Sinclair User

By Elite
Spectrum 48K

Published in Sinclair User #85

Wanderer 3D

This has to be the most ridiculous combination of elements ever included in a computer game. It's the sort of thing people say on TV for a joke. There's this space hero called the Wanderer, y'see and he goes around the galaxy defeating alien bad guys by playing cards with other planets. Oh, I forgot to mention that it's in 3D too.

Let's get it straight - we're talking real 3D. You know, the sort that requires those stupid glasses which separate blue light from red. Whenever I tried to use these for TV/movie/comic examination, I just saw two images. Not so in Wanderer. I can see two images and I get a headache. No one else in the office could achieve a satisfactory effect either. Super. Scratch up a few points on the Unoriginal Gimmicks chart.

Thankfully, the 3D can be turned off.


So, foolhardy promotional gadgets aside, what of the game? Well, it's two games in one, really. There are bits that take place in space and there are bits that take place on planets. It's all frightfully exciting. The bits in space involve a little shooting. You fire at wire-frame objects that always come from the same direction. Depending how long it takes you to blow away the aliens, for that's what they are, you'll get an Ability score. The higher your score, the more exciting black holes you can explore. More of them later.

Once you've made it to a planet the cards section begins. The idea is to exchange the cards which you are dealt at the beginning of the game for those which the planet has. Things get even more mad. You have to play in order to give the planet the best hand possible. Mad? Well, in return for giving it some good cards, the planet will give you some cash with which you can buy shields and energy. I couldn't make this work. While on the Buy Shields/Energy stage the computer would beep in a "yes, alright then" sort of way, yet neither indicator bar would move. Mad.

Just to make life more complicated, the "cards" are represented by alien symbols, so you continually have to refer to the instructions. Mad.


So far as I can work out, the overall strategy you should employ (if you can be bothered) is to go from planet to planet, exchanging your very good cards for slightly less good cards, though not very good cards until you end up having shuffled the cards throughout the galaxy, collecting points and collecting Disrupter Units. A ha! This is where the black holes come in. In the black hole; a ghastly inverse-colour scheme with squares coming towards you out of the blackness (cyan actually), which you must fly through. This is where you can collect the Disrupters.

These can be exchanged for cash while on the planets. Once you've got lots of cash, you can go into the Vadd sector and confront the bad guy. I didn't get this far. I found the whole thing exceedingly mad. If you want a space game, buy Elite. If you want some sort of trading game, buy, erm, Elite.

Wanderer is a decidedly unsuccessful mish mash of games None of which work at all. Tsk.

Overall Summary

Poor 3D gimmick space card game affair. Not worth the cash.

Jim Douglas

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