Strategy Guide Game Boy

Klax strategy

Strategy Guide:

  In order to excel at KLAX, in addition to improving your reflexes and
anticipation, you need to understand the scoring rules. It is possible to
get more than 2,000,000 if you know the tricks ;-) !

  There are three basic areas of scoring to be considered:

     1.  Basic scores for KLAXs
     2.  The score multiplier
     3.  End-of-level and warp bonuses

I will deal primarily with the first two, since there is relatively little
the player can do about the last.  The basic KLAX scoring matrix is shown
below:

                   vertical        horizontal      diagonal

   3-KLAX               50            1,000          5,000
   4-KLAX           10,000            5,000         10,000
   5-KLAX           15,000           10,000         20,000

Why?  I don't know.  I didn't design it.  I'm just reporting the facts,
ma'am.  Anyway, note that a vertical 3-KLAX is worthless, but a vertical
4-KLAX is quite valuable!  The message is that when you are going for
points, go for diagonal KLAXs or vertical 4-KLAXs.

  So how do you get a vertical 4-KLAX?  Doesn't it go away when you put the
3rd tile on top? Well, the answer is no, not always. There are two basic ways
to get a vertical 4-KLAX.  The easiest is to use the scoring delay.  If
you have the following setup:

           [b]                What you want to do is drop the [b] tile
           [a]                on the center column in the bin, and while
           [a]                it is scoring, move over and drop both [a]
           ===                tiles on top of the [a] column.  The two
                              [a] tiles will just sit there until the
    |               |         [b] column finishes scoring, then all of
    |               |         the [a]'s will score as a vertical 4-KLAX.
    |               |
    |      [b][a]   |         Simple !
    |      [b][a]   |
    +---------------+


  The second way to get a vertical 4-KLAX is to set up chain-reaction
techniqes:

        [b]                   When you drop the [b] down, it will score
        ===                   a diagonal 3-KLAX.  When the [b]'s all
                              disappear, voil`a, a vertical 4-KLAX
    |         [a]   |         of [a]'s!
    |         [a]   |
    |         [b]   |
    |      [b][a]   |
    |      [x][a]   |
    +---------------+

  These examples also introduce the score multiplier effect.  Whenever
you score, the score mutliplier is the number of KLAXs scored.  This
multiplier doesn't reset but keeps increasing until there's nothing left
to score and play has resumed.  So in the above examples, the [b] KLAXs
had a multipler of 1, but the [a] KLAXs had a multipler of 2 and were
worth 20,000 points!

  For a more complex example (capital letters indicate scoring KLAXs):

           [b]
           [a]
           ===

    |   [a]   [a]   |       |   [a]   [a]   |       |               |
    |   [a]   [a]   |       |   [a][a][a]   |       |   [A]   [A]   |
    |   [b]   [b]   |  -->  |   [B][B][B]   |  -->  |   [A][A][A]   |
    |   [a][x][a]   |       |   [a][x][a]   |       |   [A][x][A]   |
    |   [a][x][a]   |       |   [a][x][a]   |       |   [A][x][A]   |
    +---------------+       +---------------+       +---------------+

The [b]'s score as a horizontal 3-KLAX with mutiplier of 1, but the
[a]'s will score as 2 vertical 4-KLAXs, 2 diagonal 3-KLAXs, and a
horizontal 3-KLAX with a total multiplier of 6 (1 for the [b]'s and
5 for the [a]'s) !!!  So the total score for this would be:

   (mult  *  hor [b]) + (mult * (hor [a] + (2 * diag [a]) + (2 * vert [a])))
 = ( 1    *  1000 )   + ( 6   * ( 1,000  + (2 *  5,000)   + (2 * 10,000)))
 =      1000          + ( 6   * ( 31,000 ))
 =      187,000 points !!!!


  As you can see, the multiplier can have a dramatic effect on your score.
The maximum multiplier is 9 (athough it's quite difficult to get that high).

  As a final topic in this lesson, I want to cover a couple of advanced
techniques.

  You may have noticed during play that if you push forward on the joystick,
the top tile on your paddle will be thrown half way back up the ramp. You
can use this to rearrange the tiles on the paddle or to get back to a lower
tile without dropping the upper tiles. This "push-back" technique is fun.
It's addictive. It's also the quickest way to get into deep doo-doo. Use
it, don't abuse it.

  There is a built-in difficulty advance feature which makes the game play
faster depending on how long you have been playing on the current quarter.
(This is a not-very-well-kept secret of arcade game design used to balance
game play so a the designer doesn't have to screw typical players to keep
a really good player from playing forever).  Anyway, the point is that you
should play as quickly as possible so that the game difficulty doesn't
ramp up on you.  One way you do this by pulling back on the joystick to
speed the tiles down the ramp and (hopefully) onto your paddle.  Don't
wait for them to come to you.  Suck 'em down!  This feature can also be
abused (although not as badly as the push-back technique), but it can be
useful.

  The basic strategy is going top be to start at level 1, play through
level 5, warp to level 11, and take a "secret warp" to level 56.  I've
never survived level 56 using this strategy :-):-).


                               LEVEL 1

  Here is a cosmic paradox.  Level 1 is the easiest level in the game.  It
is also the hardest level to do well.  Don't get discouraged by the complexity
of the patterns (KLAXgrams) shown below.  This is the as bad as it gets, and
you can work up to it slowly.  If you wish, use the "Tengen Stax" method shown
below.  It's worth fewer points, but it is *lots* easier.

  There are only 4 colors of tiles in the first level. The patterns shown will
get you about 370,000 to 565,000 points on level 1.  The highest theoretical
score for level 1 that we have found is about 720,000 (but I wouldn't waste
my time trying for it -- and I play for free).  In building these patterns,
you may complete at most ONE KLAX to get rid of "junk"; if you complete 2
KLAXs, the game will not let you drop extra tiles on the paddle after the
first, because the 1st tile will complete the level.  And you must be quick
to drop all the tiles on the paddle into the center column.  If the top [c]
finishes scoring before you get the remaining tiles in place, things won't
work right.

  You must be prepared to settle for less and bail out earlier if necessary.
These are "best case" patterns.  They are very similar: notice that the only
difference in the first 2 is an extra [a] at the bottom of the paddle stack,
but it's surprisingly MUCH more difficult to achieve!  An [x] is a don't care:
use the fourth color or just make sure you don't complete a KLAX with them.

                                   [c]                    [c]
            [c]                    [b]                    [b]
            [b]                    [a]                    [a]
            [a]                    [a]                    [b]
            ===                    ===                    ===

     |[a][a]   [a][a]|      |[a][a]   [a][a]|      |[a][a]   [a][a]|
     |[b][b]   [b][b]|      |[b][b]   [b][b]|      |[b][b]   [b][b]|
     |[x][a]   [c][x]|      |[x][a]   [c][x]|      |[x][a]   [c][x]|
     |[x][b]   [a][x]|      |[x][b]   [a][x]|      |[b][b]   [a][b]|
     |[a][c][b][b][a]|      |[a][c][b][b][a]|      |[a][c][b][b][a]|
     +---------------+      +---------------+      +---------------+
           ~370K                  ~435K                  ~565K
                                                    "Rains' Revenge"


                               LEVEL 2

  This pattern is known as "Tengen Stax," because the guys over at Tengen
discovered it. I think it should be called "Stax to dah Max," but call it
whatever you want ("You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay ...").  It
makes use of the high value of vertical 4-KLAXs.  It's also easy to remember
and is recommended for the entire family.  There are many minor variations
possible with higher and lower scores.  These are left as an exercise to
the reader.

            [e]
            ===
     |[a][b]   [c][d]|
     |[a][b]   [c][d]|
     |[e][e]   [e][e]|
     |[a][b][e][c][d]|
     |[a][b][e][c][d]|
     +---------------+
       "Tengen Stax"


                              LEVEL 3

  Level 3 is a "diagonal wave".  Try to complete as much of a BIG X as possible
but bail out as soon as possible to keep the game difficulty down.  You need
at least 3 diagonals to complete the level.  You should have been using the
pull-down feature to save time so far.  Also, between levels keep tapping the
button to speed up the scoring (again, reducing time).  Again, many variations
are possible.

            [a]
            ===

     |[a]         [a]|
     |[x][a]   [a][x]|
     |[x][x]   [x][x]|
     |[x][a][x][a][x]|
     |[a][x][x][x][a]|
     +---------------+
          "BIG X"


                              LEVEL 4

  Level 4 should be played the same as level 2.  There are more colors on level
4 than level 2, so it is harder.  But it is also more important to do well on
level 4 because it is a "points wave".  Any points that you score over the
10,000 needed to complete the level will be doubled as a bonus.  So a 200,000
set of "Tengen Stax" will get you 390,000 points including the bonus.  Did
I mention that furiously tapping through the scoring at the end of level
sometimes reveals a "feature" in which mysterious white tiles appear in the
bin and give you extra points?


                              LEVEL 5

  Just survive it any way you can.   The difficulty will be ramping up pretty
well by this time, so I just build simple vertical stacks to get rid of tiles
as easily as possible.  I often have over 1,000,000 by this time, and survival
is the most important thing.  DO NOT TAP THE BUTTON AT THE END OF THIS LEVEL
TO SPEED THE SCORE -- you may inadvertently get to the select screen and select
the default level 6.  When you get to the select screen, warp to level 11.

                         LEVELS 11 and 56

  I play both levels the same.  I go for a "Super Star" pattern which includes
an "X".  The "X" on level 11 (and on level 6, too) will cause an immediate
warp to level 56 (or 51), plus mucho bonus points.  This pattern depends on
getting a wild tile ([*]) to complete the star.  I still love completing this
pattern and watching everything score at once.


            [*]
            ===

     |[a]         [b]|
     |[x][a]   [b][x]|
     |[c][c]   [d][d]|
     |[x][b][e][a][x]|
     |[b][x][e][x][a]|
     +---------------+
       "Super Star"

         *******************************************************

  Well, that's it.  If you did everything right (and if the game was kind to
you), you will have a score of over 2,000,000 points.  Now wasn't that easy?  
If you actually do this, you will amaze your friends (and yourself) and will 
probably dominate the high score table for awhile.  Have fun, keep kool, and 
happy KLAXing.                                             /*  Lyle Rains

Another Tip:

One thing to realize about making the big X, is that you don't need to make 
it all one color.  For example, the method I usually use is:

    |[A]         [B]|
    |[x][A]   [B][x]|
    |[x][x][*][x][x]|
    |[x][C][x][D][x]|
    |[C][x][x][x][D]|
    +---------------+

Where the "*" is a wildcard.  This is so easy to make that I can always do 
it on level 6.