Captive (Second Review)

Title           Captive (Second Review)
Game Type       RPG
Players         1
Compatibility   KS 1.3
Submission      Andy Thomas (

This was a funny old game.  I remember with great fondness figuring
out every possible combination of 4 button presses which would allow
me to get into the base complex my droids had just landed outside.
That was until I figured out what the dice were for, of course!
So, what sort of game was Captive?  Well, having seen Dungeon Master,
I'd have to say it was a rather hi-tech version of that.  The setting
was that you'd been imprisoned for a looooong time, but you wake up
to find your captors vanished and a remote control unit for some
droids availabe to you.  With this in hand, you have to set about
moving through a series of base complexes, setting them to detonate,
and then getting out before they do.
Games like Captive were the precursors to the like of Doom and Quake.
You could only move, look and fire in 4 directions.  However, in this
situation you control four droids, rather than one character.  As you
take out the inevitable bad guys, starting with shovel wielding
Pixies with attitude, and working up to ED-209 clones, you earn money,
and that money could then be used at shops.  Your cash got you
anything from better limbs, to remote control cameras, to specialist
devices called Devs (!) which would allow you to do wonderful things
like see in the dark or walk on the ceiling.  The latter was actually
useful if you chose to flood an area, as the water would hurt your
droids' feet.  No, seriously!
Apart from a seriously groovy intro tune, which I used to just leave
running, Captive really pulled you in.  Even outside the bases it was
interesting.  You'd go and investigate a noise only to come face to
face with a Brontasaurus!  It also had a very good learning curve.
Bases started small and got huge, and the enemies didn't get too
impossible to deal with too early.
The real surprise came when you'd battled your way through about 10
bases or so and actually managed to rescue yourself, only to find
yourself being grabbed by a nasty and the whole thing starting again!
As I understood it, the first few levels were very specifically
designed, but thereafter the game autogenerated new bases for you to
work through.  Interestingly the weapons available, along with the
body parts your droids could use, continued to improve.
It was the little touches in Captive which made it interesting.
There were invisible walls, and moving walls, and walls which slid up
when you hit the trigger.  There were electricity sockets around
bases which you could use to recharge your droids' batteries, or if
you were in a bind, you could actually discharge the electricity as a
weapon instead!  Also, if one of your droids "died" by virtue of his
chest being completely wrecked, you could either pick up the pieces,
or remember where you left him, and then go and get a new chest from
a shop in order to rebuild him.  After all, you had the technology!
Its infinite nature, and all the little puzzles, and even the new
enemies you encountered all made Captive a great game to play.  It
could be frustrating at times, and often running away was a very good
idea, if only to buy more ammo to throw at something!  The most
thrilling part was always trying to get out of the base before the
blast wave caught up with you.  There was a Dev to help you, but it
still required dexterity with the mouse to get out.  Captive was a
real brain stretcher, even if the actual concept had to some degree
been covered before.  Top stuff.

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