Psi 5 Trading Company is a 35th century film
of haulage contractors specializing in the transportation
of live and dead freight. The player is put in the managerial
role of Captain and has to monitor all functions of
the space freighter as well as allocating task assignments
to the five-strong crew. The game is either joystick
or keyboard controlled and makes use of an icon system
to guide the cargo ship from one side of the galaxy
to the other.
the spaceways is a hazardous occupation and there are
all sorts of nasty characters just dying to get their
alien manipulative organs on your lovely cargo! Needless
to say these have to be disposed of, because if your
cargo gets either stolen, lost or destroyed, you end
up with a rather large invoice which immediately puts
you out of business.
first loaded, the player has to select one of three
cargos (each has a different value) and plot a course
through the Parvin Frontier (a pretty mean part of the
Universe) to the destination planet. Once those factors
have been sorted out a crew must be chosen from thirty
potential candidates, who are a pretty varied lot and
come from all walks of life -- or in some cases, trundles
of physical presence as there are a few robot applicants.
There are six beings to choose from for each position
(navigation, weaponry, engineering,
repair and scanning) and as Captain you
can access the personal documents of each. The documents
give information about the candidate's age, race, qualifications,
education, experience, strengths and weaknesses, and
using this data it is up to you to choose the crew best
suited for the task.
commences with the screen in communications mode. Split
into five main sections, the display shows a view of
space (either forwards, backwards, port or starboard),
a graphic representation of the crew member with whom
you're interacting, the ship's status console (showing
weapons, motion, speed and pending messages), an information
console and a selection of icons. The latter displays
incoming messages from both external and internal sources
and gives a detailed readout of the status functions
of any crewmember.
main commands initially available are: acknowledge,
weapons, scan, navigation, engineer,
repair and manual. Moving the joystick
either left or right highlights one of the icons, and
pressing fire button activates it. If, for example,
the weapons icon is chosen then the relevant crew member
is shown in the interaction monitor, and the information
console changes to display the functions of the weapons
department -- status, display, ?,
cancel, rank, fire and return.
Accessing status results in a readout of the number
of shots fired and spacecraft destroyed, whilst display
shows the orders given to the weapons section. Any incoming
messages can be viewed by accessing the ? icon, and
scan gives details of any alien craft, such as whether
they are friendly or not. All firing orders are given
using the cancel, rank and fire icons.
you want to issue orders or check up on another department,
then the return command takes you back to the main screen,
allowing you to select another icon. The screen then
changes to display the crewmembers and their surroundings,
and a new set of relevant icons.
department has their own special skill, and plays an
important part in the game. Weapons and scanning work
in conjunction with scan to identify and keep track
of other vehicles in space. Weapons can then dispose
of anything hostile if necessary. Navigation controls
the speed and course of the spaceship, and these factors
can be altered during flight. For example, evasive manoeuvres
are occasionally required to avoid any confrontation
with renegade spacecraft.
engineering department is responsible for managing and
allocating power to different sections of the spacecraft
-- vital when under attack, as extra power has to be
pumped into the defence shields. The repairs department
consists of a team of robodroids which can be allocated
to repair various sections of the ship.
acting Captain you have the responsibility of making
sure that all departments work together as a team, rather
than separate entities. If too much time is spent interacting
with only one crewmember, the rest of the team get bored
and start doing their own thing, so the whole system
swiftly begins to break down and the spaceship doesn't
function efficiently. Monitoring umpteen ship functions
at once may sound like a tricky task, but as long as
you ensure that all incoming messages from crewmembers
are noted, so you know exactly what's going on and which
orders should be given the biggest priority, it doesn't
prove too much of a problem.