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US Gold Ltd
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K
Alkatraz Protection System

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Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

A belated appearance for this review, due to the belated appearance of the review copy - it must've been delivered using some special 4th class mail. But late or not, this game deserves attention as it's a complex and graphically excellent adventure from Adventuresoft and author Steve Ufnowski, who was responsible for Rebel Planet. Screen layout bears some resemblance to that game, but the graphics have been beefed up a little as you can see if you choose the Sneak Preview option when you load - I'm not sure if I want to encounter some of the creatures that are obviously lurking in the depths of this program, waving their various heads about and leaping around the screen.

Though this has the magic name of Issac Asimov on the front (and mis-spelled on the back) it's merely a story from Issac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and not one actually from the man himself. Did I say 'merely a story' though? Correct that at once, as you'll need all your wits about you on this one. For starters you begin by lying spreadeagled on a conveyor belt which is inching towards some electrified robotic claws. I seem to remember James Bond being in a similar predicament in one of his escapades, but with a laser beam edging towards his nether regions. In fact bonds are what tie you, as the program hints if you linger too long, and so with a single bound you're free... for a while, anyway.

In this game you're well advised to examine everything in every location - read those descriptions carefully if you're hoping to come up with the "Hey, I found something!" message. Initially you have about a dozen locations to explore, with various tasks to perform before learning a secret code that you'll need when you enter the Azap chamber that transports you to different levels of the game.

The story itself is the usual 'Defeat the wicked Kayleth and save your beloved planet from destruction', but never mind that, just sit back and enjoy - but not in the chair with the knob on it! Not unless you've done a RAM save first, this being one of the nice features incorporated, along with commands like GET ALL and BOM (Back One Move).

The graphics are what you notice most, though, having the detail that was evident in Rebel Planet but with much more animation this time. The tasks you're set are pretty tricky, and I'd like to have seen the price a little cheaper, but if you do part with your pennies then I doubt you'll regret it.