Virtual Worlds (Domark) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Virtual Worlds
By Domark
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #77

Virtual Worlds

The imminent release of the 3D Construction Kit is an appropriate time for the release of this superb compilation, with four challenging examples of how to use the Freescape technology to best advantage.

In Driller you hae to stop a distant moon called Mithral from exploding. Centuries ago a band of outlaws mined its resources, but now a build-up of gasses means that Mithral will explode very soon if nothing is done. You in your trusty mining probe have to explore the three-dimensional Freescaped world and find where in each of the eighteen sectors to drop a drilling rig. It's not as easy as it sounds, especially when you are constantly attacked by laser beacons and thwarted by a variety of obstacles. Driller was a 96% Sizzler and the first of Incentive's excellent Freescape games. It's an oldie but definitely still a goodie.

As is Total Eclipse where you play the part of an Indiana Jones-style archaelogist who must annul a curse set by an angry priest thousands of years ago. His people refused to make sacrifices to Re the Sun God, so now if anything blocks the sun's rays in daylight hours, lots of nasty things will happens (not least the Moon will explode). Two hours is all the time that's left to save the world as we know it, and as is usual with Incentive plenty of devious puzzles stand between you and success. Also with the temperature almost hot enough to boil an egg, a supply of water is your first concern. Issue 46 saw the arrival of Total Eclipse and its well-deserved 94% rating. Like its predecessors it's tough but very playable.

Castle Master and the previously unreleased The Crypt are both set in Castle Eternity where you firstly have to rescue your twin (in Castle Master) and then escape yourself (in The Crypt). A variety of ghosts, ghouls and long-legged beasties attack as you charge around the castle searching for your loved ones and a way out.

The usual first-person perspective is employed in both games, as are the by now familiar three-dimensional puzzles. Issue 61 saw the Sizzling arrival of Castle Master with a creditable 93%, and even though The Crypt hasn't been reviewed before a similar mark would certainly be applicable.

In truth, the slowness of the Freescape technique makes one initially reluctant to return to them, however once you make the plunge the sensation of interacting with a fully-formed 3D world becomes extremely involving. The later games are slightly faster, and the weird Egyptian and Gothic graphics work surprisingly well, but all these games are very playable with masses of challenge. The only pity is the omission of the excellent Dark Side from the compilation.


Overall 84%
Four big games, packed with traps and puzzles, make this very good value. A great way of entering Incentive's unique world of 3D wonder.