Your Sinclair1st December 1989
Published in Your Sinclair #48
Purple Saturn Day
Now, the way I see it is that there are two different types of people - 'normal people' and 'really, really, really WEIRD people'. Due to some quirk in plate tectonics, over the last few hundred million years (during the shifting of the continents), there is a certain country which has ended up with more tan its fair share of the latter category (the 'really, really, really WEIRD people'). Do you want to know which country I'm talking about? No? Oh well, I'll just give you a clue then - it's FRANCE. (That wasn't much of a clue. Ed)
Remember Captain Blood? That was pretty odd, wasn't it? What do you mean, "No"? It was odd - really odd. And this game, the follow-up to Captain Blood, is even odder. Blimey, that's wquiye a large chunk of weirdness, so I suppose you want to know something about it. The trouble is that this 'weirdness' is slightly infectious, so I'd better get cracking before it starts to devour me - here goes. (Wibble.)
There is one 'special' day of the year for the inhabitants of Saturn. It's quite a strange day - even by French standards. The day is known as Purple Saturn Day, for the simple reason that on that particular day the planet turns GREEN. (Purple actually. Ed) On this day, folk from all around the Solar System (and beyond) gather to indulge in some 'sports'. And that's what this game is all about. There are four sports in all, and different competitors to choose from (all of whom have differing skills). Yes, it's Galactic Games time, so let's have a look at the different competitions...
The Ring Pursuit
This takes place around Saturn. And basically it's a cross between a slalom race and an avoid-'em-up. You, keeping the left hand side of your space-ship pointing twoards Saturnm have to circumnavigate the planet while doing two things - a) weaving in and out of 'market buoys' and b) avoiding the myriad asteroids and bits of space junk that come hurtling at you (you're in the 'rings' of the planet you see). There are two speeds you can travel at - stationary, and very, very (very) fast. The idea is to stay ahead of your opponent (obviously), but if he does get in front of you you can always dip your ship out of the asteroid belt, catch him up in safety, and then zip back into the action again - mind you, you don't score any 'much needed' points when doing this.
The Tronic Slider Test
You and your opponent are on a football pitch type, erm, pitch. (Well, it's flat, anyway.) Both of you are in pursuit of an 'energy ball', and, as the ships are on anti-gravity tracks, you can both perform 180' turns with ease. Which is lucky. Because you need to. The idea is to get the ball, shoot it with your laser, and then collect the pieces it leaves behind (by 'driving' over them). This is a goal. As the game progresses, obstacles appear on the pitch which, as you can imagine, make things a tad more difficult.
The Brain Bowler
This is the 'strategy' game of the quartet, and blinking tricky it is too. You control an electroball (as does your opponent). Both competitors are standing on a 'computer brain' (him on one side, you on the other). You have to fire your electroball at various components in the 'brain' in order to toggle things 'on' or 'off'. The idea is to charge up six chips on your side of the bonce, but the trouble is that you can have toggle things beautifully and be nearly within 'striking distance' of a win when your opponent toggles something on his side an undoes all your good work. You've got to be a quick thinker for this one.
The Time Jump
Blimey, this is a weird one. (They all are. Ed) It seems a bit useless, as well - the aim is to jump as far as possible into the future. The way you do this is to aim a crosshair over sparks which traverse the screen. This you must do three times, which will fuel a gravity-catapult which'll fire you through time and space. (You see stars and stuff coming towards you.) Erm, and that's it. Or that seems to be it, anyway. I think you're meant to be 'rewarded' with a picture of a 'chick' or something, but I never saw one.
And there you have it. Very bizarre. Apparently, if you do really well in all the games, you get to mengage in an on-screen snogging session with one of the more desirable of the female population of Saturn. Coooor! I found, however, that I'd probably never reach this stage - mainly because I didn't find Purple Saturn Day playable or addictive enough to continue with for any length of time. The Brain Bowler is probably the best game here - but I'm useless at IQ type games, as I'm thicker than a Californian Redwood. No snogging sessions with a sultry Saturnian sextress for me then. (Mind you, you do get to see her engaging in tongue sarnies with the other participants) Oh dear, the weirdness of the game is suddenly starting to affect me. Blik blik blik blooo. Hello, Auntie Herbert, may I have my balls back please, isn't it? Ping! Wikky wikky woo! Yink yink yink yink yink yink (That's enough 'yinks', Ed).
A well weird compilation of games which leaves a similar 'taste in the mouth' as Captain Blood. If you loved that one, you'll quite like this.