It's a good job you have a strong sense of responsibility because once again the fate of the Universe lies in your hands. As a member of the Federation's secret service you have been assigned to the case of Erra Quann, the alien scientist who hijacked the Flagship Quann Tulla an order to sell the secrets of its engine plans to the evil Empire. Should he reach his destination, the Federation will be powerless to combat the forces of the Empire who can then step in to dominate the known Universe.
The adventure begins in a leaking air bubble on hoard your ship. Sparks are flying from the instruments and black smoke obscures everything. You can't breathe, so your first objective is to find air. Once this initial urgent task is completed you must find your way through the shattered hull of the flagship and survive long enough to continue the investigation on a distant alien planet. The adventure winds through a series of cargo hays, control domes and futuristic corridors, and the suitably atmospheric descriptions are complemented by a small selection of graphics and a visible sci-fi score display.
At first, apart from a few surly droids (which must he treated tactfully) you are alone. Objects are scattered around to help you and range in complexity from a neon weapon to a humble tube of glue. The puzzles, mostly involving the use of these objects, are challenging hut not infuriatingly difficult. Sudden death is an ever-present danger hut special commands include a RAMSAVE option.
The game has quite a large vocabulary and although it won't accept complex commands it does have one labour-saving feature (interestingly, one that is missing from the two highly sophisticated Magnetic Scrolls adventures reviewed this month). If, for example, you have the key to a box there's no need to go through all the rigmarole of saying UNLOCK BOX WITH RED KEY, you simply type UNLOCK BOX and the computer knows which key to use. This is particularly useful when you have to perform more involved actions with other objects (play the game to sec which ones). In effect it compensates for the parser's lack of complexity and eradicates the infuriating problem of knowing what to do with an object but not knowing how to say so.
CRL's version of the sci-fi adventure doesn't break any especially original ground but within the limits it sets itself it is a compelling and highly polished game.
Federation positively bristles with excitement.