Code Masters Ltd
1987
Adventure: Text
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

40
Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

Adventures from large budget concerns such as Code Masters aren't all that common, so it was with a mixture of curiosity and foreboding that I loaded up this here cheapie. The title seemed to hint at the story line, and a very good story it turned out to be. Since a good story is as important to an adventure as it is to a feature film, clearly this wasn't a bad start. Let's see what it's all about...

Necris Dome is set in the future. The earth's resources are severely depleted, and to conserve vital energy the earth's dead were consigned years ago to a floating cemetery in orbit around our planet. The satellite was aptly named the Necris Dome and was run by the mandroids, led by the Archmandroid. But the Archmandroid has turned renegade and has now become a threat to human life.

For many years there has been a ban on all weapons on earth, but there've been rumours that the Arch-mandroid has armed the Necris Dome with powerful weapons and that he intends to use them against Earth to further some evil plot of his own. As a member of the Secret Forces you have been assigned to investigate the situation aboard the Dome, and to destroy the Archmandroid at all costs - even if it means the destruction of the satellite.

You will be shipped aboard with the next batch of dead in a robot craft. You must keep your wits about you, and remember that the Arch-mandroid may have tampered with the programming of the mandroids - they, too, could be dangerous.

This scenario paves the way for a good plot which begins interestingly enough with you being smuggled onto the Necris Dome in a coffin.

The inlay instructions are unusually detailed: you're told fairly precisely what you must achieve in the adventure, and how you might go about it. Hence you are told to return to the coffin 'where there is something inside which you will need later'. This something turns out to be a pair of gloves which only reveal themselves on your return to the coffin. Curious.

Stranger still is the LIFT LID combination, which works to open the lid the first time but not on your second attempt to escape the tomb - though this is just me being pedantic, as PUSH LID is quite clearly stated on the inlay and this works on both occasions! More strange is GET CASKET, which is taken as GET INTO CASKET... and so you get those precious gloves.

There are no midcompass directions, so I'll save you some bother and suggest you start off eastwards, once all that clambering in and out of caskets is done. You'll quickly discover a spaceship segmented in true memory-saving fashion. Many locations are just location labels such as 'Engineering' and 'Reception Level: Chamber 3'.

There are also various ups and downs; but the arrow found in Reception Chamber 2, which points up, had me a little puzzled as there doesn't appear to be any progress possible in that direction.

If you have trouble finding this arrow, or anything else for that matter, note that Necks Dome commendably distinguishes between SEARCH and EXAMINE, and if I remember rightly it's SEARCH WALLS which exposes the arrow and not EXAMINE. A little later it's EXAMINE MANDARIN which actually brings the chap onscreen - 'a formidable opponent'. I'm a great fan of slick features like this, especially in a cheapie.

Necris Dome is really quite a good jaunt for a budget game, with one or two notable features. The pictures aren't too bad, and they're drawn quickly. Some of the puzzles might be just a bit obvious - for example, the play on the pipes (is it the hot water or the gas pipe that you should sever?) - but there are some good prompts and hints within the game as well as the hints on the cover, and this may encourage new adventurers to have a crack at Necris Dome.

DIFFICULTY: not difficult
GRAPHICS: not bad for a cheapie
PRESENTATION: OK
INPUT FACILITY: verb/noun
RESPONSE: fast

CRITICISM

General Rating: Good cheapie.

74%
71%
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74%

Screenshot Text

Dead zone: you're alone against evil in the Necris Dome.