MUX
(Pieslice Productions)

Screenshot

As you are the only one who survived Garben's onslaught,
we have a very special task for you.

Screenshot

Story:

You are the only survivor of an onslaught, commited by Dr. Garben, the leader of a highly classified military project: "Lebensraum". This person is about to seize the world under his control using the secret high-tech weapons, developed under his supervision. Within eight hours you have to kill Garben and his cyborg army, and report your success. Else his base will be bombed out, killing millions of people.

Context:

The original concept was to create a fine raycasting engine, but it grow to a full game. It was the end of 2002 when all of a sudden Pieslice Productions appeared with this first person-shooter MUX. Instantly, it became a big "success" (in terms of qb). Mux is recipient of the VPlanet Silver Star Award for Graphics.
MUX is a perfect blend of QuickBasic, C and ASM. However, because of the performances of the engine the question arose what he role of qb actually is in MUX. An interview, published on VPlanet made something more clear.
Click here to read this interview.

About the author:

Pieslice Production stands for Pauli Merilainen. Since MUX, this Finnish developer released TerraScape: Breakdown Velocity.

Screenshot

As you pick up your automax pistol and load it, you hear unintelligent screams closing by...


REVIEW

GRAPHICS:
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MUX looks great!
But let's nuance a bit. MUX is based on a raycasting engine. This engine supports wall-, floor and ceiling-texturing. The textures were original in 64x64 and are later resampled to 128x128. This gives the textures that smoothness, and makes the environment less blocky. A disadvantage is that the environment, and especially texts on walltextures aren't sharp.
The raycasting engine was originally written in screen mode 13, 320x200x8 (256 colours). But later, thanks to the MxLib by Danny Gump, the engine was ported to mode X, 320x400x8 (256 colours). The question that holds me is why the raycasting engine displays just in the middle on the screen, leaving two over-sized bars on the screen. In my opinion a 320x200 resolution is better than this small dipsplay size.
MUX uses a 256 colour-mode, and a very nice "realistic tinted" palette. The textures look great and varied. The whole environment looks decrepit and the dark sphere creates a thrilling spectacle. The enemy's look fine, some of them really stimulate the imagination, and they are well animated. Also the weapons, ammo, and everything I forgot are very well-done.

One of the best points of the MUX raycasting engine is the lighting part, based on alphablending. It results in some kind of "dynamic lighting". When you shoot at a light, the environment gets darker etc. I have NEVER seen such lighting effects in a quickbasic shooter.

SOUNDS & MUSIC:
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The soundeffects in MUX are of medium quality, but they are very well synchronized (except the death-cries, that sounds far after an enemy is killed). While playing a level, you hear enemy's making creepy sounds. I also like the steps-sound when you walk.
The music is in midi-format. The tunes fit in the games context, and reinforce the game's atmosphere. Pauli even serves up an original introtune for the game.

GAMEPLAY:
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A shooter starts beeing interesting when it rises above the common shooting, running, finding keys and opening doors. Unfortunally MUX doesn't quiet beat this point.
MUX exists of 20 levels and in every level the goal is to find the exit. Though, there are some things that make the whole thing more interesting. For example, some levels have buttons in them. There are buttons that opens secret rooms etc. There are also levels containing elevators, that bring you to another deck.
The artificial intelligence in MUX isn't thrilling. The enemy's are actually very stupid and slow. When they notice you, they start to shoot or walk into your direction. In my opinion the stupidness of the enemy's don't quietly fit in the creepy sphere of the game.
I want to mention the barrels, located in some levels. When you shoot at a barrel it explodes, killing everyone close by it. Also there is projectile firing in MUX, making the shoot-outs look great.
In MUX you are armed with up to 5 different weapons. I really like the Chaingun, which starts to 'turn' before it is able to fire. While making progress in this game, new weapons and enemy's are introduced, which keeps the tension constant.

PLAY-ABILITY:
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MUX uses very standard controls. The arrow-cursors move the player, space is open, control is shoot etc. Very well done is volteface by pressing backspace. In fact MUX supports mouse-control, but this only exists of buttons-handling.
The power of MUX is the combination of excellent graphics and a fluent gamespeed. The gamespeed really boosts the game's play-ability.

STORY:
"Why we fight..."
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Absolutely the weak point of MUX. The only story-things are some screens filled with a difficult readable text. However, if you take the trouble to read this text, you notice that the story is quiet interesting.
Though, after 20 levels of just shooting the story is forgotten.

MISCELANIOUS:
(readme, console, saving)
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There is an exclusive readme included. This readme contents information about weapons and enemy's just like the development history.
The base of MUX is MuxOS (MUX Operating System). MuxOS includes a console, that can be activated during the game by pressing F1. This console allows the player to interfere in the game MUX, for example switching the floor- and ceiling-texturing on/off. MuxOS is also responsible for the information messages shown on the screen when you, for example, pick up a new weapon.
There are 5 slots for savegame. When you load a game, you start from the begin of the level concerning. There is no possibility to start from the saved position in a level.


CONCLUSION

MUX is one of the best first person-shooters in QB. In fact the gameplay can't equal the brilliant graphics, but however: MUX offers you several hours of shoot-em-up fun!

The Highs:
  • Graphics
  • Projectile firing
  • Lighting effects
  • Performance
  • Chaingun!
  • MuxOS
The Lows:
  • Small display-size
  • Story

Score:

2 (Graphics) + (Sound) + (Gameplay) + (Play-ability) + (Story) + (Miscelanious) =

25 (out of 35)

URL:

Download: MUX (2.0Mb)

MUX has also been reviewed on:
VPlanet QBXL QB Colony

MUX reviewed by Roel Tempelaar at 25th April, 2004


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