First shown at the December ZX Microfair, Krakatoa grabbed the attention of most passers-by because its wealth of detail is amazing. There's such a lot going on. And there's a lot to do in the game, most of it neatly shown in the excellent demo, which runs automatically after loading and between games.
Your task as a chopper pilot is twofold. A tanker is sheltering in the bay from attacks by V1 missiles and submarines armed with torpedoes. Across the bay the dormant volcano (hence the title) has come to life and is threatening to erupt. You must try to rescue as many people from its threat as possible. Your helicopter is equipped with a machine gun, depth charges and a rope for rescuing people. The game starts with the chopper on the ground on the heli pad, beside the workman's hut. When your fuel gets low and you return to the heli pad to refuel and re-arm, the workman dashes out and does it all in a very busy animated sequence. On taking off, you pass out over the bay and reach the massive tanker. It's crew start to leap overboard as soon as the enemy do them damage, and so pose another problem for you and your trusty rope!
Beyond the tanker is open sea, full of enemy, and the Volcanic Island with its hapless inhabitants. The screen shows all this in profile, scrolling as it goes, 'Scramble' style. To the left and right of the display area are ammo and fuel bars, and below are instruments including a radar display, and score.
Control keys: 5 = up, 3 = down, 7 = forward, bottom row = reverse, 9 = fire, zero = drop depth charge, W = rope down, R = rope up, ENTER = pause
Keyboard play: undeniably a handful, but very responsive
Colour: very good
Graphics: excellent, very animated
Skill levels: 1 - it's enough
Lives: 1 - it's enough
'This has to be one of the busiest games in a long while! There are such a lot of keys to use that it takes a lot of practice before you can even become slightly proficient. The graphics are really excellent, well drawn and animated, and there's also a lot of detail in the game ideas too. If you accidentally drop a depth charge on the tanker there's a very good explosion with chunks flying off, and a second later a crew man appears and takes a leap off the stern and begins swimming around. If you successfully pick him up on the end of the lowered rope, it is very tricky to get him into the chopper as he must be on the very end of the rope otherwise he gets knocked off as the rope is pulled aboard, and falls back into the sea! This is a complicated and demanding game, which I can't see losing its appeal for a long time.'
'Krakatoa is both addictive and hard to play. But I thought the keys were poorly laid out and there is no joystick option. This makes it even more difficult to play. And it's a shame that there isn't much in the way of instructions, because there are quite a few instruments which are not explained. But these are small niggles because the game itself is marvellous. Excellent graphics (fantastic explosion when you are hit), very colourful and with plenty of sound. Watch out for volcanic explosions!'
'It's only in some small details that Krakatoa is less good. Why, for instance, didn't they print the 10 control keys on the cassette inlay? During the attract mode, the keys are listed for a very short time and there are too many to get written down that quickly, and too many to remember. The control keys are difficult to manage and laid out in a rather odd way. Once over these problems the game proves to be very good to play, with loads of detail, great graphics and sound and a lot of imagination. It should keep players going for a long time, if only because it takes ages to become any good, and the scope for getting better scores each time you play is enormous with so many people to rescue.'
|Use of Computer||70%|
|Value For Money||90%|
Producer:Abbex, 48K £5.95 (2)
Author: Paul Reynolds
One of our Games of the Month last issue, and deservedly so. This lively game boasts tons of well graphics with animation and humour thrown in. Your task as a chopper pilot is twofold, one to prevent enemy subs and V1 bombers from destroying the oil tanker anchored in the bay; and two, rescue people from the imminent eruption of the volcano on an island across the bay. When the tanker is hit its crew start to fling themselves overboard and also have to be rescued by lowering a rope. It's all very tricky, helped by a very good radar scanner and a forward firing gun on the chopper. When the fuel runs out, it's back to the helipad where a busy workman comes out and does the job (marvellous). A handful of keys is needed, not well explained, and the game is challenging, original and well worth the money. No joystick option. Generally rated as very good, highly recommended. Overall CRASH rating 83% m/c.
DO NOT let the title of Krakatoa from Abbex mislead you into assuming that the volcano will play a large part in the game, which is essentially a chopper attack/rescue format.
As the pilot of a well-armed helicopter in the Java Seas, you will have to overcome a number of obstacles to bring the hapless civilians of Volcanic Island to safety at your base.
Your prime task is to protect a supertanker from the multiple waves of V1 flying bombs which threaten the ship. Submarines also attack from beneath the waves, leaving floating sailors to be rescued.
In the brief interludes between each assault you may also find time to over-fly the spewing magma of the volcano and attempt to rescue the villagers by winching them up. The chopper will need rearming and fuelling at various times and you lose precious time in that way as the tanker is undefended in the interim.
Abbex has produced a slick and compulsive arcade game with clear, steady graphics and a fast-moving and difficult scenario. In addition, the lower screen contains long-range radar and other status indicators. Movement of the chopper is by keyboard only, which is perhaps the only major flaw in the program, apart from the brief screen display explaining the movement keys.
There are no printed instructions on the insert. Nevertheless, it is a quality game for the 48K Spectrum, highly addictive and entertaining. You will face many problems in deciding priorities and your flying ability will be pushed to the limit.
THE FALKLANDS FACTOR
Shades of the Falklands infamous bomb alley must have been in the programmers' minds recently as a flurry of air-sea battles are bombarding the software shelves.
Hopping aboard HMS Spectrum are Krakatoa from Abbex and Richard Wilcox's Blue Thunder which we played against each other in an explosive head to head.
Both games feature choppers performing a dual mission of defence and rescue over the briny.
The Blue Thunder chopper has the most realistic flight graphics - banking and dipping its nose as it moves forward.
The aim of the game is to blast your way into a nuclear reactor which pops up out of the sea like an electronic sea serpent.
Getting in is relatively easy, but blowing up the radioactive core takes much more skill. Once the possibility of a nuclear blast has been eliminated, you can rescue your comrades held on an adjacent island.
Blue Thunder is only average entertainment. The chopper movement is either too slow or too fast and some of the ground installations showering you with fire cannot be shot.
Far better value for money is Abbex's Krakatoa. This game has so many clever little graphic frills that it is difficult to mention them all.
The basic idea is to protect a tanker being bombarded enemy ships in the bay. A radar scanner enables you see the bandits and sneaking submarines. You'll really need to start bashing your keyboard in an attempt to down those enemy planes and subs.
When the tanker sustains a hit, the crew are thrown into the water and it is your job to let down a rope and winch them up to the safety of the chopper.
This is one of those games where you need about thirty six fingers but, despite this, it's hellishly addictive. The more I played it, the more features I discovered.
Krakatoa from Abbex really silences Wilcox's Blue Thunder and is in the shops now at £5.95.
MACHINE: Spectrum 48K
This game could have been right up at the top of the charts if it wasn't for the poor choice of control keys. You patrol a stretch of seascape in your helicopter, armed with a machine-gun and depth charges. Below you a tanker is under attack from submarines and aircraft.
The scenery scrolls beneath you as you fly, and you can see what's coming up by keeping an eye on the long-range radar panel. To the east is your landing pad, and to the west lies a volcanic island with a few huts. The ocean lies in between.
The enemy come in from the west and, if they weren't enough to deal with, you must also try to rescue the people from the huts when they are threatened by the erupting volcano. You should also try to rescue seamen escaping from the tanker, if you've been careless enough to let it get hit.
Some of the status reports at the bottom of the screen are a bit obscure, and aren't explained, but the display is excellent ind the sound about as good as one expects from the Spectrum.
So what about the control keys? You move down, up, and forward using the '3', '5', and '7' keys respectively, which isn't exactly brilliant design. Then you must use the '9' and the '0' keys to fire and drop depth-charges, the 'W' and 'R' keys to lower and raise the rope for the survivors, and any key on the bottom row to reverse. All rather too much of a fiddle for a game that needs some very careful manoeuvring.
But if you don't mind twisted fingers, then Krakatoa has a lot to offer.
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