Ross: So, this is the first in a trilogy, eh? Well, if this one's anything to go by, you can stand by for a real treat. And don't be put off by first impressions - sure, this game looks very similar to Gargoyle's previous offerings, Dun Darach and Tir Na Nog, but the scenario and the problem solving are very different.
The year is 2494 and once again those nasty alien, space invader thingies (these ones are called the Sept) are trying to get their slimy claws on Mother Earth. Your mission is to prevent the impending catastrophe. So, you must penetrate the city computers on Marsport where the aliens are holed out and escape with the plans for a force field to surround earth. No problem, as they say...
Well, I've got news of you - it ain't that simple. Not only do you have to find your way around Marsport but you've got to do it without being blasted away by the baddies. Start off by mapping your progress - this'll help you find the objects you're gonna need if you stand a hope in hell of penetrating further into the base. It's also the only way to prevent that dizzy feeling you get from going round and round in circles, like I did before I got the hang of it!
The graphics are beautifully animated, the controls are excellent and it's great fun to play. And if you're into sci-fi, like me, you'll enjoy it even more. An all-round winner that's well worth lashing out the megabucks on. 9/10
If you ever wanted to know what a ninepin feels like in a skittles alley then Marsport is the game for you. There you are doing the usual Dun Darach Tir Na Nog bit clomping around like Piltdown Man but this time in a space bubble on Mars rather than in some medieval marsh.
Every so often a bowl hurtles by at head height - but just for once in a computer game you don't have to duck, for these are harmless information gathering robots.
Previous Gargoyle games were a bit thin on plot, but Marsport is an intricate and well structured arcade adventure with much more going on. In the first stage of the game you - or rather Commander John Marsh of the underground Earth liberation movement Hasp - have to acquire a power weapon and fight your way through the 10 levels of the city trying to locate the central computer.
A series of hatches in the walls open as you walk by. These can be supply units for which you sometimes need a key which give you objects to use, lockers which you can stow your objects in - because you can only carry three at a time, bins, and charge units to keep your gun loaded.
You need the gun to deal with robots and Septs - the invading life-forms which Gargoyle politely calls a hive culture but which we all know is really just a swarm of intergalactic killer bees. But then I suppose the Septs would call Commander Marsh a terrorist (Geddit?).
The most fearsome adversary in the game is a Sept Warlord - which looks just like a Victorian vacuum cleaner and is almost as dangerous.
The robots that occasionally attack you are malfunctioning warden robots installed by your own forces long ago. If only they belonged to the other side we could call them septic tanks. Once you have reached the computer you can start your search for the original plans for the giant force field which is all that stands between the Septs and Earth and now needs strengthening. Your final challenge is to escape with the plans.
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