Crusoe Review | Personal Computer News - Everygamegoing

Personal Computer News

By Automata
Spectrum 48K

Published in Personal Computer News #076

Island Castaway


This minestrone of game types has a strong adventure element, but all the action is seen on screen and there are some real-time hazards.


Crusoe wants to return home, preferably richer, but the main battle is simply to survive.

In Play

At top left is a square map of the current area of the desert island. The castaway is shown as a tiny user-defined graphic, together with barriers such as thorny ground and dense vegetation. Fruit trees appear as tiny purple umbrellas and cacti look like spikey mauve spiders. Sometimes animals appear to career about briefly. Where the sea can be seen, a clever interrupt sequence makes the waves ripple, but the sound is limited.

Crusoe's status appears to the right of the screen and you need to keep a beady eye on this to check he's adequately fed and watered. Also shown are Crusoe's vigour, which decreases as he gets hungry or thirsty, and the prevailing weather conditions.

The lower part of the screen is reserved for command input and smart answers from Mr. Lonely-Heart.

The keyboard handling is distinctly odd and takes some getting used to. Worse still is that Crusoe himself moves slowly, so making a journey can be tedious. Sometimes the only way to get where you want to go is to take to the water, which involves getting Crusoe into his swimming costume, and then back to land mode. Moving to an edge of the current map forces the next one to be drawn quickly.

Other commands are available, and necessary. You will learn to spot fruit trees and water so you can tell Crusoe to eat and drink at opportune moments and it's as well to keep his strength up. Vigour decreases according to factors like the weight of items carried.

There are some 75 objects on the island, shown as red spots on the map. Moving Crusoe towards them makes him tell you what they are and you can ask him to give details. There are scraps of paper littered about and these may have cryptic clues written on them. Other items include a violin, bones and carved stones. Even Man Friday lurks somewhere.


Although it's difficult to get very far at first, overall it's an enjoyable and difficult adventure. Recommended.

Bryan Skinner

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