Amstrad Action1st August 1986
Published in Amstrad Action #11
This latest French import is about as low as you can get - 500 fathoms beneath the Pacific ocean to be precise. It takes place entirely under the waves in a twilight world where many hazards and surprises await. Your quest is to find the lost treasure of Atlantis in a massive undersea exploration.
You start at the surface of the ocean where your character stands waiting in a diving bell, He's clad in a diving suit and one of those large glass and metal helmets seen in many a Hollywood movie. He also totes a gun with a limited supply of ammo to use on the resident aquatic wildlife. On his back is an oxygen cylinder, a close-up view of which is presented in the bottom left of the screen. Once he starts moving he isn't animated much, staying upright and sinking automatically (lead in his boots and not his head presumably).
The diver can travel off the left, right and bottom of the screens but to go back upwards you need to press a key as well as moving the joystick up. A massive number of screens make up the playing area but as you would expect these are limited in their variety. They consist mostly of very colourful corals that can be passed through, and more substantial rock formations that block your progress. Most have routes through them but some are completely impassable and have to be bypassed.
On most screens there are fish, turtles, squid and starfishes that swim around and poison the diver on contact. With only three lives to play with they need to be avoided at all costs. This is usually easy when moving down through screens but if you appear at the bottom of the screen going up it can be a real deathtrap. All the animals can be shot but appear in increasing numbers and speed the deeper you go.
The diver consumes oxygen from his tank the whole time, particularly when exerting himself, and if this runs out it's another life down the tubes. It can be replenished at air pumps but like every-thing else in the game it's a matter of exploring many screens to find one.
There are several other special features in the game that add interest. Sextants allow you to see the map of the ocean and your position, showing just how enormous the playing area is. Doors lead into galleries where extra lives and ammunition for the gun can be collected, but here too danger can lurk. Barrels of explosives can come in handy too for blowing holes in rock, but you need to be careful not to blow yourself up with them. Mines can also bring an explosive end to a life if run into, but shooting them sets them off harmlessly.
The gameplay is repetitive because of [...] game and repeat the sheer size of the nature of the screens but there are enough interesting features and things to do to keep the player going. The graphics are amazing, and you won't tire of swimming around such a picturesque pond.
Completing the game is tough and will keep you going for plenty of time. The only problem with that is that having dived deep you can easily hit a run of mishaps that will make you start all again.
Big, bright and beautiful, with some nice features thrown in. Those clever French people who bought you Get Dexter and Doomsday Blues have scored again. Bravo.
This game does get a bit repetitive, but that's small wonder when you think about its sheer size. When you first find a sextant and see the map of the playing area, you realise why they called the game Pacific. I mean, we are talking vast. Plenty of nice touches and some frantic manoeuvering, but it's the scale that makes your jaw drop open.
P. More screens than a Japanese TV factory.
P. Some beautiful undersea graphics.
P. Nice features like air pumps, barrels and galleries.
P. Tough gameplay that keeps you on your toes.
N. A trifle too repetitive in places.
N. Frustrating to get a long way down and then die.
Green Screen View
You can see the fish, you can see the coral, you can see everything - except, that is, the stunning colour scheme. Ah zut.