The premise of Dr. Blob's Organism is that one of your scientific experiments has gone awry. An amoeba-like organism is growing out of control in a petri dish, and you have to blast it into submission. The presentation of the game is simple, as is the interface--you use one button to fire and the arrow keys or the mouse to rotate the dish. You can damage the organism by firing at the nucleus of the cell as it grows, moving, undulating, and budding out pieces of itself in an attempt to break free. If you let the blob touch the sides of the petri dish too many times, it's game over.
Thankfully, the strange organism spawns numerous weapon power-ups and extra health chances as you blast away at it. These power-ups include multiguns, a faster-firing blaster, lightning, and freeze rays, but these only last a few seconds before you're back to shooting with your regular blaster. The organism has its own power-ups as well, such as force field, which renders it immune to attack for a short period of time as it grows and moves about the dish.
Like any good shooter, Dr. Blob's Organism succeeds in putting you into a Zen-like trance as you concentrate on the target and rotate the dish frantically in an effort to keep the blob off the walls. The random nature in which the organism moves and grows ensures that no two games play alike, and there are no specific patterns to recognize. After a few rounds of Dr. Blob's Organism, you just might feel more inclined to do something about that slimy shower curtain in your bathroom.
At first glance, Dungeon Scroll looks like a first-person dungeon crawl in the style of the old Dungeons & Dragons PC RPGs. If you spend more than five seconds with the game, though, you'll realize that all the fantasy trappings are just window dressing for a fiendishly difficult and addictive word puzzle game. The concept is simple: You're given eight letters at the start of each dungeon, and you battle the creepy inhabitants (such as snakes, skeletons, and zombies) by forming words from these letters. The amount of damage you inflict and the points you rack up are based on the length and complexity of the words you devise.
Sounds simple? Hardly. There is, of course, a catch: You can use each word only once per level. So if you blow through all of the quick three-letter words you can think of on the piddly little rats and snakes at the beginning of the level, when you finally get to that dragon with 60 hit points at the end, you're pretty much out of luck. Dungeon Scroll basically operates with a time limit, since you'll constantly be attacked by your foe while you're trying to figure out a word. Fortunately you'll receive a handful of one-use extra letters and bonus tiles that give you special powers after defeating each monster. Healing potions will restore a little bit of precious health, while some letter tiles will add bonus damage value to a word. Strategic use of your available letters and knowing when to save a big word for the next enemy are the key to survival.
Dungeon Scroll is an amazingly fun little game that really puts your vocabulary and quick-thinking skills through the wringer. Also, here's an interesting bit of peripheral geek trivia: The author, Seth Robinson, created the classic Legend of the Red Dragon BBS door game that may well have been many gamers' first taste of online multiplayer gaming. LORD was great fun more than a decade ago, and Robinson's latest effort is no less enjoyable.