If you've been paying attention you'll have seen The Anttilis Mission by Compass Software featured on a YS covertape a while back. Guess what? This is the sequel! Now depending on your adventuring abilities you'll either say 'yahoo' or 'boo hoo'. Anttilis was a bit of a toughie y'see, so I'm pleased to say that this follow up is a good deal easier.
Once again you assume the mantle of the hapless Captain Alan Henson of the mini-sub Anttilis. This time you've been called upon to investigate the cause of a huge rip in the ocean floor. An unmanned craft was sent down to have a look around, and it managed to pinpoint the location of mysterious caverns and tunnels in this fissure but then, rather unexpectedly, it was destroyed. Who or what caused this destruction is just one of the questions you've got to answer.
In next to no time you are flopping around in the deep blue sea in your bathtub-sized diving bell heading down into the dangerous depths. All the good features have been retained from the previous adventure, the best of which being the numerous pull-down menus that show things like your oxygen and pressure status in graphic form. Keeping an eye on gauges, dials, air supply etc is a part of the game and adds a strategic element to the usual adventurey-type things you have to do.
All the action is punctuated by heaps of sound and screen effects... just try flooding the diving compartment and see what happens - a simple yet effective technique. One great thing about the game is that most of the important messages reach you via a communications link with your back-up team. They scroll along the top of the screen in a tickertape.fashion. When you hear the sound of an incoming message, you'll stop what you were doing and pay special attention to it. More often than not, the message will leave you shaking in fear and wondering how you'll ever manage to complete any of the tasks you are given. One such early message charges you with the task of carrying out running repairs on the propeller.
There's problems and locations a-plenty, and main themes in the game include having to deal with the fish man and the seaweed, entering the fissure and the chamber and also see what you make of the mysteriously titled Hidden Chamber of the Aqua King. Gulp! Seriously folks, this is a quality PAWed text only game (though with loads of special effects and playability enhancers) from a guy who's been around for fifteen games and hundreds of years. You'll hardly put a foot wrong thanks to the helpful messages that appear when you examine most items, and despite being an unusual (and unpromising) theme it delivers the goods in more ways than one. And it's cheap to YS readers too!