Contamination (PSS/ERE) Review | Computer Gamer - Everygamegoing

Computer Gamer

Amstrad CPC464

Published in Computer Gamer #17


The world is in the grip of the dreaded lurgy or to be more precise, several dreaded lurgys. As head of the World Health Organisation and an eminent biologist in your own right, you must eradicate the various viruses whilst limiting loss of life to a minimum. This will involve research and dabbling in genetic engineering, although if things really get out of hand, you may be forced to detonate a bomb which, although it is guaranteed to wipe out the virus, will also wipe out most of the surrounding population as well.

The game opens with a display showing a map of the world with a series of icons underneath. A large black cross appears on the map indicating the breakout of the first epidemic. Sit and watch the screen for too long and you will find that you are looking at nothing but black crosses. These viruses breed fast. There are five icons at the bottom of the screen. The first of these lets you bomb an area although this is likely to result in game over time if you do it too quickly. Putting a sanitary cordon around an area slows the spread of the virus but makes the inhabitants unhappy. Terre brulee (burnt earth) is a more drastic form of sanitary cordon. Analyse territory gives details of an area which is useful for knowing how a virus is likely to spread and the final icon allows you to take a sample of the virus for laboratory analysis. After selecting the icon, you can then move a cursor round the map onto the area of your interest.

One of your first tasks will be to analyse a sample and try to create an anti-virus which will destroy the original. Identifying the virus gives you its amino acid structure and lets you name the virus. I would recommend that you write down all the appropriate details of the virus at this stage. Then it's off to the electron microscope where you must create your own molecule from amino acids floating round the screen. This is done by picking up a unit and dropping it on the edge of the screen. It will move slowly round the edge and you can add other pieces to the chain.

Each virus has its own logical set of rules for creating the anti-virus depending on how the infection is transmitted e.g. in blood or through the air. You can now a treat a region with your new anti-virus although it is probably better to experiment first in order to make sure that your creation is effective. This gives you some indication of how many amino acids are wrongly positioned in your masterpiece of genetic engineering turns out to be useless. When you are satisfied, you can treat an area nowing that you can use that particular anti-virus whenever you need the original - you don't have to start all over again.

Contamination is a highly original game that will give you plenty to think about. A dose of 'flu will never be the same again.