REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

Captain Slog
by David Walton
Alpha-Omega Software
1986
Crash Issue 33, October 1986   (1986-09-25)   page(s) 23,24

Blueprints and Captains seem to be the theme this month: there' s Captain Burt and now Captain Slog similar jobs too. Slog supervises the construction of spacecraft on his assembly line deep in space. It's the same thing week in week out. No wonder he's a bit bored. However, the solution to his tedium is not quite what he expected suddenly, the robot controlled space ship seems to take on a life of its own. The robots throw down their tools and decide that enough is enough and they're going to rebel against their human oppressors. In the midst of this chaos is Captain Slog. And he's not happy at all. But before he can get away and abandon his space craft, he has to find nine blueprints which will enable him to fix the transporter. This is not an easy task, however, because the robots are out to get him. Although they can't shoot at our hero, they gradually sap away his vital life energy.

Apart from the irritating and potentially lethal robots who roam around, the complex itself seems to have taken on a sinister personality of its own. Barriers of varying colours stop Slog from getting into different locations where the all important blueprints may be hidden. These barriers can be removed, however, by collecting the barrier key in the relevant colour. Other useful objects can be gathered along the way extra energy may be picked up in the form of miniature spacemen. Bonus points can also be collected, but beware! Some artefacts sap the Captain's energy when they are in his pockets.

The troublesome robots can be exterminated by a quick blast of laser fire and points are scored for every robotic nuisance who is sent to that great scrapyard in the sky. However, once a screen has been cleared of robots and is re-visited, hey-presto, the nasties have been reincarnated!

Captain Slog moves around the multi-roomed star ship by way of his jet pack which transports him nicely upwards and downwards and hopefully out of the way of the patrolling robots. With the aid of a map you can find your way around the ship but the brave Captain can only consult it when the map icon is lit up at the top of the screen.

Once a game is finished, a score screen shows just what percentage of the game you have completed based on the number of blueprints that have been collected. The chart also shows how many of the meddlesome robots have been killed off. There is a time limit to the game and obviously the quicker it's completed the higher your score is.

COMMENTS
Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: slow
Use of colour: drab
Graphics: small and undetailed
Sound: above average
Skill levels: one
Screens: over 100


'I didn't expect much from Captain Slog. I didn't get much either. The game is awful. The characters move about like idiots, and the whole game plays like a five year old's first attempt at BASIC programming. The Captain has been swiped from Project Future, and though the game has some nice ideas, the finished product is something that isn't even worth a half of the cash asked for it. Captain Slog is the sort of game that really gets up my nose.'

'Captain Slog resembles a game that was around a year or two ago called Project Future Unfortunately, this one is not half as good or half as playable. It plays quite slowly so it isn't very exciting or compelling. Graphically, things aren't much fun either; the backgrounds are drab and the characters undetailed. The sound, on the other hand is very good; there are a couple of tunes on the title screen and a selection of spot effects during the game. Generally, this one will probably keep you interested for a wet afternoon or so and for the price you can't really complain'.

'Grrr! They were good when they first came out but can't the budget software companies take the phrase 'arcade/ adventure' out of their programming vocabulary. Most of these budget games are the same, all consisting of small, useless graphics. The collision detection on a range from 1 to 100 would get O. The sound is of the basic beepy type and none of this helps in a game that cannot be played progressively - you either solve it in the first session of play or you find it so impossible that it goes into some dark dingy cupboard and you never see it again. Harsh words, you may think. But it s time the software companies grew up to the fact that the software scene is changing. Nearly every arcade/adventure budget game is the same. Captain Slog is all of the above and less. I just feel sorry for the people that don't read CRASH. They are the people that buy these awful games and encourage the budget software companies to publish more. End of complaint!'

Use of Computer48%
Graphics24%
Playability32%
Getting Started49%
Addictive Qualities29%
Value for Money34%
Overall30%
Summary: General Rating: Simply awful.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 10, October 1986   page(s) 22

Looking something like an early blueprint for Atic Atac, Captain Slog makes an uncertain sort of arrival from CRL's new budget arm. Perhaps amputation might help?

You play, funnily enough, Captain Slog who, according to the brief instructions, has a funny feeling in his nutrition pouch. Whether Captain Slog's personal problems have any great relevance to the game, I couldn't discern. But he was walking a little oddly. Meanwhile, back at the playpen, your only means of escape from certain death, blah, blah, is to collect nine blueprints to what I think is a spacecraft, though this wasn't particularly clear in the instructions either. Also standing between you and a trip to McDonald's when you get home are three colour coded gates to which you must find the key, plus a number of robot nasties who drain your energy levels on impact.

For a £1.99 game, Captain Slog is technically very good. Nice clear graphics, excellent animation and two years ago it would've probably become another Jet Set Willy. Unfortunately for AlphaOmega the gameplay is now very old hat and leaves this reviewer with an attention span of approximately 2 1/2 minutes. On the other hand, for new Speccy owners, Captain Slog is a perfect way of making up for what you've missed while the Spectrum's been alive...


Graphics8/10
Playability5/10
Value For Money9/10
Addictiveness4/10
Overall7/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 56, November 1986   page(s) 76

Captain Slog's captain's log. Star Date: 11.09.9816. These are the voyages of the starship Spectrum.

It's an interminable mission, to find the nine blueprints of the planetary base you're trapped in and break into the teleport room where you can escape back to your ship.

The base is a flat maze, split into sections by impenetrable laser shields and patrolled by robots. The blueprints are locked in safe rooms within the maze and if you want to find your way out you'll have to find the red, green and blue security keys which switch off the shields. The good news is the shields don't kill on contact - but they do sap you're energy. Lose your energy and you'll end up on the metagalactic scrap heap.

The robots you meet aren't very intelligent - I guess that's why they're guards, not spacemen - but every screen contains at least three or four so it's not difficult to bump into one of them.

Once you've deactivated all the obstacles between you and a piece of blueprint you pick it up. Get all nine pieces, find the transporter room - which you'll probably have spotted before - and you've finished.

Captain Slog is an archiac excuse for a budget game. It's probably been sitting on the shelf at CRL for five years - or at least since ZX81s were rolling off production lines.

Things are getting tough in the budget bins and Captain Slog's addictive value is a round zero. Don't expect any entertainment from it or you'll be disappointed.

Label: CRL/Alpha-Omega
Price: £1.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K
Reviewer: John Gilbert

*


Overall1/5
Summary: Witty title, shame about the game. Not a good start for CRL's budget label - it's low on invention, style and entertainment

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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