Whales Voyage CD32

Title           Whales Voyage CD32
Game Type	RPG
Players		1
Compatibility	CD32 and CD ROM equipped AGA machines
HD installable  No
Publisher	Flair Software
Developer	NEO
Submission      John Burns (john@jgb.abelgratis.co.uk) Profiled Reviewer

This is my third review for the AGDB and before I begin I must apologise
that yet again it's not a recommended game. No it isn't that I hate all
games rather that most of the ones which I like have already been done to
death. C'est la Vie.

I'll begin at the start with the documentation which, compared to that
provided with the floppy version, is quite good. At least it explains the
main mechanics of the game and the controls. So lets start the game.

Once the disc boots up you are presented with an intro screen and a rather
good CD quality vocal track which only serves to lull you into a false
sense of security for what is to follow. Once past this you have to
generate your characters by choosing a mother, father and then directing
their education. Standard fare so far but then you are given the option
to genetically manipulate your characters stats by a random number of
points (up to 10). This is the first thing which appears to be wrong in
the game. The manual warns you that if you use this option your character
will be more likely to suffer from disease. A dire warning indeed, but
unfortunately it just ain't true; even when you use all ten points to
change the stats, your characters won't get ill. Why? I can only suppose
that illness/disease was a feature that was dropped somewhere along the

Ok, so we now have our four characters and enter the game proper. This is
where the next and perhaps biggest problem comes to the fore, the
cumbersome control system. Moving your party around is easy enough using
the directional pad but once you have to fight anyone you notice the
shortcomings of the method used. In combat you first have to target your
opponent then fire, an easy enough task when you are fighting someone with
a very poor weapon at the start, but an almost impossible task later on in
the game when your adversaries have weapons which can virtually kill you with
just one shot. I could maybe excuse this had it been a limitation imposed
by use of the joypad, but having checked the floppy version which used a
combination of keyboard and joystick and was just as bad if not worse, so
I'm afraid it's once again down to the programmers.

Before I go further and describe the game I'll detail the second major
failing of the game which is the lack of a save game facility. I know
that the floppy version could only save one game per disk so given the
size of the non volatile memory in the CD32 it's not surprising. Of course
this doesn't make it excusable. Codes are generated throughout the game
which enable you to restart from these points but when you do you are
given a predetermined party and inverntory which at least let's you
complete the game (the furthest I ever managed with my original party was
about 3/4 way) I don't know about you but part of the enjoyment of an RPG
for me has been seeing your characters develop and gain in experience
throughout a game due to my guidance. So it really irks to have died due
to a clumsy control system and then be forced to use some pretty pants
characters which aren't of my choosing.

So apart from that what is the game like? Well graphically it plays in a
first person perspective 3D mode like most games in the genre. The
graphics themselves are nothing outstanding, no texture mapped walls,
floors or ceilings, but adequate for the game. The graphics for Non player
characters are flat and pretty uninteresting. Likewise sound effects are
adequate if uninspiring being mainly gunshots. The problems and sub tasks
which you encounter are easy and straightforward enough to solve requiring
no lateral, or even much, thought.

So what are the games good points?  Well none really, it's too easy to
complete and coupled to the aformentioned control problem make this game a
non starter for me. Thankfully I got the game along with a CD32 from a
friend for free so I can't complain about it being a waste of money but,
if you buy it, you will.

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