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The Silent Corner
Paul Cardin
1989
Adventure: Text
£3.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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56
Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

I'd been told to watch out for Captain Kook by one of the game's playtesters, so when it came in I swiftly loaded it up... and what a delight it turned out to be. It's only author Paul Cardin's second attempt at an adventure, the first being The Inner Lakes. That one centred round the quest for an extremely large fish, and while it didn't merit a full review it was certainly better than the average debut attempt. Paul's second title shows lots of style, and at this rate his third game should be mega! I like an adventure with a bit of a different feel about it, and Captain Kook certainly has that.

The second of the two parts centres round the mysterious statues on Easter island, and in solving it you discover the author's theory as to why they were built, who by, and what happened to the civilisation that created them. That's far more interesting a tale to me than the Quest for the Golden Po of King Frozzdangle.

The game's text-only but with a couple of neat loading screens, both of which are reproduced on the front of the cassette inlay. Good marks for presentation, which continues on into the game with the screen layout. This is PAW'd, and clearly designed. I like the redesigned cursor - in the first part this is a spacecraft, which also pops up at the foot of each page of the optional intro, zooming up from the foot of the screen. Nice one.

There's a prologue too, in rhyme, that you get with the cassette. This explains how Tanzylee came from the planet Chrozon, leaving behind his wife and three little Chrozlets (aww!), and winds up accidentally on the planet Earth. Well, he does in Part Two of the game. You spend Part One making sure he winds up anywhere in one piece. This starts with the conventional 'panic in the spaceship' scenario. You know the one - alarm bells going, something or other malfunctioning, and only so many moves for you to put it right. Thank goodness the number of moves allowed is quite generous!

There are only 15 locations in the first part, on-board the plummeting ship, but you'll need to visit them all many times, taking objects back and forth, devising clever ways of using them, if you're to survive to the start of Part Two. In the second part (password needed) you'll find yourself on Easter island, but there's more to the island than you probably think.

There's a compo too. If you can decode the morse code message that zips by you at remarkable speed in Part One then you stand to win the £50 prize. I think that's a bit unfair, as the prize may already have been won by the time reviews like this appear, and the author should have set a closing date and waited. He assures me the morse code message is right though - he used to be a Leading Radio Operator in the Royal Navy!

Captain Kook is definitely a game to make you think. With limited locations, and limited objects, the author has had to work hard at interlocking everything to produce problems with a bit more depth than the usual UNLOCK DOOR WITH KEY. You must be sure to read every word of the text, and EXAMINE everything you find... or X everything, as the author's kindly abbreviated that command, and several more. You won't be playing from here to eternity, but you'll enjoy it while it lasts. Captain Kook? Worth a look!

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Screenshot Text

Mmm, far prettier to show you a shot of one of the loading screens than a box filled with text, methinks. Bit of a shame we don't get such cute piccies all the way through but the game itself more than makes up for that.