1985
Adventure: Text
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

78,80
Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

If I give you the story for this one you might just twig what it is a follow up to. You are Ed Lines the famous reporter who has sent the "SUBSUNK" message from the stranded submarine Sea Lion, only to have it intercepted by enemy agents. The agents use a mysterious magnetic force to draw the sub into Seabase Delta. You must unravel the secrets held in the base then locate a mini-sub and make good your escape.

You begin in a large tubular walkway (with a picture which looks like a large pencil) and through its transparent walls you can see the murky depths of the ocean. As is so often the case in adventures there is a dead body. By the body is a briefcase which mysteriously has to be re-picked up if it is opened to examine its contents. Presumably the program assumes you must lay it down to open it. Examining the body doesn't reveal anything in the first instance but does give a useful prompt to action - always a good sign of a helpful program. What isn't so helpful is the strange delay in the program when it tells you "I see something!'. It would have been courteous to allow the player to press a button to skip over this delay; as it is, the game slows and the player becomes bored and irritated. Overall the game has a sluggish feel, what with its slowly-drawn graphics, but this must be taken as just one of the drawbacks inherent in a £1.99 adventure.

In the briefcase are documents, one of which is a telex message which runs like this, 'We have captured another sub but all other personnel have had to evacuate the base due to a wildfire epidemic. I have managed to arrest the symptoms of the virus but I am still very ill. I have left the computer in control of the base in case I do not survive. The missile targeted on the British base will launch as planned'. If you've been following the story up to now you'll realise this is an enemy message and so it looks as if Ed Lines also has to deal with the enemy computer and stop the launch of the missile.

To the east of the first location is a food farm with a really messy floor, covered in very slippy seaweed, whose slimy composition has you sliding right round the place. You whizz past the table too fast to quite make out what object lies upon it. To the south is a metallic platform in a large dome which turns out to be a futuristic tube station with a tube car which can whip you off to many small locations strung out down the line. At each of these tube stops only one or two tasks have to be performed and, say, one item picked up. This area, for me, was one of the few boring ones; the constant need to fasten and unfasten the seat belt became irksome very quickly.

Seabase Delta is another good cheapie from the authors of Sub-sunk. As with that game, some of the pictures are rudimentary while others, especially some of the later ones, are quite evocative. The game is well-designed and has had a fair amount of imagination pumped into it. There are plenty of problems and a good number of objects to collect. In contrast to Subsunk this game has a very friendly vocabulary; getting things done is straightforward and there is space for witty comments: GET TORCH gives 'Well, every adventure's got to have one of these hasn't it?'. Seabase merrily flows along and can't be bad at the asking price.

CRITICISM

COMMENTS
Difficulty: moderate
Graphics: good in places
Presentation: average
Input facility: v/n
Response: Quill
General Rating: Good.

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