Sinclair User

Dead At The Controls
By Artic Computing
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Sinclair User #41

Dead at The Controls

Artic's adventures have tended to follow a style which is straightforward and without frills. Apart from the addition of graphics, the last adventure Eye of Bain was very much in the same vein and none the worse for it.

When I received a pre-production version of Dead at the Controls, I expected to find a tight but competent text game with added graphics. After an hour or so of play I found myself pretty disappointed.

You are the captain of a spaceship which explodes over a strange new planet. Heroically leaving the crew to their fate you parachute to earth to discover some means of escape.

Wandering through the jungle, you find a teleport device in an Aztec city - hang on, what's this about Aztecs, aren't we supposed to be on a strange new world? Oh well... The teleporter will take you to several unrelated locations where you should be able to collect the various bits of a spacesuit. That's about it.

Despite fast, attractive graphics - some repeated several times for different locations - the game lacks atmosphere. Anything which is not directly relevant to the solution has no real existence - examining things like rock cairns inevitably results in the response, 'You don't see much'. The world offers no opportunity for diversion and ends up as a bleak, unstimulating environment. The descriptions are minimal.

If the review version of Dead at the Controls resembles the final production copies then, sadly, the game is nowhere near Artic's usual standard.

Richard Price

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