you're one of those folk unlucky enough not to own a
disk-drive, then you may as well skip this bit, as Accolade's
Comics takes up six sides of disk, and although
Accolade are currently working in conjunction with US
Gold to provide a workable tape version . . . don't
hold your breath!
storyline follows the exploits of a typical comic-book
detective in the shape of Steve Keene, Private Spy .
. . and all-round Smart-Alec.
a stunning introductory sequence, the story proper begins
as Keene visits his secret headquarters hidden behind
a pet alteration shop (the mind boggles). At this point
the first chance to alter the path of the game appears,
with the option to change the dialogue spoken by Keene's
boss. Depending on which phrase is selected, one of
the two main scenarios is played through -- the rescue
of the missing professor, Zoron Farad, or the mysterious
case of the reproducing fire-hydrants!
the dark speech bubble shows the choice
of available dialogue
destiny is controlled to a degree by the player himself.
At specific moments throughout the game, the player
selects Keene's dialogue (which appears in speech balloons),
or chooses a course of action designated by a moving
arrow. The storyline changes slightly depending on the
selection made, but in truth, Keene's fate is already
sealed: ultimately, the plot follows a pre-determined
frame of the story is loaded in from disk and displays
Keene's current situation. Almost every frame is accompanied
by a piece of animation, ranging from adequate to simply
superb, and the quality of the graphics is similarly
brilliant, considering the limitations of the screen
and the fact that each frame takes up at most only a
quarter of the available area.
a frame has been viewed, the next is called up by pressing
the fire button. The new frame fades in using some clever
effects and once the screen is full the page disappears,
again using some neat animation.
Keene looks like he's having trouble with a
Keene finds himself in physical danger, his situation
usually reveals itself as one of the eight arcade sequences
that crop up during play. At last Keene's actions come
under the player's direct control and a degree of dexterity
is usually required to successfully guide him through
whatever mayhem the bad guys have in store for him.
Failing to complete an arcade screen removes one of
Keene's five lives. His incarnations may also be lost
as the plot unfolds; selecting certain pathways sends
Steve into situations from which he may not return!
Following his demise, the number of remaining lives
is displayed and the storyline then continues from a
point several frames before, allowing the player to
make a different selection next time around. When all
five lives are finally spent the game ends and must
be restarted from scratch.
any time during play (excluding the arcade sequences)
the game may be saved out to the source disk and any
suitably high scores are also stored for posterity on
completion of a case.
of the challenging arcade sections in Accolade's Comics
completed, the urge to replay that particular scenario
is severely diminished by the limited variation between
successive turns. There just isn't enough action to
justify a quick load-up and it certainly falls well
short of being an interactive adventure. This is no
fault of the programmers, however, as including several
storylines and retaining the game's graphic style would
have meant several tens of disks, rather than the three
Comics is the sort of game that is a brilliant experience
for the first few plays, but once seen offers no real
lasting appeal. This is a shame, as it is brilliantly
implemented, extremely polished and genuinely humorous