THIS purports to be a graphics oriented adventure. The first graphics you have to tackle take the form of the game protection. You have to identify two colours from a supplied grid. Yuk. Then the game starts – digitised sound of the wind whistling as the credits roll. Promising.
Unfortunately form then on it’s downhill all the way, beginning with the title page set against a hideous blue flashing background.
A newspaper page tells you that the good ship Abraham Lincoln is setting off in search of a deep sea monster. As the blurb indicates, the great French professor, Mr Aronnax, will be taking part in the expedition.
But before you can say Jaques Robinson, the ship is attacked and the bold searchers are incarcerated in Captain Nemo’s famous underwater vessel, the Nautilus.
The aim of the game is to record your fantastic journey in a log so posterity can enjoy your exploits. What this actually means is that you spend most of the time exploring the few rooms of the Nautilus.
There’s the control room, which houses the instruments and a periscope, the library – lots of books and an organ but nothing else of note – and the living room, which has a porthole, a map and more instruments.
There’s precious little else to do except point at a few objects and decide how to manipulate them. You could go underwater swimming. Or pop up on deck for fresh air when not submerged. Or perhaps even take a stroll on an island. Very boring – five windows of jungly vegetation and a small character who looks as if confinement on the Nautilus has made him stiff as an over-starched shirt.
Captain Nemo gets the huff with his visitors very easily, so they tend to spend a lot of the time locked up in their cabins. Never mind, there can always be another entry in the log: "An extremely interesting day".
And when the game ends prematurely with you have failed somewhere along the line, you’ll get a black screen with a few immortal words to let you know it’s all over. To rub salt in the wound, the program insists you go all through the copy protection routine again to restart.
The graphics showing the control room and library are pretty good, capturing the right tone and feel of the Nautilus. But the text is pathetic, even allowing for translation, and the gameplay is dire. Best place for this game is 20,000 leagues under the sea.