Personal Compuer Games1st January 1985
Published in Personal Computer Games #14
This is another game which boasts about its size. Forty screens above ground and 290 3D screens below, plus 100 shops and factories to explore... phew!!
The aim of the game is to escape from an erupting volcano before all the roads are blocked and the town destroyed. The hero of this scenario is you - a little pair of shoes.
The program is really two games in one. The main part is played with a bird's-eye view of a map-like maze (a medieval city). All the time the maze's roads are being blocked by boulders which appears randomly.The only way to remove these is by collecting dynamite which is to be found in some shops and exploding it. Other things which may aid your escape can also be found in these shops.
One thing you must never do is run out of food and there isn't much of it about so it needs to be conserved. To escape, a boat must be found and here the game ends.
The second part of the game comes into being if a map is found in one of the clearings. By picking this up you are thrown into the underground caverns below the city: 3D corridors.
Escape from this labyrinth is extremely difficult. Three matches are given which when used give a momentary glance at a map which only shows the start and the exit but it's almost impossible to work out a route. This can make the game extremely frustrating.
The graphics in Volcano are average above ground and rather good in the 3D perspective corridors below. The claims of '290 3D screens' are a little exaggerated since most of them are different views of the same place.
However, the game is a bit thin on playability and not particularly addictive, despite the hype. In fact Volcano is 'lava' boring!!
If Pompeii was like this, I think most of its occupants would have slept through the whole thing. It's a terrific idea for a game, but the mediocre graphics and playability have crushed the life out of it.
All I did was waddle about the place as my clod-footed alter ego, losing energy at an alarming rate. I also found the blobs of lava appeared too fast to let me get very far. Petrifyingly tedious.
My excitement at this game soon ebbed. Volcano is slow, amateurish and boring. The graphics are simple, the sound is tedious and unimpressive and I doubt that many people could play for more than ten minutes without wanting to kill the programmer.
No, I didn't "erupt" with pleasure playing this one. Watching the pair of feet scurrying around the maze is initially amusing, but quickly palls.
Graphics were very dull - so dull that even the large number of locations couldn't compensate for them. It was a relief when the lava, like a spill of red ink, put an end to it.