Commodore User1st December 1988
Published in Commodore User #64
Incentive return once more with the latest improved Freescape game, featuring added slow motion. Gasp at the high paced pulse-racing action as the screen takes a mere half-second to update! Listen to the impressive mono-aural phutting noise as you fire your revolver at the offending symbols of Ankh.
This time we've come down to earth, and back in time for a clash between a mouldy Egyptian God and a lone human being. Two hours from now there will be a total eclipse, triggering the curse of the sun God Ra. In a fit of pique, he's going to smite the moon and cause a shower of meteorites to pound the Earth, thus upsetting the ecological balance and plunging us into an age of darkness.
The game begins as you park your bi-plane outside the great pyramid. Armed only with a revolver and a bottle of suntan lotion you have to negotiate traps, tricks, mummies, swords and Cairo tummy. From here on in, you're on your own. You have to suss out exactly what does what. For example, right at the start, there is an open door with a rectangle next to it (quite common in pyramids, you know). Shoot the rectangle and the door closes, a novel idea but completely pointless, which is basically a rough guide to the gameplay. If you can't shoot it, collect it; if you can't collect it, shoot it. At the base of the play screen short messages flash up from time to time informing you on the state of play.
Total Eclipse is literally a huge game with a lot to do and keep you occupied. What really ruins it is the appalling speed, caused by the graphics and their angular positions being so complex. It demonstrates perfectly the way that the C64 can't really handle the manipulation of vector graphics - filled or otherwise.
All I can say is: if you liked any of the other Freescape games (and there are some who do) you'll freak over this, otherwise I don't think many people will find a lasting appeal with this one.