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Precision Games
1986
Adventure: Text
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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90
Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

You are an Earth agent working for a top security company on a government assignment to infiltrate the Star Fleet Command HQ on the planet Arg. Once settled, you are to extricate a Prof Roberts who is imprisoned in the detention area of the Complex, known as the Green Sector. Reaching the Green Sector is difficult enough, but it is also necessary to deactivate the shuttle bay security system by sabotaging the main computer. This being done, a time limit is set, its end marked by the completion of the repair of the security system by which time the professor should be through the shuttle bay and off the planet. When the time left is really low, a warning klaxon sounds out signalling a most worrying lack of moves left for your escape.

Before I forget, I should mention that this game has something exotic on the flip side. Frantic is a specially written piece of music by Baz Hoar. It is unusual in that no actual instruments have been used in its recording as all of the sounds have been digitally sampled through a Spectrum micro and played back through the Spectrum's own keyboard and then multi-tracked on a Porta-Studio. Hearing the music, it's impressive to note that no other external effects were used.

Back to the adventure which is Quilled, Illustrated and Patched. This last utility ensures RAM SAVE and sound effects, but the game in addition offers the opportunity to alter the typeface. Although any change to the Spectrum capitals might have been thought an improvement, I rather thought that the home grown typeface offered was, if anything, worse and less distinctive.

You kick off this one on an alien plain with purple grass swaying in the breeze. The only exit leads south but travelling south, the only way to go is back the way you came. Clearly you've missed something and that something is literally staring you in the face. Clues in graphics are very much my idea of good and imaginative adventuring and this game has already made a good impression after only a few opening frames. Since I've given this part away I feel restrained to give no more at this point so take it from me that in the next instance of getting somewhere the game demonstrates another welcome feature with a persistence of an activity paying off handsomely (and no, I don't mean WAIT which would not count as such an interesting feature).

Extricator is a rather good adventure for £2.99. Amongst its many strong points I would count its sense of humour (for instance, the Sony Walkman bedecked skeleton), the clues hidden within text and graphics, and the pleasantly informative EXAMINE command as the most praiseworthy. The problems are within the ken of even an average adventurer but watching them go down still provides a considerable amount of pleasure, which is what adventuring is all about.

CRITICISM

COMMENTS
Difficulty: easy for quite some way
Graphics: good enough
Presentation: nothing special
Input facility: verb/noun
Response: fast Quill response
General Rating: Many praiseworthy features.

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