09
Jun
14

Heart Light for DOS

Anti-aliasing?

Anti-aliasing?

Heart Light is a simple Boulder Dash like game that was released back in 1994 by Epic Megagames and developed by xland. You play as a dwarf who has to collect all the hearts in a level and then get to the exit. The game is similar to Boulder Dash in the sense that it has boulders that are affected by gravity, but different in that there are other elements like bombs, balloons and one way blocks that make new puzzle elements. I’ve seen other games like Blots and Supaplex that have similar elements.

Level 1

Level 1

Heart Light has some pretty nice VGA graphics, the sprites and level elements are all easily recognisable and give you an idea how they might behave before you interact with them. Animation is reasonably smooth although objects and the dwarf only move whole tiles at a time. This means you don’t get as much time or indication than an object is going to move, and hence less time to dodge it. Interestingly the game supports monochrome VGA for some reason.

Level 2

Level 2

The sound system supports Sound Blaster, Adlib and something it says is speaker sound that sounds nothing like the PC speaker! There is some music that loops in the background which doesn’t sound too bad, but might be tiresome if you play for a long time. Sound effects are digitised and sound best using the Sound Blaster support. If you find either annoying you can turn them off any time in game.

Level 4

Level 4

The gameplay as you’d expect is much like the other Boulder Dash like games. There are a few minor differences, such as having infinite lives, no scoring system and being able to select any level to play. The levels themselves do a good job of being challenging without being frustratingly difficult. Earlier levels introduce new elements such as bombs and balloons in a way that explains how they work without actually explaining it in words. With a short play session I was able to learn the mechanics of the game and play through a significant number of levels.

Level 5

Level 5

There are 70 levels in the game so it has enough to keep you busy solving the harder ones for quite a while. Interestingly the level data is stored in an ASCII format that you can modify in a text editor like notepad, so it is possible to create your own levels. I enjoyed playing it, it is simple and challenging without spoiling the fun. It was released in 2006 under the creative commons license, so there is little reason to not try it.

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