Amstrad Action1st December 1988
Published in Amstrad Action #39
Magnetic Scrolls has just come out with Fish, their first product since the intriguing, but mildly disappointing, Corruption. The CPC version isn't ready yet, but I exerted my enormous influence and a little grey magic to get my hands on an early Atari ST sample and reports on the gameplay we CPC owners can expect in a few weeks time...
Although superficially original, the idea behind Fish is perfectly traditional. You start off in one place, visit a whole load of others, and attempt to find a stolen artifact and foil the plans of the bad guys. The fact that you start in a goldfish bowl, travel about by warping in and out of different bodies, and do battle with the Seven Deadly Fins is just by the way...
Or is it? The first thing about Fish is that, unlike Jinxter (in my opinion), the madcap ideas of Magnetic Scrolls actually do a bit more than disguise a traditional adventure structure - they also make it a lot more enjoyable. The game is essentially a series of mini-scenarios, but each one is accessed in a different body and with a different identity.
Thus within a few minutes of starting the game you've been a fish, a human being, and the occupant of worlds ranging from recording studios to Lurking Horror-type gothic locations. Variety is definitely the spice of life in Fish and the game is all the better for it. Of course, this tactic has been used before - the most notable example is Lords Of Time from Level 9, where you access each mini-game through a grandfather clock of mystical dimensions.
Fish comes with a lot of background material on 'warping' - the method by which members of the inter-dimensional security forces carry out their work. The blurb is good fun to read and rather more inspired than the Guardian nonsense that came with Jinxter. It's also, in true Magnetic Scrolls style, very relevant to the gameplay.
We'll have to wait for the CPC version to give a you a definitive review of this product. However, the puzzles I encountered were pleasing both in their variety and logical structure. One of the problems I have occasionally with Magnetic Scrolls products is that the humour in the text is forced into silliness, but in Fish - although it pushes its luck occasionally - this isn't the case. I didn't burst out laughing at any point, but then I didn't squirm in my seat with embarrassment.
Fish looks very promising. Let's hope they get the Amstrad version out a little quicker this time...