Lexi-Cross. (computer game) (evaluation)
by Alfred Giovetti
Get up off that couch, you couch potato! Throw away your remote control, and meet the interactive game show of the future.
In the twenty-first century Lexi-Cross has been the hot-test holovision game show for years, loved by humans, aliens, and cyborgs alike. Lexi-Cross is a cross between Scrabble and the hit television game show "Wheel of Fortune" that replaces Vanna with Robanna the Robot and Pat Sajak with Cyborg Chip Ramsey.
At the start of the game, a beautiful cyborg backstage assistant named Pristine Mint helps you assemble your television persona, allowing you to choose from eight sets of heads, torsos, and arms. When you're ready to go, Lexi-Cross can be played "on the air" or in practice mode in various combinations of robot, human, and modem play. The game itself consists of four rounds in which the points double, triple, and eventually multiply by 10,000 as the rounds increase.
You can select to reveal tiles from each player's 150-tile board, spin the wheel for a letter, choose a vowel (if you have a vowel token), or solve the puzzle. Robanna turns tiles for you to reveal blank-letter, vowel, point, safety, lose-turn, lose-safety, and peek-and-poke tokens. When the wheel spins, you win (or lose) points by picking a letter for the blank-letter tokens, lose a turn, end your turn, reveal a column or a row, or go bankrupt.
As in "Wheel of Fortune," you solve the literal, common theme, and other puzzles from the scrambled or unscrambled words and partial phrases revealed on the board. There are only 600 puzzles in the current game, and you'll run through these quickly if you get hooked on Lexi-Cross--and you most likely will. Luckily, Interplay plans to release specialty trivia upgrade disks in the areas of sports, cinema, music, literature, and history.
Robot opponents can be set at five levels of difficulty, though I found robot intelligence a bit of a misnomer; cheating seems more appropriate than intelligence. On the highest mode, the robots know too much about the game. Your best bet is to find a human opponent.
Both 3 1/2- and 5 1/4-inch disks were enclosed in the box with a humorous manual that was nevertheless hard to decipher. A quick reference card to clarify the instructions would've been useful, but the 20,000-word Webster's Pocket Dictionary does assist players of lexi-Cross to some extent. Besides, play a few rounds, and you'll find the function keys won't be a problem. Worry more about beating your computerized game show nemeses.
Quite addictive, Lexi-Cross delivers many hours of play. The colors and graphics are dazzling for a word-oriented game, and the sounds never become tiresome. The well-thought-out puzzles, though, soon become stale because of their limited number. Average players memorize the puzzles quickly, so the proposed puzzle disks are a must.