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Walrus Computing
Bob Lock
1986
Adventure: Text
£4.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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79
Richard Price
Chris Bourne

Remember Halley's comet? You'd be forgiven if you didn't, seeing as its arrival was probably the most unexciting in zillions of years.

My only abiding memory of it will be the abuse I got from my neighbour who thought my binoculars were for looking into his bedroom window.

Fortunately, the lump of rock and ice in Rogue Comet is a lot more interesting. Here it comes, whizzing towards Earth on a collision course, threatening to singe Patrick Moore's eyebrows.

Being extremely dumb, you've volunteered to ride up to the incoming space hazard and dispose of it with the new Omega bomb, guaranteed to kill all known things, dead. Your fancy experimental shuttle has also got some fancy new experimental equipment, all untried, untested and probably unreliable as well.

Your in-flight comp tells you the asteroid isn't all it seems - or rather, is more than it seems. There are glaciers, forests and (help) alien life forms: once landed on the comet's surface you're going to have to work out how to use and obtain the equipment you'll need.

Your ally in all this will be the light-fingered and unpredictable Klepto, a robot with K9ish characteristics. He can be ordered around like a dog - "Klepto Stay. Klepto Drop Bomb". Stuff like that.

There's an initial starvation sequence that needs very precise timing to survive and the usual collection of useful items inside the shuttle. The ship's other robots are decidedly bureaucratic and will only issue arms on production of the proper documents.

Amongst the equipment is a tricorder. This too can be handy and gives information about the weird life forms you're going to experience and be killed by - most are hostile. Use it often. If you do manage to plant the Omega bomb you'll probably think you've done fairly well.

But that's not the end - the bomb won't function and you'll just have to suit up and get out there again in a search for the comet's control room. Only when this is destroyed will the earth be safe.

The game's Quilled, with Patched graphics and sound effects. Bob Lock, the author, has used the Quill in a fairly original way to allow some interaction with Klepto - this and the tricorder information helps to lift the game above the usual lonely feel of similar space games. Easily enough happening to keep you interested.

The puzzles are sometimes difficult - I'm still sitting here trying to keep myself in one piece.

It's all quite accessible and an enjoyable adventure. At £4.95 it's a shade expensive given the number of budget adventures around these days, and I'd probably have given it another star if it had been £2.50.

Label: Walrus
Author: Bob Lock
Price: £4.95
Memory: 48K
Reviewer: Richard Price

****

Another better than average effort from an independent label. A smidgin expensive though.

4/5

Screenshot Text

Welcome to the plant-colony. Home of the aforesaid bloodsuckers. Waste time here and you'll end up looking like a used blood transfusion bag.

In the dim earthlight your fears become reality. At least they're feet not tentacles, you think. Bloodsucking plants slaver around the next corner.