Monday, September 17, 2007

Tile World

Title: Tile World
Author: Brian Raiter
License: GNU Public License

Some games hold up well with time. I recently replayed most of the Lemmings series and was amazed how well it stood the test of time. I plan on having a few more entries on the series as time permits. With a similar mindset, I decided to replay Chip's Challenge, one of the classics in PC puzzle gaming, this week. Actually, I played the free Chip's Challenge emulator Tile World.

Chip's Challenge is one of the best known puzzle games in the PC world due to its inclusion in its inclusion in the Microsoft Entertainment Pack way back when. I think I first played it on a Windows 3.1 computer and have fond memories from playing it. So, my hopes/expectations were high when I starting playing Tile World. I know this might bring some nasty email, but it just did not hold up with time.

Before going into what I did not like about Chip's Challenge/Tile World, let me say that Tile World is an impressive emulation of the original. I am really glad Brian Raiter wrote the program and for all of the fans who developed levels for it. It is just that the underlying rule set from Chip's Challenge does so many things wrong.

Here is Chip's Challenge in a few sentences. You control Chip or Chippie or whatever his name is. The goal is to collect all of the computer chips and make your way to the exit within the allotted time. Standing in Chip's way are doors, walls, ice, bombs, traps, conveyor belts, teleporters, and more. You know, the usual puzzle game items. There are switches to toggle doors, ice skates to pass over ice, and blocks to fill in holes. Then there are baddies to avoid: fireballs, bugs, blogs. The items in Chip's Challenge was clearly an inspiration for many other games.

Now the bad: time limits, levels must be played sequentially, and passwords to remember. Some levels require careful timing. Only the small area around Chip is visible. There are hidden items such as invisible walls, and if move the wrong block to reveal fire, you die. Many levels cannot be solved with thought alone. You spend a lot of time wandering about learning the level. The level design is uninspired.

For legal reasons, the Tile World distribution does not contain the original Chip's Challenge levels. But with the data file CHIPS.DAT from the original copied to the proper subdirectoy, you can play these levels within Tile World. It does come with its own set of levels in CCLP2.DAT generated by fans. These levels provide more than enough of a challenge.

Chip's Challenge/Tile World has an amazing following. Here is a small selection of the fan sites I found.
This sort of support for a puzzle game is impressive.

I feel bad giving Chip's Challenge/Tile World a bad review. I had such fond memories of playing it ten plus years ago. Some games just do not age well. Still, anyone who has not played either, should give Tile World a quick play if for historical reasons only.


At 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I see your blog post is not really up-to-date anymore, but I'm looking for a possible solution you may have. The same thing happened to me about finding Tile World in an effort to bring back to live my memories of happy Chip's Challenge playing. BUT I'm STUCK! I just can't win level 28! I get all tiles, I solve my way through to the teleport, but it never brings me to the winning door! Any ideas??

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need help with level 28 as well....

At 2:49 PM, Blogger taylorjean0830 said...

I'm stuck at level 28 as well and I can't find help anywhere!

At 4:04 AM, Blogger greenhushpuppies said...

I found this online to help everyone with level 28

"What the red buttons did was hold down brown buttons with cloned blocks that allow these four blocks to be moved. With all the chips, bust through the chip sockets and use the two western blocks to blow up the bombs. Move the lower block UR, while you push the final block upwards and through the teleport, which causes a partial post and allows Chip to simply slide over the teleport to exit the level. Madness!"

Hope this helps!

At 2:04 AM, Blogger Hill said...

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