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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Advent Calendar - December 14th.

Spacewrecked: 14 Billion Light Years From Earth (PC)

I'm willing to bet that most people haven't heard of this game... at least, not under this title. In the U.K., it was released as B.S.S. Jane Seymour. So I've cheated a bit here, because obviously it wouldn't have fit the theme if I'd used that title. Hey, I'll try anything to avoid playing a flight simulator!


Yeah, sorry Guv, you're missing your energy flux decoupler. It'll be weeks till we've got one of those in.

Needless to say, I had no idea what this one was about myself. So it was with no little intrigue that I loaded it up... and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was obviously on a spaceship, and the basic controls were simple enough to figure out, but beyond that... clueless.

After some exploring and trial and error, I can say that Spacewrecked appears to be some kind of cross between Dungeon Master and Paradroid. Wait a minute - that sounds about as good as gaming can possibly get! But just hold on a minute before you go getting too excited and spending fortunes on eBay to play it.


Aaaaarrgh! Jesus! Why would you keep one of them on board? Hope I don't find one...

As the story goes, you're among a fleet of twenty spaceships heading back to Earth when the voyage is stalled by radiation damage to the ships. Unfortunately, your ship hasn't got enough fuel to complete the trip even if it gets repaired, and due to the complicated nature of the fleet you can't just transfer everybody to another one and whizz off home. Besides, all have sustained an amount of damage and will need to be patched up. You have to work through them in order, starting with the B.S.S. Jane Seymour, and once all twenty ships are repaired to at least eighty per cent efficiency, you're in business.

That would be a tall order at the best of times, but the computer estimates that only five per cent of the crew are fully fit across all twenty ships. The rest are liable to be either physically or mentally incapacitated. To make things more difficult still, alien lifeforms are liable to be roaming the ship...


Now, where was it we needed this again...?

If you've ever played a game like this, the layout will be familiar. The ship's corridors are displayed in a small part of the screen, with icons and status messages taking up the rest. As you wander around, you'll find a number of items lying around. These are likely to prove useful, and luckily your inventory, although limited, is sizeable. The main thing you're looking for is liquid coolant, as a deficiency in the stuff is causing the majority of malfunctions. Oh, and you'll need things to carry the liquid...

An interesting aspect of the game is the ability to use the ship's robots to your advantage. You don't have to, but doing so will make your task a fair bit easier. There's a variety of useful droids, including combat droids, repair droids and computer droids. The droids can also perform life-saving healing duties, if properly equipped.


The Rolling Stones' Tour had gone to more places than ever this year.

Spacewrecked/B.S.S. Jane Seymour is obviously a massive game... twenty ships to repair, each with three decks, will take a long, long time to play through. It'll take even longer if you're as rubbish at it as I am. Despite my inadequacies, though, I found this game really intriguing. I'd love to make the time to have a proper crack at it... having a PC version (it's also available on the Amiga and ST) and not needing to swap disks every five minutes means I'm more inclined to have a go. It's been a good find, this one.

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