Dollarsoft
1984
Adventure: Text
£6.00
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

68,69
Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

Suicide Island describes itself as 'an exciting adventure game in 2 parts to test your skill and patience.' The game requires little skill but you will need a certain amount of patience. The program begins with the most hackneyed joke in the book - Load"" Code in a Basic program or perhaps you prefer the one about the 96K program that loads in 2 parts when really only 82K is possible.

Half the computer world might treat the buying public undiscerning imbeciles but I've never quite subscribed to this view and more recently I've sensed a change in the air. The computer games purchaser has now joined the ranks of the greatly discriminating consumer world now that choice and quality have arrived.

Your first graphic shows no more than a motorway simply represented against a two tone background. The plot has it this is an unused stone road. Looks more like a motorway to me. The graphics appear at a very slow rate - 100% Basic.

The slow speed of the graphics is somewhat offset by the fact that there aren't really that many. What graphics you do meet are very simple and some are open to interpretation in the best traditions of modem art. What is inexcusable is the very slow printing of text that forms the body of the adventure. The text does not reside in Basic in the normal way but is printed up using FOR . . . NEXT loops from character codes ostensibly to prevent examination of the program.

Each location bears quite a long description but unfortunately these consist almost entirely of references to what you might expect to see in the neighbouring locations. The descriptions are inflexible, e.g., a horse and cart ride past the post office every time you visit this location - an opportunity for a more sophisticated plot lost. Later you find yourself standing in front of a locked gate and you have a key, and it would seem logical to try the key in the lock. And it is here you find the program's greatest shortcoming. You try as many wordings and permutations as you can muster but the program refuses to tell you the outcome of your efforts - the cursor simply keeps on reappearing after an appropriate pause.

The program has a good think about your input and then just ignores you. I can only assume I didn't have the correct key. It's not just here. Try and kill - or anything else - the policeman and similarly there's no response. (It does understand kill because later you can, and must kill Eno). Try to enter the Public House or Post Office and up comes that lone cursor - and no report. Why you can't get out of the swamp when UP is a visible exit I don't know and I think you can guess the response that HELP elicits.

Other features of the game include wooden characters, no L abbreviation for the much used LOOK, and the inability to carry more than 3 objects. Suicide Island is a slow adventure let down by some dubious programming techniques and departs from mainstream adventures solely for these reasons.

Difficulty: Easy - Average
Graphics: Poor
Presentation: Average
Input Facility: Usually ignores your Input
Response: Slow
Special Features: Character Interaction, but low level

CRITICISM

General Rating: Awful.

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