Extractors is a Lemmings-style action/puzzle game. While the tongue-twisting names and convoluted plot do a good job of distinguishing Extractors from other puzzle games, the problems with the interface keep it from achieving its full potential. You control each of your miners separately and select items from their inventories with a complex combination of keyboard and mouse commands; trying to get a feel for the controls when you’re first starting out turns out to be more of a puzzle than any of the levels.

1The mouse is only of limited usefulness during the actual game; it doesn’t control movement, so you’ll rely on keyboard input to move your little guys around and perform various tasks. But keyboard control just doesn’t cut it in this game. Just having one of your characters jump out of a hole can take several tries. I still haven’t figured out why you can use the mouse to access an individual character and even bring up a menu of options, but you got to use your keyboard to select an option.

Another sore point is the inability to scroll around the screen. While you can view the area immediately surrounding an individual miner, you’ll need to send the team to see the whole level and find the best path to the shield generator. In most cases, exploring in this way means sacrificing your team of miners at least a half-dozen times. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that these little guys have minds of their own and they eventually start exploring by themselves. It’s times like these that playing Extractors feels like playing a match of Age of Empires, but with every villager doing their own thins sans your input.

System Requirements: 80486/33 MHz, 4 MB RAM, DOS

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