Your Sinclair1st May 1986
Published in Your Sinclair #5
Central Solutions seems to have released several tons of budget software recently, including a few hundredweight of Spectrum adventures. All the ones I've seen so far have been written using The Quill and The Illustrator, but my choice of what to review was dictated by finding one that would load. Never has my volume knob been twiddled so much to so little effect.
Still, the aptly named Survival finally went in there, though after all that trouble I really wished it hadn't. Perhaps after introducing The Patch, Gilsoft ought to provide a spelling checker for programmers who write 'thaught' for 'thought' and 'screach' for 'screech'. The idea behind this one is that you're MI5 agent Gary Gullible and you must recover some top secret documents believed to be hidden on the island of Master Mud. It's here that you're parachuted at the start of the game.
You begin beside a perimeter fence carrying nothing but a cheese pasty, a crowbar, a stopped watch and a lamp without a plug. Strange things to be carrying when you've been parachuted into this top priority mission. Bond wouldn't have stood for it! The first painful experience is your encounter with a guard, and this meeting is followed by a Swords and Sorcery-type sequence of mesaages like "He hit me" and "I missed him" which are printed on the screen in a long drawn-out manner. You have no control over this and as the messages and outcome are the same every time your enthusiasm for the adventure soon starts to disappear. My first thought after that was SAVE, which I'd advise you to do, except for the slight problem that the program doesn't recognise the LOAD command. Despite the fact that this is documented, it produces the response "I can't." I tried the usual RESTORE, RESUME, LOAD GAME, LOAD PROG in case the documentation was wrong, but all to no avail. This is doubly annoying when the adventure is jam-packed with sudden deaths that hit you with no warning. Take, for instance, the corridor junction where, upon going NORTH, you're immediately killed by guards who smell your cheese pasty/ As each of these sudden deaths means having to go back to the start, you can imagine the fun I've had reviewing this one. Survival really was an apt title after all!