Marsport (Gargoyle Games) Review | Amstrad Computer User - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Computer User


Marsport
By Gargoyle Games
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Computer User #14

Marsport

The year is 2494. Commander John Kepler Marsh has been sent to Marsport, an enemy occupied outpost, abandoned shortly before the Siege of Earth began. There he seeks the plans of the force field surrounding the Earth and Moon. If he can find the plans and return to Earth, the force field can be strengthened against the sustained attack of the evil insect-like Sept.

Marsh must make his way through Marsport to M-Central the massive intelligent computer that controls the city. M-Central has been programmed to defend itself against the Sept and it has built many defence systems into the labyrinth of corridors that make up the city. Marsh must avoid these and the Sept if he is to succeed in his mission.

Having loaded Marsport, a menu of options is presented. Selecting 'Enter the Game', the screen displays the first corridor. Also shown is the current list of things carried (nothing), the charge left in the laser pistol ( if one is carried), and a blank area on which various reports appear.

The hatch opens and John Marsh steps out. The middle three rows of the keyboard are laid out so that alternate keys have a single function. The bottom row moves Marsh left and right. The middle changes the compass point from which he is displayed. The top picks up or puts down an object. There are hatchways that can be entered by pressing ENTER and when Marsh has a laser pistol SPACE will fire it.

As Marsh moves around he passes 'cash points' placed alongthe walls. These are labelled Locker, Supply, Refuse, Herald, etc. They are places where useful objects can be found or useless ones disposed of. Also they house the automated minions of M-Central and give useful clues to solving particular problems. One of the units is called Factor. This can be used to combine two objects to make a single different one. There is one other type of unit called Key and this allows the opening of locked doors and the type of object to place in this unitdepends on the area you are trying to gain access to.

Marsport is laid out on ten levels, from Alba level on the planet surface to Joly level deep beneath it. Travel between the various levels is by up and down tubes that whisk the traveller to another floor. The destination of a tube is always consistent and there is no control over the destination. Some tubes allow travel in both directions but others in only one which means that once taken Marsh is committed to exploring the destination floor. The different levels have different functions and this is reflected by the rooms that will be found on that level. There appear to be Sept warriors on most levels and these stay in one place making access to some sections dangerous. A Sept warlord, is an impassable obstruction that cannot be destroyed by laser fire but will not pursue you, unlike its little friends. The other dangers that will be encountered are Wardens, robot sentries that protect M-Central from the Sept but cannot distinguish Marsh from an enemy. Also there are bombs and other hazards which must be passed in the search for the plans. Should Marsh be killed he will be returned to the start of the game.

If he carries a laser pistol he will keep it, but lose all other objects. The game is not fully reset, objects are left in their current positions, but hazards will need to be renegotiated. The game includes a save game/reload game option and pause feature.

This is an excellent game that will keep someone amused for hours. The graphics and animation are of a very high standard, being similar to the Knightlore/Highway Encounter two colour type, rather than Sorcery multicolour sprite type. The sound is a bit thin but this type of game does not really need amazing sound effects. The sheer size of the city and the problem solving element make this a very challenging game to play and well worth the price.

Verdict

Ever get the feeling you're going round in circles?