must obtain the appropriate requirements stated at the beginning of the level. This may require you for example to get three vertical Klaxes, Five diagonal Klaxes, survive forty tiles or score 10,000 points. When you have achived the objective set before you, the screen is cleared, bonus points are awarded for empty spaces below your paddle and any tiles remaining on the conveyor belt, and you advance to the next level.

Since the coloured tiles are progressively moving towards you, they must be caught on the paddle to be deposited below. You have three chances available per screen playing at the lowest level; drop more than three tiles and your game is over. If you select the middle or hard stages you get 4 or 5 chances. Also, your game will end if all 25 spaces are filled before the level requirements are achieved.

After each 5 stages are completed, you get the chance to continue or jump 5 or 10 stages. The harder stages award more chances, so you need to weigh up the options when deciding which route to take.

You can also throw tiles back up on to the conveyor from your paddle, in order to get the tiles you want in the correct order, or to temporarily discard an unwanted tile.

The tiles fall faster on each level and the level requirements get progressively more difficult.

3 Vertical Klax: 50 points.
4 Vertical Klax: 10,000 points.
5 Vertical Klax: 15,000 points.
3 Horizontal Klax: 1,000 points.
4 Horizontal Klax: 5,000 points.
5 Horizontal Klax: 10,000 points.
3 Diagonal Klax: 5,000 points.
4 Diagonal Klax: 10,000 points.
5 Diagonal Klax: 20,000 points.
Large 'X' Klax: 80,000 points.
Big Sandwich: 100,000 - 440,000 points.

Playing hints/tips:

o You can aim to score up to 440,000 points on the first screen with a "big sandwich" (shown in the 3rd screenshot on the left). You can be looking at 1,000,000+ points by the end of wave 3. My 1.7 million point game only lasted about 7 levels.

o It seems that if you repeatedly tap the fire button while the end of level bonus is being calculated, you are awarded more points.

o Five horizontal tiles are also worth a more than reasonable score as are four vertical - the latter requires a tile to be removed by a Klax and can only result from a chain reaction, or by dropping tiles when a score is being calculated.

o Make strategic use of the paddle, remembering it can hold 5 tiles at once. Watch the track above to check the colours of forthcoming tiles, so you know which to keep on the paddle and which to drop.

o The "big sandwich" scores a lot more than the big X. Expert players aim for this rather than the big X in early stages (or any stage for a big score). The numbers below denote different colours - strategy by numbers if you will :) The 'x' shows an empty space.

2 3 x 4 5
2 3 x 4 5
1 1 1 1 1
2 3 1 4 5
2 3 1 4 5

o If you do score with a big sandwich remember the requirements to clear the screen. Since you can be waiting a long time for the tile(s) you need, it will often be a lot more difficult to complete the stage if it requires diagonals or surviving 40 tiles for example, since by the time to score your klaxes, the tiles will be moving a lot faster.

o Take too long on a level and the next screen starts with faster tiles.

o Another good points award in the game is for a large diagonal 'X' from corner to corner. The centre tile must be the last to be dropped. You can aim for this formation on the first few levels if possible, but remember 9 tiles of the same colour are required. You should also be careful to fill in the other spaces with tiles which will not get you any Klaxes as this will cause your setup for the large 'X' to be messed up.

o Make use of the pause when a Klax score is being awarded, as you can still move your paddle and drop tiles. Set up chain reactions or create 4 or 5 high vertical Klaxes during the pause.