Convoy Raider (Gremlin) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

Convoy Raider
By Gremlin
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #47

Convoy Raider

Oh dear. Something's gone badly wrong here. How could they do it. Gremlin, software house of repute (est. 1886) and producers of all that is pretty good if you want my opinion, have come up with a real duffer here.

Here's the hype - 'The free world is in peril, war has been declared and the enemy is closing in. Your weakest point is the coastline so a strategic defence initiative has been adopted. Your mission is to patrol and defend the inner sea using all the modern weapons systems with which you have been supplied."

Interesting how phrases like 'the free world' and 'strategic defence initiative' creep into this nonsense. I've got an idea for a new game called The President's Speech is Missing. Big Ron is about to make an important TV speech from the Whitehouse, but minutes before he is due to go on air a rogue shredder from the State Department makes raffle tickets of Ron's speech which blow across the Whitehouse lawn in the gentle breeze. Waiting in the bushes are the men and women of the British Software Industry, their tired imaginations desperate for a new idea to put them top of the software charts.

Convoy Raider

Interestingly enough, Convoy Raider has nothing whatsoever to do with Star Wars. You are in control of a ship which has three radars - one for other ships, one for aeroplanes and one for submarines.

When a blip appears on the aircraft radar you switch screens. A big gun moves from left to right and you shoot at some matchstick aeroplanes.

When a blip appears on the submarine radar you switch screens, this time a little helicopter moves back and forth across the screen and when you fire it drops little depth charges on a little submarine that goes back and forth beneath the sea.

It's getting exciting, are you sure you can handle it? Ships are more complicated. On this screen you get a real video picture of the view from the missile's nose once it's been fired. You must try to keep it on course, between two crosshairs. When you get to the approximate location of the target you must select which you think is the real ship from a number of black dots on the horizon and fire.

But wait, there's more! Yes, another two screens of fun packed excitement and adventure. I almost forgot to tell you about the map screen. This screen shows, in precise detail, the surrounding coastline, your ship (white dot) and the enemy ships (some black dots). As if that wasn't enough, the status screen gives an up-to-the-minute picture of the condition of the ship and all its weapons systems. This is achieved by the unique Graphically Displayed Percentage Proportional Damage Reporting System. The working of this system is very complex, but its function can be described simply. A big picture of a boat appears on the screen. The damaged bits are coloured red. If, for example, half the boat is damaged, half the boat is red. If all the boat is damaged, all the boat is red and the game is over.

I really can't understand how companies like Gremlin which churn out one good game after another can do something like this without being embarrassed by it. I can't believe they actually think it's good themselves. It would make me laugh if it weren't for the fact that some poor soul (quite a few probably) is going to part with a lot of cash for it. The sad truth is that overall this is a really poor effort and to charge people ten quid for it is criminal.

Ken McMahon

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