Light the blue touch paper and stand back for... Shadowfire, the new firework from Beyond. It's a real-time adventure without words - you have just 100 minutes to board the enemy's space ship, rescue the hostaged ambassador, capture General Zoff, the enemy leader, and then destroy his ship. And all without typing so much as one piece of text. So, the YS fire brigade of Ross Holman and Steve Malone prepared to play with fire...
Steve: Four minutes in, and we still haven't decided who goes where yet I'm gonna choose Manto, as he can use the transporter. I think we should beam down just two or three.
Ross: I Just hope you've fully armed them all before sending them to the ship. I'd take Sevrina, Maul and Zork to clear the way - but I'm not holding the Joystick so anything could happen!
Steve: It's all very well going for the monkey, but don't you think we should be after the organ grinder? The Ambassador ain't here and we're just wasting precious time.
Ross: It's not a waste of time - if we're going to crack this we've got to explore everywhere. Look, we've found the master pass-card here that'll give us access to all the locked doors on the ship.
Steve: We're very close to the robot armoury here so we can stock up on weapons. As soon as Sevrina opens the door let's start legging it...
Ross: For once I agree with you! This is a tricky spot but if we move in enough fire power we can wipe the floor with this bunch. But we'll have to put a spurt on before they regroup.
Steve: Didn't I say we should've brought Torik, the explosives expert along? We've found the self-destruct but we can't trigger it and we can't pick it up. Any more bright ideas?
Ross: Just shows what you know. We don't need to pick it up - all we have to do is collect the self-destruct card from Zoff's office and then any character can set it off. So there!
Steve: What d'you mean you re not gonna take the grenades? They're just the business for battles at close Quarters. Mark my words, we'll never get out of the Security section alive without them.
Ross: That rocket launcher's worth any number of your puny grenades - just look at how heavy it is! If we're going to get into Zoff's office we'll need all the fire power we can muster.
Steve: This is another fine mess you've got me into. If we'd only done it my way, we wouldn't have ended up with forty minutes left on the clock and nowhere to go. Aaargh!
Ross: Don't you start blaming me. We did do it your way. There's a first and last time for everything and this is the first and last time I play this game with you. Humph!
"I, Zark Montor, have been chosen by our beloved Emperor to lead the Enigma team on its rescue mission. Follow me..."
This window gives you an overview of your position in the Spaceship but the shutters are drawn until you choose a character to move. To the left, the clock counts down the hundred minutes until the hostage cops it. You can carry on after that time but you can t complete the game.All hail - it's the Emperor who oversees your mission to rescue Ambassador Kryxix held hostage on the spaceship. When you've chosen a member of the Enigma team from the line-up below, his or her picture will appear in this window.This is the first adventure that breaks the language barrier - it's completely icon-driven. Move the cursor over the picture you wish to choose and click - you'll be surprised at how quickly you build up speed at it. When you want to change screens move the cursor to the icon in the right-hand comer.This is the Enigma team - and you'd have to look far and wide in the universe before you'd come across a more 'orrible looking bunch of mercenaries. Crooks, trained killers and cut-throats to the man. and woman. (Looks a bit like the YS team to me. Ed.)
"I am Syylk, the muscle on this mission. And that's gonna come in pretty handy at the moment as we've just cornered Captain Churl..."
This is the attack screen - in this section you'll see just who you're up against. This is Sky Fortress Captain Churl, second-in-command to General Zoff. Luckily, he's on his tod and can put up little resistance but you won't be able to duff 'em all over this easily.Sevrina can open doors but what happens if she meets a sticky end? That's when you'll find that the master pass-card in Churl's office comes in handy - it's the pass that doesn't have to colour co-ordinate with the doors.You can only attack or retreat in the direction of the filled-in arrows. The order of combat is to choose one of the action icons on the right and then one of these arrows to direct your attack.These are the three action icons - top is attack and advance, middle is stand and attack and the bottom is retreat. To help you choose the best course of action use the icon on the right of them - it lets you look around to see if the enemy's ganging up.
"Sevrina's the name. There is no lock I cannot unpick, no door I cannot pass through and no man who can match me..."
The map window sDowstheareainlhe immediate vicinity of your chosen character. Here's Sevrina about to unpick the lock on a door, a knack that'll come in very useful during the game. Just in view at the top of the picture is the icon for an enemy trooper waiting to go on the offensive.These four bars give an indication of strength, speed, stamina and the weight of any objects you're carrying. The quickest way to reduce strength is to get into scraps with the enemy but luckily resting aids recovery. Also if you carry too much, the weight bar will go into the red and make you more vulnerable.If any of the characters comes under attack, you'll learn the bad news here first. Obituary notices will also be posted here!The three telly icons give you immediate access to the other screens. Green takes you to the movement screen, yellow to the object screen so you can see what you're carrying and red to the attack screen.
"The name's Torik. And before anyone says this mission failed because I'm bird-brained, I'm wining my way out of here."
This is one of the three starting points that Manto can beam you up to. There are plusses and minuses to all of them so it's just a question of trial and error. At this stage of the game, now that Manto's copped it, there's no chance of saving the Ambassador.The movement arrows work in the same way as the attack arrows - you can only travel in the direction of the filled in ones. Quite often you'll come up against locked doors, so either Sevrina will have to open them or you'll need the correct coloured pass-cardIt's a space shuttle - not that it'll do you a lot of good now. Your mission's finito!Keep track of where you are by making a note of your current location. But be warned - if the word 'security' is in there, you're likely to have big trouble with the bad guys.
"Brrr... phtt.-..zz... Name: Maul... Status: Weapons droid... Damage: Limited... phtt... zzz..."
Keep a constant check on the status of the six members of the Enigma team Blue means they're on the move, magenta on the attack, cyan defending, yellow retreating, flashing indicates a character's weak and if the box is empty... RIP!These are the grenades that Steve's so adamant you'll need for close contact clobbering - if you want to test his theory you'll have to give it a go but don't be surprised if they blow up in your face.When you pick up a weapon, look at the weight bar - it'll give you a good idea of how powerful it is. The heavier the better, of course, but make sure you don't overstretch your team member.Any object displayed here is being carried by your character. You'll often stumble across weapons on your travels but it's better to stay armed at all times than take the risk of finding something suitable when you need it.
"Look I'm just here to carry the transporter... stand back. Just don't leave me alone or I wont make it through - and neither will you..."
All the objects to be found in your present location are displayed here - most of them can be picked if they're not too heavy but this one's the exception. It's the destruct unit that'll blow the ship to smithereens.It's worthwhile keeping your own detailed map of the spaceship or you may end up hopelessly lost - even with our blueprint.Use these four icons on the object screen to handle your weapons and so on. You can pick up objects and drop them just so long as they're not too heavy for you. Also, make sure you've got a weapon 'in hand' before trying to use it or you're likely to come unstuck.Here's the big piccy of your current character - in this case Manto. It's worth learning their names pretty quickly 'cos when a message comes through that they're under attack you've got to move fast.