Honest to Cod, this plaice is getting on top of me. I've absolutely haddock with this adventuring - I think I'll skate off and show you all a clean pair of eels. After all, the world's my oyster and I could have a whale of a time.
Right! That's it! No more fish puns AT ALL. Not even a tiddler. Oops! we'll try to get this review out of the way without descending to Magnetic Scrolls' level of humour, which is painful at best, as you'll know if you've guffawed through previous epics such as The Pawn, Guild of Thieves or Corruption.
This latest adventure, like the previous efforts, is text only on the Spectrum - a pity, because, though the Scrollies try valiantly to deny it, graphics (particularly of the quality seen in the 16-bit versions of their games) do add a great deal to the atmosphere. The parser, though, is the main attraction of MS games; it's so intelligent that you'll get a sensible reply to almost anything you type in, not the usual "I can't do that".
Your main aim in life is to defeat a bunch of renegade fish known as the Seven Deadly Fins (arf), who pop up in various guises in their bid to take over the universe, or something tacky like that. They've stolen a time-warp gizmo doofy and split it into three sections, you have to get it back. All dull enough so far. The gimmick is that there are three completely separate scenarios to complete, in each of which you occupy a different body.
Swimming through the first time-space warp thingy transports you into a recording studio, where your first challenge is to make some coffee before you get the sack. The kitchen's locked, of course, so things aren't straightforward. I can't help feeling that some of this section might be based on the experiences of Fish author John Molloy, who's best-known as half of the computer-rock band Mainframe (RIP).
Assuming that you don't make the mistake of entering the studio in the middle of a recording session (instant dissolution), you proceed to the next adventure, which is set in the steaming Amazonian jungles, and the third which sees you in the back of a van in the middle of a disastrous rock group tour.
Like previous MS adventures, the screen layout of Fish is dead straightforward; at the top of the screen is shown the current location, score and number of moves made; the rest of the screen is full of text. Your text input can be edited in various clever ways (delete letter, word, or line, return to previous line and so on) and you can even change the text colours.
The gimmicks included with the package aren't quite up to the usual standards; a Hydropolis Underground Omnibus Travelcard, a Fish Recognition poster, and a manual/novella/hints book. As usual the hints are in coded form; type in the codes to get help on specific points.
If you like the cringemaking MS sense of humour, you'll probably enjoy Fish; but it seems to me that the plot doesn't hang together as well as previous offerings. Worth £16? You'd be shark raving made. (Fyak!)
Label: Rainbird Author: Magnetic Scrolls Price: £15.99 Memory: 128K disk only Joystick: various Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
Latest Magnetic Scrolls adventure looks a bit green around the gills.