Life's not easy being a Space Detective. So after solving the mystery in the original Space Detective game (43%, Issue 30) I decided to relax on a leisurely space cruise. Of course most of my relaxing happened in the bar, and since drinking on duty is strictly forbidden I had a lot of drinking to catch up on. Anyway, there I was, peacefully pouring a litre of lager down my neck when in walked a particularly smug ship's officer. 'Hello, you stupid *)<*!' I cheerfully announced. The officer considered this for a moment then, obviously not having my talent for witticisms, threw a punch. I watched his fist coming rapidly closer for a while, decided to dodge it, but then found myself flat out on the deck. Not feeling well enough to get up and thrash the ugly Rigellian slime-mould I drew my laser pistol and shot him between the eyes... not a wise move, really.
I was sentenced to death for my crime, but my execution could only take place back on Earth - one week away. So I was locked in a cryogenic chamber and put into suspended animation for the home journey. But at last, a stroke of luck - when I awoke from my deep sleep the ship seemed to be deserted. Fed up of feeling like Wacko Jacko I got out of my casket to investigate.
I thought escape would be easy but soon discovered the ship's security systems were still active. So too, though, were more useful devices like a clothes dispenser and I soon swapped my untrendy cryosuit for a flashy blue uniform. Feeling very authoritative I began swaggering around the ship-and almost stumbled over some pirates! Quickly hiding I found out that the pirates were planning a massive nuclear attack on the Earth - maybe I should help them! Nah, then I wouldn't get my monthly helping of CRASH! There was only one thing to do; infiltrate the pirates and spoil their plans.
Space Detective is yet another PAWed, home-grown adventure with neat presentation. Most locations have a colourful picture which take up a thin strip at the top of the screen and don't get in the way of the text. Any of four different character sets may be used, ranging from bold to a more suitable futuristic font. Unfortunately, location description are too brief to provide much of an atmosphere - although most objects can be examined, eliciting useful responses. Locations include a tacky TV lounge with pink wallpaper (psychedelic, man), and a games room where pool and darts are played - very futuristic!
What really disappoints is the linear nature of progress. Problems must be solved in the correct order, so you're not free to simply wander around the ship. And meeting a pirate guard spells instant death, so it's just as welt there's a useful RAMSAVE command.
Despite the flaws, for only £3 (50p of which goes to Comic Relief) there are plenty of puzzles to solve, and completion is a challenge. Sadly there's no 48K version, but 128K owners can buy Space Detective by sending the dosh to 37 Millriggs, Corby Hill, Carlisle, CA4 8QP.