Cooperate to survive

Captain Fizz logo

GAMES with two-player options aren't new. Captain Fizz is different in that instead of the players competing against one another, cooperation is needed to solve all the puzzles.
The plot is a bit overworked: A starship is out of control and heading towards the sun and only you can save it by deactivating the main computer.
Both players start at the bottom floor in the ship and must get to the top floor using the emergency lift. Before the lift can be activated all the ordinary, non-functioning lifts must be decommissioned.

Access on the decks is restricted by doorways, which can only be opened if the payer is in possession of the correct colour-coded card. Force fields are also in operation and they need a little more thought to overcome. The decks are swarming with the obligatory aliens, moping about and generally getting in the way.
Money can be picked up and exchanged at vantage points for extra health. Various other items can be collected to increase your armour, damage rating and charge rating.
These factors determine how well you can communicate with the enemy and how resistant to damage you are. On the higher decks - the ones with mines going off all over the place, not to mention a kill-crazed missile launcher - a high armour factor can be a life saver.

Another interesting feature is that death is not a permanent condition. If your compatriot is still alive and can make it to the next deck, a replacement clone-brother will be teleported aboard. If the unfortunate should occur and both players are stuck in a logical impasse, one can make the ultimate sacrifice - the suicide switch.
When both players die the game can be reset to the last nearest level, in multiples of five, which saves having to start again from scratch, the prospect of which could send you as criminally insane as they guys who wrote the title music.

The game screen is split into two halves, each showing a plan view of part of the current deck. Scores and the status of each player are shown in a large box on the left. This has the effect of making the actual playing zone each player sees about a quarter of the size of the screen. As a result the graphics are very small and undetailed.

When a player moves out of sight the entire play area flicks to the new zone. With both players running about, the constantly changing screens can be very confusing.
Players can appear in both halves simultaneously - the shock of suddenly coming face to face with your colleague can cause the trigger finger to slip, which doesn't help when the health levels are getting low.

First impressions were that of disappointment because the graphics are small and the sound is minimal. The puzzles, which demand thought and cooperation, are seemingly impossible on your own. Unfortunately the baser human instincts are always drawn out and the game can rapidly degenerate into petty retaliatory tactics.

Captain Fizz logo


Simultaneous two player action is just about this game's only strong point. The screen is split into two as you are forced into co-operation to negotiate your way around 22 levels of blaster-tron infested nastiness. The gameplay is fast, but this is nothing more than a future shock version of the most tired, old, arcade adventure type game.

To give it credit - it is well drawn and easy to play and there is a nice little system of icons to improve just about every capability you have. Despite what you might have read elsewhere, however, this is nothing special.

Captain Fizz logo

Psyclapse, Amiga £14.99

Surprises don't come much more extreme than the one you've just had. The other day you were trotting into hospital ready for your tonsil operation. Dead easy you thought. Just a couple of days with a sore throat. It came as a bit of a shock to wake up in a new body on a different planet.

Since you're trapped, you decide you might as well sigh up with the Queen's Cloned Highlanders troopers.

Your first mission involves you fighting your way through the multi-level enemy base, alone or with your partner (you need tow players if you want to win), to destroy the master computer. Pass codes and switch systems, open doorways and operate lifts.
By the way, the mission is said to be impossible. Nice thought, eh?

Kati Hamza I reckon that a puzzle game should rely on devious and mind-boggling situations that require plenty of thought. Unfortunately, Captain Fizz lacks the necessary depth to keep you occupied, trying to rely on blasting action to make up for the simplicity of the puzzles. This would not be so bad if the blasting was fast and frenetic, but it isn't - it's just slow. It does get quite involved the more you get into it, but I can see a lot of players getting fed up long before then - especially when you really have to play it in pairs.
Maff Evans The intro piece to Captain Fizz is brilliant, with a very well drawn title screen backed with some amazing music. Unfortunately, the game fails to live up to the standard of the loader. The graphics are very weak, consisting of a few meagre sprites moving through boring mazes. I would not mind if the gameplay made up for the weak presentation, but it does not. It is dull. The shoot 'em up bits are not exciting enough and the puzzles are not mind taxing. I have come to expect more from Psyclapse than this.
Zzap's Rockford: Let's get fizzical!