Robert Bradshaw
1984
Board Game
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

31,32
Chris Bourne

Sea Battles is a computer version of the well known pen 'n paper game, 'Battleships'. Full instructions are provided as the program runs. The player sets up his forces by entering the coordinates in which the left-most part of the object will appear, for example a ship is placed by entering the co-ordinates in which the stern section will be placed. This method does mean that targets can only be placed horizontally which makes them easier to hit once you have found them.

After the forces have been set up game play commences. To shoot the player enters the co-ordinates and the sound indicates if there was a hit or not, otherwise the map will show a splash symbol for a miss or a large cross for a hit. Next the computer makes its shot and to do this the map is redrawn so that your forces can be seen and the computer's shots recorded in the same way as before. The player can decide between entering his own co-ordinates or allowing the computer to make a random shot on his behalf.

The remains of the forces are listed alongside each of the maps together with the number of attempts and hits for each player.

CRITICISM

'I never enjoyed Battleships on pen and paper and this game does not really add anything to make it more fun. The implementation works well but the constant drawing and redrawing of the screen slows the game down a lot. The graphics are effective and the colours aid clarity, all except for a rather upsetting multi-colour moving backdrop that appears while the computer is waiting for its move which is hard on the eyes. Putting the required answers into the machine worked well except when it came to the player's turn to shoot. The player has to press the enter key to select his own targets but to select a random shot means pressing any key, in the heat of the battle I found myself forgetting to press enter so the computer mistook the first letter of my coordinates as an any key press, that's why I kept losing you see. '

'Sea Battles' packaging says that the battleships game 'has really stood the test of time'. To be honest this is true as most enjoy this game. The graphics etc. are adequate for this type of game. Sea Battles improves on the original by having land targets but it loses out by not being able to place the targets on any plane except the horizontal. Overall quite good, l would like to have seen a game save facility as this game can last a long time.

'Games like Sea Battles definitely come under the heading of 'if you like the type ' games. Quite obviously, if you enjoy playing the paper version of the traditional game, then you will no doubt enjoy playing this computer version, and it's sensible of Atlantis to release a game like this at a budget price, because it obviously isn't in the best-seller league. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed playing it, but I find the original game absorbing on a wet day. The graphics are adequate to the purpose and everything seems to work quite well. A pity ships are always oriented in the same direction - it takes some of the planning fun out of it.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: as required by prompts
Joystick: none
Keyboard play: input works well
Use of colour: appropriate
Graphics
Skill levels: 1
General Rating: Good fun if you enjoy Battleships. Better than average.

55%
48%
49%
50%
60%
65%
60%

Screenshot Text

It's more exciting than using paper and pencils, but the shame is that the ships can only be plotted horizontally, on the other hand there are the land-based targets as well.