Fantastic adventure, filled to the brim with atmosphere, tension and detail.
The game loads up with a colour screen and the Ocean Loader V2 theme playing.
Upon loading, you are greeted, not with any options of any kind, but by an alarm bell, as you crawl out of bed hurrying along for roll call...
As you can see, the graphics are monochrome, but as you step outside the hut you realise that the German P.O.W. camp you are imprisoned in, is full of graphical details.
The game runs rather slowly unfortunately (a problem that the C64 suffered with many of these isometric games, it seems) but when there is no need for scrolling, the game runs perfectly fine.
Daytime is always shown in black and white, whereas night time the graphics turn nicely to blue outlines with black background giving a great sense of atmosphere and a feeling that you can creep around in the dark undetected :) Unless the prison spotlights move across you, then all hell will break loose. Get caught, and you're confined to 24hours in solitary confinement.
Being caught causes your morale to decline (morale is symbolised at the side of the screen by a flagpole. The less the morale, the lower the flag flies). You can gain extra morale throughout the game by completing daring tasks and receiving Red Cross Parcels at various times.
Obviously, by now, you realise the aim of the game is to escape from the camp. But to do so unprepared for what lay ahead after would be foolish. This is where a reasonably simple yet detailed item management aspect of the game comes into play. You can collect items to aid your escape in more than one way, but you also need to store other things too, which you can do so by stealing them from various guard rooms or mess halls etc. around the camp and depositing them in one of two underground man-made tunnels.
Again, you need to find items such as a flash-light and shovel to traverse these tunnels. Everything is a wonderfully constructed puzzle in this game. Nothing taxing, but every action has a purpose and the game does this very well.
Leaving your character standing causes the game to take him over and he will mill around the camp, acting out the days menial tasks such as roll call, meal times or exercise time. Handy for getting the game to aid you, when you NEED to be somewhere at a certain time.
This game, despite its relatively simple puzzle elements, was never easy. It is actually quite difficult to escape. Slightly clunky pick-up/drop controls add to the frustrations at times, but you'll probably always come back for more.
I actually do not think that you can die inside the camp. Your morale can drop to zero and the game will take over your character, but eventually you can gain control back i assume, once a little morale has increased.
The game has atmosphere in spades. A thoughtful game pace and leaves you wanting more once you have escaped. It is definitely one of the very best isometric 3D adventure games around on the 8 bit machines.
There are several different gameplay elements to experience, seeing as this is quite an old game of it's type. Being able to disguise yourself as a German guard, lock picking, poisoning prison officers, hiding stolen items in tunnels, cutting through wire fences and lots more. Highly recommended!
Downloads: Music, Advert
|GRAPHICS - 7/10|
|As usual, the C64 doesn't like to run these kinds of games. It seems to be a direct port of the Speccy version, monochrome graphics and all, but is a bit more jerky and a lot slower. BUT, the detail is wonderful and the night time feel is very atmospheric.|
|SOUND - 1/10|
|Virtually non existent, bar an annoying alarm bell that sounds when time calls for it. Other than that the odd blip or blop here and there to signify items being picked up/dropped. Some tape versions load with the awesome Ocena Loader V2 melancholy theme tho. :)|
|PLAYABILITY - 9/10|
|Despite some clunky control issues with object handling and some initially vague problem solutions, this game should have you hooked for hours. You can really feel a sense of tension, especially when getting caught out by the guards and then you having to make a dash for it. Can you make it to a tunnel in time!?|
|OVERALL - 8/10|
|Had the game continued outside the camp, it'd been wonderful, but what you have here is still a good amount of gametime. Not too taxing that it becomes frustrating, but not so simple it becomes boring. Just a great computer game!|