So today I finally took the plunge and played Klax for the first time in years with difficulty ramping turned on. I was able to put up a score of 678,889 which I certainly feel is at least respectable given the circumstances. I tried to get through the first levels as quickly as possible, but still wound up with a nearly impossible quantity of tiles coming at me by the time I reached the seventh level I played, wave 17 (I selected wave 16 at my first warp screen).
The difficulty ramping made the game as obscenely difficult as I remember as of last time I played on a regular basis in MAME. At the very end, I had a tile to catch every half second. Once the pace increases to one tile every two seconds, it’s already a bit difficult to figure out where that tile should go before lining up for the next one. At one tile per second or faster, the three-second pause after each completed Klax start to become crucial to staying in the game.
A while back I downloaded a copy of Atari’s offical operator’s manual for Klax. It states:
Difficulty Ramping increases the game difficulty as the time after the last coin inserted increases if it is set to yes.
Based on my observations, I think the manual is possibly incorrect and it is more likely a function of the number of waves completed after the last coin is inserted. Also, the accuracy of this description is questionable for games set to free play as I would suspect the difficulty resets after each continue.
Nevertheless, I’m starting to become very curious as to how Paul put up his 2.86M+ score. I’m not going to say it’s impossible, but on these settings scores over 1M are pretty damned difficult to come by, and 2M really starts to push the boundary of what I would accept with no evidence. Hopefully someone can come forward with a copy of the video so I can see for myself.