Merchant Of Venus (Crystal Computing) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

Merchant Of Venus
By Crystal
Sinclair ZX81

Published in ZX Computing #15

Merchant Of Venus

This 'adventure with graphics' program was first on sale in 1982, and has recently been re-released 'due to popular demand' as Crystal put it.

Merchant Of Venus is certainly an absorbing game. It combines real-time graphics simulation in which you control a leviathan space freighter (whassat?), with the challenge of building a strong economy on Venus.

The program auto-runs upon loading, and your first task is to select the class of freighter you desire. They vary in price, and of course, quality. A cheap ship will possess only limited cargo-carrying capacity, and could cost you a small fortune in repairs!

Once a freighter has been selected, trading can commence. As you gain experience as a merchant, you discover how prices for the various commodities - Plasteel, Technetium, Mylar, etc - vary between differing regions of the planet. It is a matter of judgement to buy and sell at the mst advantageous prices.

Take off is not always uneventful. Insufficient thrust will result in the freighter falling back to the planet. The screen displays the readout from the on-board computer, relaying information such as the vertical and horizontal velocities, and the state of the reactor core and fuel.

Once airborne and cruising, you are warned by the computer of any approaching landing base. As you descend the display changes and shows information from the ground tracking radar.

Piloting the freighter to a safe landing is not an easy task. If you are successful, a landing report details your touchdown velocity and the amount of damage sustained on landing. Trading can then continue.

Merchant Of Venus is a complex and absorbing game, and fun to play. However, it requires most of the 16K RAM pack and, as a consequence, the load time of the game is quite considerable.

Crystal Computing are at 2, Ashton Way, East Herrington, Sunderland SR3 3RX.

Nick Pearce

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