Today’s game is another one made by Everett Kaser, a shareware author who happens to still be making new games. I wrote about another of his games a short while ago, Hero’s heart. This one named Snarf was made in 1988 originally, released in 1990 and with updated versions of the game coming out up until 1993. It’s an arcade style game in which you need to collect treasure and keys, and avoid enemies known as snarfs.
Like Hero’s Heart, this has high resolution EGA graphics (640x350x16) that allows for larger levels without having to implement scrolling, which wasn’t easy on old PC hardware. The sprites are drawn nicely although there isn’t really much in the way of animation, but what’s there works. The sound is again from the PC speaker and consists of a few bleeps and bloops, it’s ok and you can turn it off if you don’t like the audio.
Game-play wise it’s very much a score attack arcade style game. The main way you get points is of course collecting treasure, which is multiplied by the numbers of ‘tags’ you have left at the end of a level. The main hazard is of course the snarfs who spawn from nests located around the map. if you happen to run into the snarfs they take your tags which is essentially your health. There are usually a fair few running around, and they spawn endlessly so it’s best to avoid them if you can.
The controls seem to be inspired by games like Robotron which allow you to fire your weapon in a different direction to that you are moving. This proves to be a very handy feature, although I’m yet to get good at it. You can only have one or two shots in the air depending on what you set, so it’s best to only fire when you know the shot will hit something in a short time. Otherwise you could be waiting before you can shoot again. Again it is generally better to avoid the snarfs rather than shoot them if you can.
The snarfs themselves seem to be reasonably intelligent, being able to avoid shots, find a path to you and generally trap you. I’ve found myself getting trapped by the blighters and having to try and shoot as many as I can, or simply try to out smart them.
I found Snarf to be quite fun, but didn’t get too far into the levels because I didn’t have enough time to really practice and work at being better. It is mostly the controls that I need to work on learning as I hadn’t played a game with a scheme like that before. There are 50 levels and a level editor included, so there is no shortage of content level wise. There are some downsides, such as not getting any more than a single life, but you can select the level you start on, so you don’t have to play the same ones repeatedly.