Sir Francis Drake (LCL) Review | Electron User - Everygamegoing

Electron User


Sir Francis Drake
By LCL
BBC/Electron

 
Published in Electron User 2.06

This is a graphic adventure game simulating the voyages of Sir Francis Drake in the Pacific Ocean. Having taken the cassette from its attractive library case, the first thing I noticed was that the program was almost impossible to load.

LCL have put the program on both sides of the cassette, but both proved difficult and required adjustments to tone and volume of my tape recorder for almost every block.

I took the only way out, struggled to load the program once and resaved it onto my own cassette. It took over an hour to achieve.

The loading program presents a title sheet and sound that's meant to be the sea, and then draws a map of the Pacific Ocean. The second loads and then takes about thirty seconds to initialise.

Your boat starts at Lima and you must follow Drake's route via New Albion - California - across the Pacific to Java. On the way you commit acts of piracy so that you may bring riches back to your queen. The boat is steered using the cursor keys and you have a permanent status record of cargo, supplies, crew number, cannon balls and damage.

As you sail you will encounter hazards such as rocks and reefs and may need to put into an unknown port for repair. The sea bed awaits anyone whose damage reaches 10.

If you see a Spanish ship, you may attack or ignore. If the ship has a name, attack it. You always win. If it does not, winning or losing is random.

Incidentally, a ship you beat has more cargo to steal. If you move away and come back, you can quickly gain your required cargo. Winning is quite difficult and needs careful mapping and it is in this that the program has its value. A keen child would need to keep a chart - sample included with the program - and would thus practice record keeping, co-ordinates and map work.

A big snag is that if the player loses, the whole program has to be reloaded.

It is not very well written in many ways and rather easy to cheat the system. Documentation is poor, keywords that are needed are not given but nonetheless at its lowish price - about six pounds - it could be considered for primary schools.

Rog Frost

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