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  Review by
Kati Hamza
(Chuck Vomit)

 

 
Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!

The Mars Saga
1988 Electronic Arts/Westwood Associates
Programmed by Louis Castle

 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the forty fifth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: December 8th, 1988).
 


Hic! I'm really getting into the Christmas spirit -- halfway through the bottle Uncle Ripperbile brought already. It'sh great, absholutely great and I don't have to share it with anyone 'cos no one's coming round here (not anyone I'm not going to eat, anyway) until the New Year . . . Burp. Reckon I could get used to this business of being on my own in the Christmas holidays. Who wants relations pulling wishbones and picking their noses over the table -- I've always produced the best bogeys, so what do I want with theirs? And it's a lot more fun just me and my pet flies dancing on the table, falling off and breaking the furniture when there's no one around. Yeah! Think I'm going to make a habit of this . . . hic! Really cool and groovy! I like it so much I'm going to put another Nolans record on right now, throw myself into the nearest armchair, pour out a toast, get out a sugar cube for the flies and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Keep your noses green 'n' slimy and don't throw up too much . .
.
.

 

 

MARS SAGA
Electronic Arts, C64 14.95 disk

 

ot a lot of people know this -- but light years into the future men will discover life on Mars. Oooh! Shock! Horror! Gasp! Not only that, but they'll be mining valuable minerals there, battling against horrible slimy monsters and using the place as a sort of penal colony. Nice, huh? Oh yeah, and one day you're going to crash land right into the middle of it.

Stranded on a not very welcoming planet with no ship and no dosh, you've got to find a way to earn some money. Lucky for you that there's a reward out for anyone who finds out why the authorities have lost contact with the outpost Proscenium.

Not that you can drop your dram of billy-goat bile and rush out there straight away: it helps if you've got a few friends and a bit of experience on your side. Until you've managed to explore parts of the planet's other cities, you've got no chance.

The best place to pick your companions (only one at first) is . . . wait for it . . . the pub. Da daaa. Each individual has personal attribute and skill ratings. In addition to all the usual categories like might and wisdom, there are a few more specialist matters: how clever you are at using automatic weapons, speaking foreign languages (I'm great at that, me), expertise at computer hacking, and so on.

The action is displayed pretty much in Bard's Tale style with neat and detailed illustrations of your location in the top left hand corner of the screen -- and boy, do they take your breath away! They're definitely the most impressive I've seen in a 64 RPG, so far: every inside location has its own sequence of animation and a slick overhead view can be accessed at any time. Not only that, an auto-map draws the areas you've passed through and saves the maps. User-friendly or user-friendly?

Money and experience are almost the only things that count. If you haven't got the cash, you can't go to university or Personal Development Center to improve your abilities and if you haven't got enough experience you won't get on the courses anyway. Obviously, your first job is to get hold of some experience pretty fast. This is achieved by performing tasks for other people and -- my favourite activity of all -- fighting.

It's in combat mode that the program really comes out well. As in Pool of Radiance (reviewed last month) the action switches to full-screen graphics. If you're feeling bored you can just let the computer carry out your orders (you don't even have to watch if you don't want to) but if you're not, you can work out the strategies by yourself. That way you have a lot more control over the speed at which the action unfolds.

Anyway, the graphics are great, the scenario's unusual and the environment is outsize underpants size, so what more do you want? If you're after an RPG that's just a little bit different, raid your Christmas piggy-bank and check this out.

 
Atmosphere 78%
Puzzle Factor 70%
Interaction 60%
Lastability 81%

Overall

76%
 


If you want a walkthrough, visit
Jacob Gunness
' Classic Adventures Solution Archive or
Martin Brunner's C64 Adventure Game Solutions Site

Mars Saga Assorted Screenshots

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (27 Sep 2007)

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