Worse Things Happen At Sea (Spectrum 48K)

By Bryan Skinner Published In Personal Computer News #067

Ahoy, Me Hearties | Objectives | In Play | Verdict | Rating

Ahoy, Me Hearties

Worse Things Happen At Sea. So they say, but this oddest of computer game titles does reflect an unusual scenario.

As captain of the SS Sinclare (sic) your task is to deliver cargo, but the Sinclare is more than a bit of a leaky old tub; it's a veritable colander.

Objectives

To make port successfully, you'll need to take careful stock of just where leaks occur, then move your trusty C-Droid to effect a patch. You can also have the droid bail you out of difficulties by manning the pumps.

As the water levels in the cargo holds rise, so the value of your cargo decreases. Then the droid gets rustier and may need replacing at further expense and of course the ship will need pumping out before you can set sail again.

In Play

The screen has a number of displays. A chart at top left shows how far you are between ports. Display panels indicate data like the value of the cargo; the robot's power; the temperature of the boiler; where there are leaks; and so on. The main part of the screen shows a side view of the hold the C-Droid is in at the time.

After spying the leaks map, you can send your droid off to pick up a patch to slap on a leak - they look like mini-fountains - do some pumping, or recharge its power. The patches are always just inside doors and you shouldn't leave hatches open or water, being what it is, will find its own level and scupper your chances of a safe, let alone profitable, journey.

You also have to position the droid just right, or the patch doesn't make an effective seal. If you take too long about it, your robot will run out of steam, dump the patch and zoom back to the main control room.

For the upper decks a power transporter lets you jump between compartments quickly; on lower decks you just have to slog it out, and if you're wading through water the robot power drain is frightening.

It's not all plain sailing; as you progress up the ladder of seamanship you'll have to make sure the droid maintains the ship's course and keeps the boiler temperature down to a safe level.

Verdict

Silversoft has come up with an unusual and difficult game, reminiscent of Beyond's Psytron. The better you get the more things you have to keep an eye on.

It's not as complex as Psytron, but like seaweed, it can grow on you. I'm still trying for level four...

Scores
Lasting Appeal 5
Playability 4
Use Of Machine 5
Overall 4

Plain Text Article | Html Article (Isolated)