02
Dec
20

Neut Tower for DOS

Today’s game was made by SpindleyQ starting in 2018 releasing a shareware episode in early 2020. It is an EGA puzzle game that would have fit right into the shareware gaming scene in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The author took on an unique challenge, doing all the development on a 286 machine without using any tools created after 1992.

They used Borldand Turbo C which was a very popular language at the time, and used that to make almost all the tools they used for producing the game. In a way this makes it feel much more like a game from the era, everything you see could have been genuinely made at the time.

The graphics are in EGA, and uses the Borland Graphical Interface (BGI) as an engine for drawing to the screen. Whilst not super fast, the BGI is good enough to make this game run smoothly and animate well. The graphics style is well put together, colourful and animated smoothly.

There is some basic sound support for the Adlib card and the PC speaker, I used the Adlib support and I thought the sound is perfectly reasonable. There isn’t any music and there are some simple sound effects for most events in the game.

The controls are fairly simple, basic movement controls, a key to activate switches, a key to activate your companion, and a key to switch which character you are controlling.

The games starts with Jaye sitting at her desk when an earthquake hits. The building becomes quite damaged and she gets trapped in her office. She then activates Neut, an AI program that she has been working on. Jaye is able to move through the real world and interact with switches and turn on terminals whilst Neut can only travel through the network cabling in the walls and use powered on terminals as teleporters to access and hack security devices. Your goal is simply to escape the damaged building.

Along the way there are snippets of story mixed in with the puzzles, and both are generally done exceptionally well. There are companions to find and help, and terminals to interact. Although there is some mild coarse language, it’s not over the top, and isn’t really all that bad. Keep an eye out for clues, one puzzle I did had clues in the boss screen, not somewhere you’d usually look!

Neut Tower is a compelling and interesting puzzle game. The available shareware episode is a bit short at only 6 levels, but they are very well designed and fun to play. On the authors website it says this is still in development, so there may be more content yet to come and the possibility of some registered episodes. You can download it and support the author on their website.


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