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Alpha Waves (awaves_man.txt)

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Alpha Waves
Infogrames, 1991

System and control issues:
The game supports CGA, EGA, Tandy, Hercules and VGA graphics. It doesn‘t have
any weird memory requirements, as I recall playing it happily on my 512K 8088
machine, of course YMMV. The internal speaker sound is decent, too (if somewhat
annoying after a while). There is a good demo that shows how to control the ship
- you use the arrows for direction and camera positioning, and space for thrust.

Description and instructions:
Alpha Waves is an action/puzzle 3D game, with vector graphics which remind me of
Elite. You control what the French designers call a „mobile“, which bounces
around on tiles which are scattered in huge cubic rooms. Your short-term
objective is generally to reach the exit of the room, but read below for more. 

There are six different mobiles to choose from, with each one having a uinque
appearance, but (correct me on that if I‘m wrong) not affecting gameplay as far
as I have noticed. You pick one based on aesthetic preferences - my favourite is
no. 5, for all it‘s worth.

There are lots of different tiles that have different properties - one may make
your mobile jump ever higher (usually placed on floors), others may move around,
yet others might be slanted and send you flying off
sideways. 

In a few levels, there are wandering creatures / robots / whatever. They
generally aren‘t very aggressive, but contact with some of them will destroy
your mobile, while others will bounce you around. Rooms
with such critters are quite hard, generally. Certain exits have a blue spinning
cube superimposed - this means you
can‘t use the exit yet, and the cube will bounce you a long way up and sideways
- this might come in handy in some levels. The exits are opened when you find
such a cube (by itself) in a room and touch it. I am
unsure of this, but touching crystals (see below) might open up exits as well.

The game has two modes, with different objectives for each mode: In „Action“
mode, your objective is to find all 10 (one for each area)  of the crystals
scattered throughout the game map, and touch them with your mobile - they will
shatter, and once you‘ve found them all, you‘ll presumably  win the game. The
catch is that you have limited time, but
you gain time by entering unexplored rooms and (if I remember correctly), by
shattering crystals. You always begin in the center of the map in this mode. In
„Emotion“ mode, you choose an area of the game map which represents
the state of mind you wish to reach, and the game starts from the starting room
in that particular area.  The colors, music and nature of the rooms of each area
are supposed to help you reach that state of mind, by playing on your brain‘s
frequencies. (Alpha, gamma(?) and theta waves, if I remember the manual
correctly. Hence the game‘s name.) 
You just keep playing, with no scores or time limit. This is the easier of the
two modes, and lets you explore areas you might not reach  easily in the action
game. This is the mode to start learning the game in.

NOTE: I am personally sceptical about the brain-wave thing, still, it might work
for you. The game does have a hypnotic or trance-inducing effect for me, but not
more than other games ;) Anyone with a spare EEG (electroencephalogram) machine
could probably verify the designers‘ claims, so let me know when you do. :)
I like this game a lot, even after all these years. The brain-affecting concept
is innovative to say the least, and the
implementation is excellent for its level of technology. Even if you disregard
this, the game is definitely one-of-a-kind in its game design concepts, and the
pretty colors are nice, too. :)
There are some points that might turn you off the game. These are:
The game is somewhat hard, especially in action mode. The time limit is rather
restrictive, and won‘t forgive many mistakes.
Even worse, in some rooms, if you fall off the midair tiles, there is no way to
climb back up again. Even with the quick save/load feature, this is very
frustrating.
The game seems to run way too fast (approx. twice the speed) on my PPro-200 NT
machine at work. I haven‘t tried it at my home machine yet, as this is being
written on a hurry. You might need a slowing-down utility to play this as it was
meant to.

Disclaimer:
Alpha Waves is copyright Infogrames(1990). You probably should own this game
before playing it. Don‘t hurt your PC while running this game, and if you do,
please don‘t blame me. 
For notes, comments, corrections on this document contact:
Vangelis Haniotakis
haniotak@ucnet.uoc.gr


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