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US Gold Ltd
1987
Strategy: Management
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Alkatraz Protection System

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56
John O'Shea
Chris Bourne

Now this is different! Go and deliver the shopping. Okay, so the place you have to deliver to is twelve light years away. So the van driver's an android, but what do you expect? Let's get going.

The game is divided into two parts, the first being to choose your mission and pick your crew. There are three missions to choose from, and when you've selected one you're shown the distance you have to travel, the cargo you have to take and the reward you'll get if you get the job done.

Naturally you are the captain and you must choose your five crew members. This requires some thought. You have thirty people to choose from - five groups of six people each. Each group has different skills - weapons, scanning, navigation. engineering or repairs - and you have to select your team carefully. You get an on-screen display of piccies of the thirty people and selection is by the cursor keys. Once you've selected someone there's a chance to see their records so that you can make your final decision. Who's the best? Well, that's up to you to decide. Once you've made up you mind, though, it's time to load in part two.

The first important thing a captain must do is tell the navigator exactly where you're going. If you don't do this, not a great deal happens. Once I'd worked this out, and told Nik in navigation where we were off to, I settled back and familiarised myself with the crew. There was Boris in weapons, Bluton in scanning, good ol' Nik in navigation, Craven taking care of the engineering and T3XR9 (crazy guy!) in repairs. Space drifted past the window, so I asked Nik to put the welly down 'cos we had to be on time.

The screen graphics are really quite complicated, displaying no fewer than sixteen different things simultaneously. The screen itself is divided into three main areas and the top part is divided further into two halves. On the left there's your view out of the dashboard window, on the right there's the person/thing you're talking to. The bottom of the screen is where the communication takes place. These two main sections are separated by various scanners and warning lights so you can keep your finger on what's happenin' man. How the programmers have managed to squeeze so much onto the Speccy screen is beyond me!

Time went by, and Nik kept slowing down. I remonstrated with him, but he only said "I'm doing my best" as he slowed down for the space equivalent of a traffic light. Oaf! All of a sudden, there we were in the middle of a battle (I told him we should've jumped the lights) and all hell broke loose. Messages arrived from every part of the ship, and we dodged around space, desperately trying to fight or avoid missiles. Suddenly, it was all over - Space Captain John blew it!

Psi-5 Trading Company needs a bit of brainpower and a fair amount of playing before you'll really get into it, but put the time aside, 'cos it's a cracker!

8/10
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Screenshot Text

First choose your crew. Here are the candidates for the Scanning Department, and a thoroughly dodgy lot they look too. It's up to your Scanning bod to identify and keep track of any other vehicles in space, in other words tell you when someone's shooting (as if you didn't know!) Choose carefully.

Once you've got going you can call up your various department heads, who appear on the right hand screen looking cheerful in all circumstances (except when dead). This is the Engineering Status Report, and everything is looking particularly rosy. But just give it a few minutes, until you run into some trigger-happy little funster from the planet Warg...