Home Reviews Software Shareware Report July 2002
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Shareware Report July 2002 Print
Mummies and Dummies

All summer long, while we're getting sand kicked into our faces, we're imagining ourselves as courageous tomb-raiders exploring the pyramids of Egypt.

While searching for the mummified remains of Tutankhamen and all his treasure, we encounter myriad mummies, scores of scorpions, and a shoal of skulls, all bent on keeping us from getting to Tut's tomb. Deluxe Mummy Maze from Zone.com lets us chase our dreams of tomb-raiding in a more sophisticated fashion than merely outrunning ghouls.

In this game, you have to use your head or lose it. Think of each pyramid room as a maze set upon a chessboard. Your tomb-raider is allowed one space at a time, while your enemies in any particular room make various counter moves. Here's where the strategy of right moves matters.

The mummy, for example, moves vertically then horizontally, attempting to keep pace with you. His L-shaped moves are not unlike a knight on the chessboard. If you make a wrong move as you try to get out of the room, the mummy closes in and pummels you to dust.

You can play in classic or adventure mode, which enables you to complete one pyramid at a time as you work toward ransacking Tut's tomb. Next time you're at the beach, look for a couple of geeks with towels wrapped 'round their heads and camels rolled up in their sleeves, having a rootin'-tootin' tomb-raidin' time with Deluxe Mummy Maze on their laptops.

Where to get it: http://zone.msn.com/mummymaze/
Price: $19.99 registered for unlimited play and additional adventure levels
System Requirements: Windows 95/Me/XP/NT4 SP3 or higher/2000, Pentium 75 MHz or higher, 8 MB RAM

Summer Games Series:

Golf with your Friends

Summertime for us means staying inside, testing shareware, writing columns, and taking that occasional break to do what most red-blooded males enjoy. And we even find time for a few rounds of golf--not outdoors, mind you, but on our computers with Anti-ware's Miniature Golf Mayhem 2002.

A birdie told us about this one, so we had to check it out. MGM 2002 is a small game packed with a myriad of obstacles unlike any mini- golf course we've frequented. The only windmills you may see here will be in your mind. MGM 2002 has infestations of ground hogs, pinball bumpers, deadly water drops, and muddy tracks.

The shareware version gives you about a third of the number of holes you'll get once you register the game. Registered users, or golfers, as it were, will be able to play 18 holes with as much fun on the last holes as found on the back nine. You'll putter around two courses, take part in a hidden scavenger hunt, and play four additional mini games once you've come up to par with all the rest.

The putting takes some getting used to, because you have to time the continually sliding stroke meter with the direction in which you want the ball to go. But, since the entire game is mouse-driven, it makes play a bit more comfortable. Be sure to read the instructions before heading out to the first hole.

We're getting so much into the swing of the game that we now refer to ourselves as Arnold Palmheld and Scuzzi Zoeller.

Where to get it: http://www.anti-ware.net/
Price: $8.95 (registered)
System Requirements: Win 3.1x,Win95,Win98,WinME,WinNT, XP. The minimum hardware for good game play should be at least a 486 with 16 MB RAM.

Mauled Tycoons

This summer, we've beaten the heat by staying indoors and building our own mall with Take 2 Interactive'd Mall Tycoon. Don't pack the kids into the car and head down to Scryber Labs. Mall Tycoon is a sim game. Our mall exists only on our computer. Where else would a couple of geeks build a mall?

Aptly called the "Scryber Labs Interactive Mall Experiment" (SLIME), we became corporate-crazed capitalists. We designed, built, and managed the mall, opening men's and women's clothing stores, department and furniture stores, speciality shops, and restaurants. Success is the in mix.

On opening day, we sat back and watched the many customers pour in: shuffling old men, tiny tots bouncing on the furniture store sofas, mall punks, and the occasional supernatural being. We wanted more.

Mall Tycoon let us run marketing campaigns, add attractions, and organize fashion shows to attract even more customers. Captains of industry that we are, we conducted marketing research with portable MBA acumen.

Naturally, all of this took money, so we watched our expenses like hacks. We invested in seasonal events like a haunted house, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny for our customers. We hired more janitors to keep the SLIME attractive. Finally, overcome with greed, we added a second floor. It bankrupted us and the game was over.

Mall Tycoon is a fun and informative sim game that focuses on how to be successful in business. Even after several games, however, we're still window shoppers.

Where to get it: http://www.malltycoon.com/main.html
Price: $19.99 (demo is free)
System Requirements: Windows 95/98/Me/2000, Pentium II 300 MHz processor or higher, 64 MB RAM, 16 MB Direct 3D video card with DirectX support

Twistin' the Summer Away

We've getting twisted this summer. Okay, you're probably saying, "Getting? You guys are already twisted!" Okay, allow us to explain: we've found a new twist on text, with Zone.com's TextTwist.

TextTwist reminds us of that great daily newspaper puzzle, Jumbles, in which you try to unscramble mixed-up letters to form words. In TextTwist, you're given six jumbled letters to create as many words as you can before time runs out. Each puzzle gives you the number of words that you're supposed to make. When the time runs out, if you haven't discovered them all, the words you missed are revealed along with those you found. You're given a score, which can be recorded in Zone's high scores if you register as a Zone member.

Unlike many of the Zone.com games that can be played online or off, you must be online and connected to the Zone.com site in order to play this game.

As the summer winds on, we'll be twisting the dgoyda _ _ _ _ _ _ away. If you know how to unleash that word, let us know. Don't leave us twisting in the summer wind.

Where to get it: http://zone.msn.com/texttwist/
Price: FREE
System Requirements: Browser, online connection, Windows 95/Me/XP/NT V4 SP3 or higher/2000, Pentium 75 MHz or higher, 8 MB RAM

Jivin' with Java

Are you a Java junkie? No, we don't mean jonesing for a steamin' cuppa joe, but the Java programming language, developed by Sun Microsystems. If you've heard of Java and want to incorporate its applets into your web pages, you'll appreciate Fabio Ciucci's Anfy, a small program that allows you to add myriad, customizable applets to your site or desktop.

Anfy is a great way to become familiar with Java and its underpinnings. The applets include banner/slideshow, image effects, 3D applets, and navigation menus, all with submenus to help you tailor your applet with specific text, colors, or animation speed. An especially useful applet for us was the AnfyCam, which, when pointed to a URL that has a webcam, updates the image at intervals you specify.

To include an applet on your web site, you simply copy the code Anfy has generated, then paste it into your HTML code. You should be familiar enough with your code to paste the Java commands into your page.

Anfy also lets you set an applet as an active item on your desktop. Be careful with this option, though, because you should know how to disable the active desktop on your version of Windows. (The documentation is a bit spotty on this.)

Once you've completed your page, sit back with your favorite coffee blend, enjoy your caffeinated web page, then pour yourself a second cup, compliments of Anfy.

Where to get it: http://www.anfyteam.com/
Price: Free limited version
Requirements: PC running Windows, Macintosh, Linux

2002 © Bill Dubie and Dave Sciuto

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