Title Captain Blood Game Type Action-Strategy Company Infogames Released 1988 Players 1 HD Installable Yes (With Patch) Compatibility All (With Patch) Submission Nick Scott (HP_Lovecraft@hotmail.com) Review Captain Blood is the strangest game I've ever played on the Amiga. Bar None, and I've seen plenty of strange games in my days. Here is the premise: You are "Captain Blood". Some sort of intergalactic space pirate, who is dying. You need some special fluid to survive, or you will be dead in a couple of days. In order to get more fluid, you have to locate clones of yourself that were scattered throughout the universe, and take their "fluids". Apparently, they know you want their "fluids", and have all gone into hiding. The general point of the game is searching for these clones, so you can kill them, and extract the "fluids", live a few more days, and then find another clone. You find these clones by travelling around the galaxy, talking to aliens, and doing basic detective work. You spend the game sitting at the controls of your spaceship, called the "ark" which looks rather like a Giger drawing. You start the game by opening a map of the galaxy, with a variety of planets on display. You pick a planet by connecting a line from your current planet, to your destination, and you travel there by hyperspace.... The map only shows known planets, but you can also travel anywhere in the galaxy by entering a set of coordinates. Once you're in orbit around the planet, you have a few options: You can blow it up, scan it for defenses, or land and talk to some aliens. "Landing" sounds like a simple task, but apparently, in this Galaxy, all the aliens live at the ends of long, dangerous valleys, and you need to fly through them in order to find the aliens. This opens up a very interesting flight-simulator mode on Captain Blood: The graphics are all vector, but the update speed is VERY fast, and it makes for extremely realistic effects. I remember at the time (1988) it was one of the most impressive things I've seen my Amiga do. The landing mode gets tiresome very soon. As impressive as it is, it's pretty much the same scene over and over. As the game gets longer, the landing-sequence just gets faster, and occationally, you need to avoid missle-launchers. Unfortunately, you need to do it in order to land, and talk to the Aliens. This brings up the reason why this game is so strange: The Aliens TALK, but they don't speak English! They speak some weird alien language, which you don't understand. So, you have to communicate with the aliens using the UPCOM system. It is a series of 150 icons, that all have some meaning (like alien, friend, kill, help, laugh, clone, etc). There are a lot of different words, and you have to arrange them into sentences. The alien uses the same system, but usually gives cryptic messages like "ALIEN FRIEND CODE LIKE". The trick is to ask the alien if he knows where the clone is, or at least where to find somebody that does. Sounds simple, but there are 10 different RACES of aliens, and they all speak a completely different dialect. A simple word might be a greeting to one race, but an insult to another. Some races only speak gibberish, and some are specifically trying to fool you. So, not only is using the UPCOM extremely difficult to learn, but you basically have to use a different system for each alien race you come across. To put it simply, it's hard! After a while though, it almost becomes second nature. It helps to keep a little notebook of sentences that WORK for each alien race. Also keep track of all the coordinates they give you for clones, and other aliens that are "not on the map". At first, I hated Captain Blood, but eventually the UPCOM system fascinated me. Very clever! I've never seen anything like it since. Certainty not for everyone, but a challenging and addictive game. Also, apart from the graphics and gameplay, the music and sound effects were actually pretty good. I remember the ads for the game promoted the fact that some famous French musician made the music, and there was even a CD released!