Gomoku Narabe - 8/27/83
Gomoku Narabe is a competent low-frills version of the board game. The object is to try and get 5 of your pieces in a row either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. There are 4 variations on the theme available from the main menu. The first option is a sort of training game. Here, any time the computer is one move away from winning, the group of pieces will flash to draw the players attention to them. The second option is the basic game with nothing fancy. The third option is the same as the second, but there is a 90 second timer added in. The game gives you only 90 seconds to complete all of your moves in the whole game. I'm sure that a more skilled player would make enough moves in a game to make the time pressure actually matter, but I generally lost before the time became a factor. The last option is the obligatory 2 player mode. The sound effects are quite sparse, which is fortunate, because the few that exist get old rather quickly. One nice touch is the ability of the game to determine a hopeless situation, and not force the game to be played out to its obvious conclusion. For example, a row of four pieces which is open on both ends cannot be defeated. The game recognizes this, and moves on to the next game. I'm not sure if this was an attempt to try and capture the market for adult gamers or an attempt to just get more software out for the new Famicom, but this is probably about as good as a game of this type could be.