But there are some places even the SAS would fear to tread. The murky depths of the Atlantic are home for many a deadly shark, and also the setting for Titanic (45%) from Kixx. To reach the famous shipwreck, your diver must negotiate a network of underwater caves infested with a variety of vicious sea creatures. Annoyingly, running out of oxygen sends the diver right back to the start, although I can't understand how he'd survive anyway - the water pressure at such depths would be enough to squash him flat! Nevertheless, survive he does to witness primitive graphics and gameplay inferior to Durell's ancient Scuba Dive. Cartographers will no doubt enjoy exploring and mapping the large cave system, but I found the whole exercise rather dull.
Having waxed lyrical about Spanish software previously, I was bound to come a cropper later, so let's get it over with. Titanic is another Kixx original, also programmed by paella fans Toposoft, but unfortunately it's not a patch on Colosseum.
Here we're under the briny, scuba-ing around in search of sunken treasure and trying to avoid the harmless looking fishes which, needless to say, are deadly to the touch. There are also even more harmful sea creatures swimming around, all of which fancy you for their dinner, but you're trying to work your way through a maze of rocks and things to find the aforementioned Titanic, wot sunk eight billion years ago or thereabouts. You have only a limited supply of harpoons, so you basically have the choice of shooting things or getting the %&$£ out of the way, - and you soon learn which beasties can be avoided and which can't.
There's only one way through the maze which you have to work out through trial and error, and when you've completed part one there's part two to work through as well. Yes, it's a Spanish game alright. The control system is quite bizarre - when you go up, even by a pixel, your diver flips 90', which, as he isn't the smallest sprite in the world, makes him irritatingly vulnerable to those fishies. And there's just not enough variation in the actual maze - both in terms of challenge or graphical appearance - to keep your interest up. Not totally without merit, but woefully short on substance.
'Experience that sinking feeling' says the press release. Somehow I get the feeling that this simple message is a bit of a double entendre in so far as (a) that sinking feeling has something to do with you going to the bottom of the sea in search of the Titanic, or (b) me sinking back in my comfy reviewer's chair saying 'Oh no! Why me?' almost instantly after loading.
The Titanic, sank during its maiden voyage, has been discovered. That's old news.
The wreckage can only be explored by remote control drone, slowing down exploration to a snail's pace.
Tell me somthing new. There's a great secret down there waiting to be unlocked. Vaguely interesting. A one Professor R.
M Kendrick (a.k.a. Professor Urine (s'true)) has managed to design a diving suit that enables a single peron to survive the depths. Uh oh, I'm losing interest again. You have been chosen to go down and find out whatever is to be found out.
(Sudden jolt of interest). What? To unravel the secrets of the great grey metallic hulk that lies frozen some miles below the icy waters of the Northern Atlantic (is this interesting enough for you, Al?) you first have to get to it by finding your way through a long and tortuous maze of caverns and bits of coral, avoiding things like fish and vicious plants. Once you've reached your destination, you are given a five letter password for the next level. Cute, huh?
The next level has you inside the Titanic itself looking for the mystical safe, where The Secret' is kept. As a game.
Titanic is a side on, eight way scrolling aquaphibic shoot-'emup with a little bit of arcade adventure thrown in. The only real problem is that it isn't very good, for a couple of reasons.
The graphics are appalling.
The sprites are small, poorly defined and badly animated.
The backdrops on the second level are all right, but everything does look a bit samey. The real problem with level two is that the Titanic walls are quite detailed. These, coupled with the mega-jerky scrolling, makes certain items, like sharks a bit difficult to spot.
This makes the game just a little on the unplayable side The controls are sluggish and unresponsive and the firing rate is incredibly slow. One more factor added to the unplayability level is the way the screen only scrolls when your on-screen character reaches the side of the playing area. Scratch another few points.
So. what are we left with? A nice idea, based on a fairly current theme. Plays badly, doesn't look too good either The only real bonus is that it's budget. Even so, looking at a lot of budget stuff around at the moment, being budget isn't an acceptable excuse for being sub-standard. Titanic just isn't any good. By any standards.
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
Kixx, Spectrum, Amstrad, £1.99
The pride of the Blue Star line now lies in kit form, one mile below the surface of the Arctic ocean. Remote droids have pinpointed the great ship, but its secrets have remained a mystery: until now.
A new pressure-resistant diving suit has been developed which allows some brave person to actually swim down to the wreck: and this is where the player comes in. Armed with a harpoon gun and a limited number of harpoons, a suitably-attired diver must be guided through a labyrinthine cave system which is inhabited by all manner of dangerous aquatic beasties. Any contact with fish, squid, anemones etc causes the diver to lose oxygen from his tank, which can be replenished by picking up extra tanks. However, meeting a shark at close quarters is instantly fatal; death sees the mission restart from the cave entrance.
Having escaped the caves a password is provided to allow access to the second level, which begins inside the wreck of the Titanic. The diver's aim is to locate switches to open doors, find some explosives and blow a safe full of valuables, while avoiding a similar group of hostiles from the previous level.
Control of the diver is a little haphazard, and the game is of the simple search 'n' destroy type. Once mapped out, it shouldn't take too long to finish, but having said this, Titanic does provide a reasonable challenge along the way.
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