US Gold Ltd
1986
Adventure: Text
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

74
Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

Err, right, err, I'm going to try and tell you some of the history of this one without actually knowing quite what the heck I'm on about, but there again, what's new. Well, there was the advertised SWORDMASTER series and if I'm not mistaken that had something to do with Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, the names behind the book which led to this one here. Then it surfaced some time later as FIGHTING FANTASY and the game was Seas of Blood, and it had those stalwarts of computer coding, Mike Woodroffe and Brian Howarth behind it. That game had an animated dice sequence, a combat routine, and a status page showing skill, stamina and strength. Well this game is much more mainstream without any gimmicks but is very well constructed and has an interesting set of rules, as you might expect from the style of the FIGHTING FANTASY books (these work by giving a set of choices which lead to pages further on into the book). Take a look at Pete Tamlyn's article on page 46 of this issue if you're still confused...

Your spaceship is called the Caydia. It is a merchant ship. You well, you're some sort of agent, in fact the finest, as you've been chosen for your courage, resourcefulness and dedication to the liberation of the peoples of Earth. Your cover has been well researched: you will travel as a merchant to the planets of Tropos, Halmurus, and Arcadian all of which are a part of the Arcadian Empire.

If you are to take on the might of the huge Arcadian Empire. which tightens its grip on the galaxy by the hour, then you will need the might of some huge organisation behind you. SAROS stands for Search and Research Of Space, and has managed to send spies on ahead to gather intelligence before your arrival. Of course, it wouldn't be an adventure if this information was just placed in your lap you'll have to work out where it is. There is a building on the planet Arcadian which houses the all important queen computer. This can be entered (and this information is proffered quite openly) by using a numerical code of nine binary digits. The underground spy network may know something to help you discover these digits. Your mission, then, is to locate the rebel leaders, learn the digits, and destroy the queen computer before it destroys you.

The program boasts an extensive vocabulary. Commands range from simple two word instructions to multiple action out of the observation window, hardly move in true 3D motion but at least bring some movement to an adventure screen. To the south is an access corridor with a dispenser attached to one wall. The powerful EXAMINE command comes in handy here and we learn it is a sustenance system, an Arcadian one in fact, which surprised me as I thought this was one of our commands. Take a look at these examples. ASK THE DROID FOR HELP, ATTACK THE POLICER WITH THE LASER. GET THE WRENCH, THE CRYSTAL AND THE BOOK. OPEN THE DOOR, GET THE GRENADE AND THEN PULL THE PIN. You are advised to use WAIT 5. WAIT 10 and so on when you've missed the pneumatube on Halmurus. By the way, last month's review of Human Torch was a touch inaccurate when I reported it in the summary as being only verb/noun. It is, like this one here, quite a way beyond simple verb/noun input.

There are some useful hints on play in the instructions. Caydia has a pre-programmed flight plan (which you are warned not to alter) and it's only a matter of time before it docks at its first port of call, Tropos. The only thing is, you might not be ready when it does. However, you can fool around with time with the curious commands ADVANCE CT and RETARD CT, CT standing for Caydia Time. Fooling around without knowing what you're doing could lead to the Caydia taking off without you. Its worth noting that the Arcadians have banned humans from carrying weapons and you should therefore keep your laser sword out of sight until you plan to use it.

The first frame is stylish and attractive. The stars before you, ships. There again, I probably dozed while I was reading the Instructions and have probably missed something. Inserting a card gives you the sustenance, something you will need otherwise you could find yourself running out of steam later on. To the east is a cabin with hydro-bed and regeneration unit. Stepping into the unit has zetri waves bathing you after which you feel ready to take on the challenge and pick up the laser sword lying here. Across the corridor to the west is passenger cabin 1 with its lite-kube which, on examination, reveals a jet pak and a fuel capsule. Only thing is you can't pick them up quite yet. Typical! Rebel Planet is a good adventure by any standards, what with its decorative graphics, sound plot, and useful vocabulary. It has enough to make the grade.

CRITICISM

COMMENTS
Difficulty: difficult after a while
Graphics: good, often mirror images.
Presentation: blinding white background.
Input facility: complex sentence analysis
Response: Sluggish
General Rating: Very good.

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Screenshot Text

The view from the spaceport on the way to save life as we know it from being destoryed by the Arcadians.