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Relion Software
Graham Burtenshaw
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 128K

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Paul Rigby
Chris Bourne

Doomsday disturbing. Producing a 1984-type atmosphere, it will, I'm sure provoke reaction. Author Graham Burtenshaw will either be praised for his, rather pessimistic, reflection of the fate of the human race and the Earth we live on or he'll be called a sick man who's analyst should be placed on danger money.

The game design shows that a lot of effort has been expended. Three stats boxes are placed along the top of the screen (status/score, a small graphic window and weight/cash). The text, and there's a fair amount, scrolls beneath. Utility commands are present. You can remove the status line and the 'more' prompt (when more than one screen full of text appears - handy for typing in the solution - saves time), VOCAB gives you a full list, OOPS and abbreviations such as X for Examine make playing more enjoyable.

The aim is to destroy the human race and thus give the Earth a chance to survive. All the trees have been destroyed, most wildlife is extinct, vivisection is rife and barbaric (you'll see disturbing descriptions of animals and babies used for experimentation), portions of the population are used for chemical experiments, etc.

The game engine, while ambitious on occasion, is frustrating at times. At one point you'll need to manoeuvre a character, room- by-room to a location to do a job for you. Trouble is, once he moves to one room he might just wander off somewhere else before you get a chance to give him further orders. Which means you'll end up chasing this guy all over the place trying to keep him under control.

Other criticisms include: every time I tried to put a cat in a case it was dropped on the floor. Yet I could put a rat in the same case using the some command! An essential anti-theft device, hanging around your neck is never mentioned, a cage could not be opened until a certain character had come and gone giving a linear feel to the game, etc, etc.

Doomsday shows lots of promise. I'd like to see more work from Relion. However, future designs must be tightened up prior to release. But what of Doomsday's subject matter? Brave or sickening? Write in and tell me what you think.