Friday, October 21, 2005

Star Wars: Pit Droids

Title: Pit Droids
Author: Lucas Arts
License: Commercial

I recently played through Rocknor's Donut Factory. After starting RDF, I thought to myself, "Hey this is just like Pit Droids." Once I finished RDF, which is a fine game, I went digging through my closet and found Pit Droids. I reinstalled it and gave it a another whirl. It is a great game, and better than Rocknor's Donut Factory.

Pit Droids was released about six years ago. It was not a commercial success, due largely to the fact that it was marketed towards kids. I purchased my copy at a Zany-Brainy, a now defunct children's toy store. It should have been marketed at adults. It is a good tough puzzler which you can still get on-line.

The goal of each level is to route 48 pit droids to one of the exits. Each level comes with various routing tiles. The simplest tile, the arrow, causes every pit droid which passes over it to change direction. There are tiles which cause the first so many droids to change direction and rest continue straight on. Another causes every other droid to change direction. You have to figure out where to place these tiles so that all of the droids make it to an exit.

Each pit droid has three properties: body color, helmet color, and tool carried. There are tiles which only cause blue bodied droids to change direction, tiles which only cause green helmeted droids to change direction, and tiles which only cause droids carrying ladders to change direction. There are also barriers which only allow certain types of droids through, and exits which only allow certain types of droids to exit. Often some interesting Boolean logic is needed to make sure that every type of pit droid can make it some exit.

One of the fun aspects of the game is timing. There are often multiple launchers of pit droids resulting in different streams with one space between each droid. If you need to have two streams cross, you have to time it right so that they do not collide. Imagine a (American) football marching band doing their half-time show.

Pit Droids comes with a nice tutorial. Once you the mechanics down, you can play through the "game" or select any level to tackle. In the game mode, there are eight locations from which you have to advance at least 144 pit droids. You advance upto 48 droids from one location to another by getting them to the exits in randomly selected levels. I would suggest you play through the game in "Easy" mode to further understand the rules and various tiles, and to watch all the cut scenes. Then goto the "Choose Puzzle" section and play the levels on their own. It is a bit of pain to keep track of which ones you have completed, but you will get many repeats in the game mode.

The game comes with a level editor, but I was not able to find many levels out there. The manual is quite good. My only complaint with the game is that there is a bit trial and error necessary where you have to learn what type of pit droids each of the launchers produces. I wish you could double-click on a launcher and have it tell you what type of droids it produces.

Getting Pit Droids to work on a Windows XP machine takes a little work. I had to run in the compatibility mode for Window 98/Windows Me. Also, in the options within the game, I would suggest turning automatic scrolling off. And when playing a level, I would suggest turning off the scenery and turning on the grid markers.


At 10:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pit Droids is a master/classic puzzle game from LucasArts!

Does anyone know where I can download more user-made puzzles files?

The Puzzle Exchange at LucasLearning website was shutdown some time ago.

f r a n k i e @ s t a m f o r d . e d u . m y

At 6:16 AM, Anonymous kamagra said...

Cool stuff you got!!!! it is one of the video games that I love, so I was in the high school and one friend gave me a CD with this game, I was playing it during one year, I was 14 years old!!!22dd


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