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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!

Fish!
1988 Rainbird/Magnetic Scrolls Ltd.
Programmed by J. Molloy, P. Kemp, P. South, R. Steggles, R. Huddy & B.Coles

 
Most text of the present article comes from the Amiga review published in the forty fourth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: November 10th, 1988) and the C64 review published in the forty eighth issue (street date: March 16th, 1989).
 

 

FISH!
Magnetic Scrolls/Rainbird, Amiga 24.95

 

hought you were the sole goldfish in the bowl, didn't you? Cod, what a prawn! You didn't anchovy think that Mission HQ would let an international information shark like you spend his well-earned rest mackerelling about in any old place. And you were looking forward to dace and dace of inactivity, too! Some bream! Well, Rear Admiral Sir Playfair Panchax has his rays (ways, moron). When a tacky plastic castle plops into your bowl, you know you're in for a bass-ically active time. Oh well, you were starting to get a bit chubby, anyway. Perhaps you'd just better talk to Panchax -- eel sort something trout.

Fish demonstrates the usual range of options and
some beautifully designed and conceived graphic
s

Anyone who didn't laugh at those fishy puns can come and discuss the fine details later. Meanwhile, it turns out this is no ordinary crisis. In fact it's pretty damn serious. An inter-dimensional gang of anarchists -- the Seven Deadly Fins -- have warped themselves to a planet inhabited entirely by fish. Well, fish people to be exact. Er . . . yeah . . . apparently they have perfectly human torsos and thoroughly fishy legs -- tails, I mean. Weird! (those concerned about the menial health of the programmers should apply direct to Magnetic Scrolls). The fins are a dead nasty lot -- they're planning to sabotage well-laid plans to build a device deigned to irrigate Aquaria, a planet in danger of drying out. You need to recover the stolen parts of this secret device before it's too late.

Try picking up this offensive creature -- but you
need to take a pew first

Not for nothing are we called the greatest espionage organisation in the . . . er . . . well, in the near vicinity. Careful research into warping (a painful form of molecular travel, more painful than being tricked out of your lunch by a billy-goat in red pyjamas) has made it possible for you, agent extraordinaire 10, to travel to four different locations. As you (the parasite) pass through each of the warps (the last one is only accessible if you've solved the first three), your mind is transferred into the body of a living thing (the host) from the appropriate dimension . . . no wonder it hurts!

As you're still an inexperienced warper, you need a slightly gentle start -- so the first three scenarios, accompanied by some melt-in-the-mouth graphics, aren't all that difficult to complete. All you have to do is avoid a maniac junky with a tendency to become angry (and boy, does he get angry!), weedle your way past an extremely loudmouthed record baron and avoid the infamous Fins while dicing with death in the bowels of a crumbling abbey. Easy as falling off a log.

My uncle Ripperbile lives in a forest like this -- but you
wouldn't catch him wandering around in the daylight

Loud noises and flashing lights break down the host-parasite interface, but when this happens you just get thrown back into the bowl, an older and a wiser fish. Fish don't have any arms, wise guy, so don't start trying to take anything back with you into the bowl -- it doesn't work. Back among the pondweed, you just muster your resources and get ready to try again.

By the time you make it to warp 4, the going starts to get really tough. As Dr Roach, an eminent individual of some social standing (like me) you can take a paddle to Padlington station, visit the local guppy pub for a snifter (don't forget your fishofax), groove on down at the disco, or just buy yourself some new and nifty clothes. Trouble is, the Fins are hot on your tail -- unless you outwit them and manage to avoid all situations designed to break down your precious interface, you might end up suffering a fate worse than sharing a tin with a tin of skinhead sardines or being mashed into a pot of anchovy paste.

Fish can't hear music, can they?
(They can if they're as cool as me -- Ken)

As a top inter-warp spy with more letters to your name than you can remember (let alone write), no puzzle is too hard for you. That's lucky because this is one goldfish bowl that has more than the average number of wicked twists. Just when you think you're getting somewhere, you become a candidate for entry into the next tin of catfood -- and you won't get any holidays there. Even the sub-games have enough substance for you to get your teeth into. There's always some kind of logic to a solution, even if occasionally the reasoning is pretty warped (geddit?).

The parser is up to Magnetic Scrolls usual high standards. Most variations of a command are recognised and there are loads of abbreviations: L for LOOK, X for EXAMINE and so on. You can even summon up a list of pronouns available at any one time by typing PN. There isn't all that much scope for interaction but then interaction isn't always all what it's cracked up to be. What's the point of having loads of potentially interactive characters when they don't actually contribute that much to the game? You can never really converse with NPCs (just ask them questions) so there's no reason they should be included just for their own sake.

Completely finless? I like my fish with their fins on!

You still have to enter a separate command to open specific doors, when it's quite obvious you can walk through them (I'm really sick of bashing my nose against doors), but as there aren't as many fiddly situations as you find in, say Jinxter, that doesn't matter too much. Who cares anyway when almost anything you type in gets an appropriately fishy response?

It's getting a bit boring really. Every Magnetic Scrolls adventure gets praised to the skies, wins a thousand (or thereabouts) awards and gets an incredibly high mark in all the magazines. You'd think they could produce a dud once in a while, just for variety's sake (what do you mean, you can't imagine that -- just use your brain, will you?) Well, so far they haven't, so Fish! is just going to have to get another rave review. Altogether, it's slick, subtle and sparkles with subaquatic humour. What more could your average haddock want?

(Can I have my turbo-powered totally infallible and hyper-guaranteed billy-goat flame-thrower now, Anita?)

 
Atmosphere 85%
Puzzle Factor 92%
Interaction 86%
Lastability 94%

Overall

93%
 
 


Everyone else starts Spring cleaning about this time -- dusting away all that lovely dead skin, wiping off those crusty, slimy bits, washing off the things that make a home what it is. Me? I see Spring as an opportunity to increase the amount of filth around. It's a time of renewal and regeneration, of enjoyment -- what better way to celebrate than giving the house a good sliming, putting a firm, new layer of soil on the table and breaking a few billy goats' legs? Nothing. Right, let's get on with the Fish Bits.
.

 

FISH!
Magnetic Scrolls/Rainbird, C64 19.99 disk only

 

ou are a small scaly fish with fins and a natty little tail. Tres chic.

Tres chic my toenail. It just takes one look at Ken D Fish to convince me that I'd prefer to live the rest of my life without any kind of tail whatsoever hanging off my back -- especially not one with spotty scales, thank you very much. Count yourself lucky that you only get to see pictures of him -- that smell would put you off for life. Phwoar!

Still, if you can't beat 'em, eat 'em, that's what I always say. And if you can't eat 'em . . . well, you might as well throw in yer lot with the gurnards, haddocks, pickerels and gudgeons of this world and have a go. Use your imagination and throw yerself headfirst into this fishy stuff an' all that an' everyfin' (geddit?). I'm a dab hand (hur, hur) at that.

This is just the sort of place I'd hate
to live in -- it's far too clean

If you didn't see the Amiga review or wouldn't be seen dead reading anything to do with that nasty machine anyway (no sirreee, not if you put a shotgun to my head and shouted moo moo) then here's another butcher's at what it's all about.

You -- bright, bold, brilliant, star of the Department of International Espionage (yes, that's you, honest salmon) and otherwise known as agent 10, are having a bit of a holiday. In fact, you're just swimming around on your back in a goldfish bowl, when you receive an interdimensional summons from that bigwig bloke who runs the tank -- Admiral Sir Playfair Panchax, the man himself.

The low-down is this: a band of deadly interdimensional terrorists -- The Seven Deadly Fins -- has stolen the vital components of a vital irrigation machine all set to bring water and life to the dying planet Aquaria. Your mission (and you decide to accept it, or else) is to warp to the four relevant areas and recover all the right bits. Easy.

Have I had too much to drink or do things
look like this all the time?

Well, not that easy really, not while you're a fish. Now there's a fing. Lucky for you that the adventure is divided into four parts (three mini ones, and one biggy) in all of which you're allowed arms. In the fourth one, you don't have legs (just a fishy tail) but in an underwater sort of world, it's absolutely wunnerful to see what you can do with that.

You've got to complete the mini sagas (set in a recording studio, a wood inhabited by the insane interdimensional espionage agent, Micky Blowtorch, and deep in the bowels -- oo-er -- of a ruined abbey) before you've got enough interdimensional experience to get into the big one -- and then you're really in the swimbladder.

Fancy a trip to Padlington? A night down a guppy pub? A day at the museum? Shopping for just the right gear? A peek in your fishofax for the address of the best local snifter? Well, me old mullet, courtesy of your very own Aquaria travelcard, valid till Thursday, except on Dogger Bank holidays, you can do all that and loads, loads more. Better tread carefully though, or you may end up mashed and battered in somebody's cocktail glass -- and then you wouldn't half look a prawn.

The parser's up to the usual Magnetic Scrolls standards (well, aren't most big release parsers nowadays?) and lets you type in all the usual alternatives and options (there's all that shifting graphics up and down the screen, turning the graphics off and on mularkey) but what really makes this so much fun to play is the action. It's packed tighter than a tin of sardines in tomato juice and if you like your jokes fishy (well, what else can you do with Ken D Fish -- not eat him?) there's more than enough to keep the giggles messing up your gills.

Aha, me hearties -- what about the price? Personally, I thought Corruption was pretty bad at 18 quid but 19.99 -- a bit stiff! You don't even get the kind of juicy billygoat graphics that made Guild of Thieves and The Pawn a great run for your money. These are just 'quite nice', really -- not worth waiting all that disk accessing for, if you ask me.

Hang about though, 'cos the gameplay is definitely worth it, and if you haven't got the dosh right now, scrape a lot of slime around in the bottom of your piggy bank until you find it. If it weren't for the shock, horror, hand me a dram of lizard's blood price and the pretty average stone the crows graphics, I'd be awarding this a Sizzler. As it is, it's getting a Chuck Vomit thumbs up. And that's not bad coming from me -- especially when it's a net full of fish. Gloop, gloop.

 
Atmosphere 85%
Puzzle Factor 92%
Interaction 86%
Lastability 94%

Overall

88%
 


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

Fish! Complete Artwork Gallery!

Total Pictures Count: [26]

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (7 Oct 2007)
The screenshots in the Amiga review were replaced by their C64 equivalents. Only the first two screenshots of the C64 review existed in the original.

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