Fantastic Voyage

by John R. Edmonds, Steinar Lund
Quicksilva Ltd
Crash Issue 16, May 1985   page(s) 132

Producer: Quicksilva
Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £6.95
Language: Machine code
Author: John Edmonds

This is the officially licenced computer game version of the 20th Century Fox film of the same name. In the film a group of scientists are miniaturised together with their submarine and injected into the body of a seriously ill patient in an attempt to carry out vital surgery in situ - micro surgery from within. They have to wear scuba equipment to survive in the bloodstream and squishy organs of the person and find that white blood cells are more lethal than sharks.

The game follows the film idea quite closely, except that now you are on your own and by some stroke of misfortune your submarine fails to respond so well to miniaturisation and is scattered throughout the body in eight pieces. Among the objectives of the game, one of the most important is to recover the eight pieces and assemble them within the patient's brain to escape.

The display shows a large playing area of interlinked screens. You start off inside the mouth, just behind the firmly clamped teeth. To the right of the playing area is a graphic representation of the human body. A small dot shows your relative position. Here also are shown the infections which from time to time infect the host body. A red flashing square indicates where and you must move quickly to destroy the infection with your laser before it raises the body temperature excessively and kills it (thus ending the game). Above the playing area is a temperature bar, score lines, location name, time taken, percentage scored and the name of the location where any infections have broken out.

Growths within the body can be destroyed by collecting a white blood cell and getting it to collide with the growth. Cholesterol may block some passages and can be removed by lasering it (although the laser only operates horizontally). Green viruses are dangerous but may be destroyed by your laser whereas other hazards are immune and lethal. Although this is set inside the human body, it is very much a mapping game and the player will have to discover the various routes around the body, collecting the submarine parts as you go.


Control keys: preset as B/N left/right, SPACE to Pick/drop, P to swim and L to fire, but all these are user-defineable
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor type
Keyboard play: very positive response, uses a gravity effect which is overcome by 'swimming'
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: well sized and smooth, the internal organs are convincing
Sound: very good effects, the continuous tune may be toggled on/off
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 5
Screens: more than 40 locations with every major organ and artery named.

Yep, it's another game of the film, folks. At this rate they're going to have to include a mime for 'game' on Give us a Clue. In this game you venture into the realms of the human body. The fairly simple graphics and general movement are acceptable but neither are exactly mega-class league. A bug, well it could just be an infection, in the program tended to make the diver go invisible for no apparent reason. This happened in almost every game, it was really annoying. Fantastic Voyae has not really got enough content to keep the serious player's attention for very long.

I rather enjoyed Fantastic Voyage for the first hour because of its graphics of the human body which are well done, colourful and interesting. The micro-surgeon you play is not quite as well designed however. What you end up with is a sort of platform game with interlinked screens and some arcade action, but after a while of playing, the action becomes repetitive. I liked the way the cholesterol acts as a block which because you can only fire sideways at it, means that in some locations it is like an impassable maze wall, forcing you round another way to get at it. Generally good looking, but lacking lasting appeal.

Come to think of it, I'm surprised no one has done a game like this before, but then again, the obvious is usually excluded. The game is interesting, as you pass around the body and attempt to keep the poor failing thing alive (and yourself at the same time). I never before realised how many nasties do actually float around in your blood. You could say that this game has actually taught me something. Fantastic Voyage has very nice graphics and there's plenty going on to keep you busy. Considerable skill is needed if you're to survive for more than a few minutes. One feature that impressed me is when you run out of energy you disappear, but you can still play the game as though you were really still there - only after the consumption of red blood cells do you reappear again. Overall , an interesting game, very different, with a beautiful colour scheme, and I enjoyed playing it.

Use of Computer: 82%
Graphics: 74%
Playability: 73%
Getting Started: 82%
Addictive Qualities: 70%
Value for Money: 69%
Overall: 78%

Summary: General Rating: Mixed opinions from below average to very good, playable and reasonably difficult.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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