Electron User1st April 1989
Published in Electron User 6.07
The Pericles was on her 500th tour of duty, her mission to seek out new planets and boldly go where no man has gone before. Unfortunately it wasn't the first visitor to the planet Phoebus. Fifty years before its arrival Triax, a psychotic genetic engineer, crash landed on this planet inhabited by imps and maggots...and continued his warped experiments.
You play the role of Finn, the Dirty Harry of the Columbus Force, who has been assigned to investigate the mysterious events on Phoebus. Your objectives are to overpower Triax and destroy his mutant maggot production line before they set course for Earth and wreak their revenge on mankind.
A well-written novella graphically depicts the gory demise of each member of the Pericles' crew, but provides no major clues to aid the player as he pits wits and reflexes against this, the arcade/adventure to beat them all.
Due to the size of the game, the vital save options are handled by the initial loader program which provides all of the usual facilities that you would expect from a top notch adventure.
The story begins as you enter geostationary orbit above the planet Phoebus. Behind you a green spectral figure materialises momentarily then vanishes. Minutes later you discover that your ship's Destinator has disappeared and without it your craft is useless.
Donning space suit and jet pack you prepare to jump to the surface below, if only you could unlock the ship's hatch. A brief exploration of the cabin reveals the presence of a switch which, when kicked, unlocks it.
Stepping out into the blackness you fall gently on to a cross-sectional view of the abandoned Pericles. Several useful looking items can be seen inside the ship, but every hatch is locked and there are no handy switches nearby.
Leaping from the ship to the ground you wander towards an opening. But as you approach, a hamburger-shaped device attached to the underside of the ship swivels around and bowls you over with a few well-placed blasts from its stun gun.
At this point you decide that it would probably be safer to explore the planet's surface instead. Heading in an easterly direction you catch a few tantalising glimpses of goodies beneath the ground - courtesy of the cross-sectional viewpoint.
On the surface is a small bush, home of the most irritating canary you've ever encountered. This feathered foe isn't harmful, but it follows you everywhere pushing you down holes and into the firing line of the happy hamburger.
With experience I discovered you could pass the bird undetected by flying at altitude and landing on the far side. Here, hidden in a bush, you discover your first hand grenade.
Returning to the ship you decide to take your chances against the Big Mac blaster. Running towards the pit you suffer several hits, but manage to leap into the abyss and thrust out of range, only to find your way barred by a locked door. Remembering your grenade you drop it on the door, run to one side, and lay flat on the ground - this evasive action is most important as you'll be caught by the blast if you remain standing. The beeps of the primed grenade are followed by a bang and an open gateway to the underworld.
Thanks to the in-built intelligence of your spacesuit, death is an impossible occurrence. Whenever it feels that your life-force is dangerously low it teleports you back to a previously chosen position - if you haven't remembered a position you are returned to your ship. Remembering is something that should be done every time you find a safe, alien-free, area of cave. By pressing
The caverns of Phoebus are home to a wide variety of imps, maggots, wasps, birds and an impressive selection of robots, many of which are armed with homing missiles. In addition there are natural barriers such as strong winds, water and inertia.
Exile's detailed graphics enhance the game's infuriating puzzles beautifully. Everything is drawn on a small scale, thereby emphasising the vastness of the underground complex. The animation is fast and incredibly realistic - I marvelled at the way Finn was bundled head over heels by a blast from the stun cannon.* * * Second Opinion (By Janice Murray) * * *
Exile is a massive arcade adventure in the Citadel tradition. You must map out dozens of locations, find objects, use them in the right places and solve mind-bending puzzles.
What spoils the game for me is the very jerky scrolling - at times your character leaps all over the screen. It's a pity as Exile would otherwise have won Electron User's coveted "Golden Game" award.