Stranded (Cronosoft) Review | RGCD - Everygamegoing


By Cronosoft
Spectrum 48K

Published in RGCD #2

OK, OK, so it's not new - but as Cronosoft were kind enough to send us a bunch of full games to review it's only fair that we cover some of their early releases. Developers take note...


Stranded is another member of Cronosoft's Spectrum family. Although released in 2005, Bob Smith's game was originally written in 1989 and is best summed up as a marble-maze-puzzle-em-upâ¢. I coined that term to help out the nice people who decide to give the game a go, because when I loaded the 4 level demo version I was immediately confused. The loading screen, whilst pretty gave nothing away. The menu screen, whilst reminiscent of the disco scenes from Saturday Night Fever, gave no clue. Even the scrolling instructions at the bottom of the screen, which may actually explain things quite well, are written in such a ridiculously indecipherable font that they didn't help. The only bit of information that I gleaned from the intro screen is that our hero is called Moose (er, it's actually Moosh â JM) and he is out to save the world, so I was kind of going into the game blind.

The first of the demo levels appears to show some very colourful blocks lined up in a spiral and a little ball character with big bug-eyes. So off we go, moving the Moose along the blocks. Each block he steps off disappears, so we can assume that you need to strategise your path, as there is no way back. Sounds fine except for the fact that on this level there is only one way you can go, which means that there is no challenge, which in turn means that the 4 level demo has already lost 25% of its appeal.

So on to level 2. On this level there are a number of white blocks that are subtly shaped differently to the coloured blocks. Experimenting shows that the white squares do not disappear after standing on them and the slightly pointed blocks move you automatically onto the block they are pointing at. Now we are getting somewhere.

Level 2 takes considerably more thought than level 1 (but then so does breathing), but it won't take long to figure it out. Then we are onto level 3 where the difficulty is moved up another notch. This level adds moving blocks and the game is now starting to show its quality. You now really have to strategise your moves and I found myself losing a number of lives through choosing the wrong path. Unfortunately for the demo, once you learn the path for a level it is no longer any fun being forced to go through it again every time you start a new game. Luckily though the full game contains a password system to help you get through the 32 challenging levels.

A lack of music is always a bug bear of mine, especially as most people play these games on an emulator, so a 128k version would not be a problem (5% deducted from the final score again - JM). But overall the game is nice little puzzler that is well worth the £1.75 download cost.