There's only one catch in Catch 23 and that's the fact that you need plenty of spare time to play it. Catch is big!
Martech have come up with a complex strategy/action game that will appeal to wargamers and fans of vector graphic adventures like Elite and Cholo.
Intelligence reports and satellite pictures have confirmed the worst - the enemy's CK 23 orbital interceptor is operational. Able to take off and land like any conventional aircraft, the revolutionary CK 23 is also able to escape the earth's gravitational pull and then achieve geo-stationary.
There it can lie in wait, for weeks at a time, ready to blast back into the atmosphere at frightening speed to intercept and destroy enemy missiles or aircraft with its sophisticated missile and laser weaponry.
The CK 23 test development site is the most secret military complex on earth. Hidden somewhere on a mountainous and now deserted island, it is surrounded by deadly minefields, high voltage electric fences and surveillance cameras. The island itself is bristling with military activity, from armed foot patrols to roaming lethal armoured vehicles.
It is your mission to explore the island and find the heart of the development complex. Once there you must steal the design of the CK 23 and then set a time delay bomb in the nuclear reactor. The explosion which follows will devastate the entire island.
At the start of the game, you have just been dropped by parachute. Where you actually land will depend on the prevailing wind. The time is 2200 hours. Sunrise is at 0600 hours. This give you just eight hours to complete your mission.
Whilst the enemy were building the military complex, the villages were occupied by the civilian workforce. To assist in rapid transport, a shuttle network was built which still criss-crosses the island.
The shuttles run automatically from one location to another. By switching shuttles, it is possible to cover large distances quickly, but unfortunately your map shows only a few of the principal shuttle routes.
There are a large variety of building types. Most of the buildings have been sealed by the military, but not all. It is still possible to enter and explore those which have been overlooked. Buildings which you can enter will have clearly visible doors.
Once inside a building it will be possible for you to identify its contents. You may also find batteries for the mine detector, explosives for making bombs and spare ammunition clips. It is worth making a record of buildings which can be visited to obtain fresh supplies of these vital items. There are other things for you to discover about some of these buildings.
Once inside a building, it will be possible for you to identify its contents. You may also find batteries for the mine detector, explosives for making bombs and spare ammunition clips. It is worth making a record of buildings which can be visited to obtain fresh supplies of these vital items.
Armoured Vehicle Patrols have set patrol routes. They will not deviate from these routes unless they spot an intruder. Your image enhancer allows you to see armoured vehicles from a distance from which they are unable to see you.
Foot Patrols are armed and, like you, they have been equipped with capable image enhancers. If you run into a foot patrol and they see you it is too late to think of running away. Being accurate and quick on the trigger is the only way you will survive the inevitable shoot out.
The island has a number of areas which have been mined. You have been equipped with a mine detector which, if the batteries are not flat, will relay a signal to your head-up display. Any mines in your field of vision will be clearly visible to you.
The parachute drop has been scheduled to coincide with a moonless night. You have been equipped with an advanced image enhancer which shows an accurate 3D representation of your 'world' as you move within it. The SIE also has a sophisticated head-up-display which provides you with a constant update on your status and situation.
You can also carry a maximum of three bombs. You have an unlimited supply of detonators and timers, but to make replacement bombs you must find buildings which contain explosives.
Your Compass Direction Indicators display the direction you are facing. They can also be used to lock onto the location from which to lock onto the location from which radio transmissions are being made. The direction to the transmitter you have detected will be displayed in red.
Your Dangerometer displays a measure of the danger associated with your current location. If it is high, the likelihood of your encountering a foot patrol is also high. For example, if you set off a bomb in a particular area, soldiers are likely to rush to investigate what happened.
However, if you are elusive, and keep a low profile, soldiers and less likely to patrol your immediate area.
Keeping a close eye on your Dangerometer and trying to discover what affects it, is of immense importance.
As well as the civilian workforce, the enemy recruited a large number of technicians and scientists to help with the development of the CK 23. Very few of these people were recruited willingly, most having been blackmailed, threatened or even kidnapped whilst attending a bonus conference.
Unknown to the enemy, seventeen of these scientists organised themselves into a highly effective resistance movement, determined to sabotage the enemy's plans. Unfortunately they were discovered and were all evacuated. Their whereabouts are not known.
However, intelligence sources have discovered that each of the seventeen found a deserted building and turned it into their base. To enable them to communicate with each other in secret they installed a computer terminal and transmitter in each location.
You have been provided with a brief description of sixteen of the seventeen scientists. The identity of the seventeenth scientist remains a mystery. This information will help you recognise which hideout you have located should you come across a computer terminal/transmitter. Being able to correctly identify whose hideout you have discovered may be a matter of life and death.
Computer Terminal-Transmitters can be found in the hideouts of each of the scientists. To LOGON to the system network you must enter the correct password.
Once you are into the system, there are useful clues to be discovered, if you can crack them.
You can save the game to tape or disc, but only from a safe house. If you find the word SAFE written on a wall, enter investigate mode and identify the lettering.
My only complaint is that it could just be too big. It takes a lot of time to explore the game and discover its secrets.
Catch 23 is a good looking, well produced and thoughtful game.