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Gadgets & Gizmos

November 08, 2001|Aaron Curtiss

A Worthy Nemesis

Nemesis Factor is a confounding, frustrating, annoying electronic puzzle that's impossible to stop playing.

A squat pyramid with five translucent color buttons, the $20 device offers 100 progressively more difficult mind-benders. Puzzles incorporate patterns of light and sound.

One of the first tasks is to figure out how the thing works. Nemesis Factor offers only the vaguest of hints. Over the course of the puzzles, players begin to understand the logic.

Each puzzle starts with an electronic voice telling players, "Press any color to begin." Often, then, the pyramid just sits there silent.

Players hit buttons and get some sort of response--a series of sounds, lights or words--intended to clue them in to the particular puzzle's foundation.

It's never very easy. Players who get frustrated can ask for hints. Even with clues, the puzzles take a while to solve.

Nemesis Factor allows as many as five people to keep a series of puzzles active at once, making it a game families can pass around.

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