The subject of Magnetic Scrolls latest adventure is set to nibble on the bait of yet more admirers. Andy Moss reports on how Fishy is fish?
I hate fish. That's not to say I hate FISH! far from it, it is just that I hate fish. Real fish that is, so obviously when I was confronted with Magnetic Scrolls latest work, I was not chomping at the bit, to say the least. A more distasteful subject they could not have hoped to pick, still, in the name of good Journalism and never being one to let down our readers, I ploughed straight in to it, in an effort to bring you a full report, hook line and sinker, so to speak.
Mag Scrolls never fail to bring you the original, the new, the squeaky clean adventures, that others have yet to try, and since their last adventure, CORRUPTION was so critically acclaimed, we always hoped that this one would be Just as good. Well I have to report that in FISH! we have yet another flawed masterpiece, that just oozes with writing of a class way above any other adventure house, but is let down once again by a fussy parser. More about that later, first on to the plot. In FISH! you play the part of an Interdimensional espionage operative, and have fust completed one of the most dangerous missions of your career. You successfully apprehended the The Seven Deadly Fins, an inter-dimensional group of anarchists, who have been responsible for some of the most heinous crimes in living history. As a reward for this outstanding achievement your Boss, Rear Admiral Sir Playfair Panchax VC DSO FRT has allowed you to indulge in Voluntary Vacation Mode, which lets you relax in the guise of a whole range of different people and objects from Gardeners and Ticket Clerks, through to a printer or a weighted book. The ultimate reward, is to be a goldfish, doing nothing all day except swim around your bowl. All very relaxing indeed, and it is in this guise you find yourself when the adventure opens.
There you are swimming around picking on the food that is floating on top of the water, when BANG! all of a sudden you get hit on the head by a tacky plastic castle of all things. You decide to have a look inside, and realise that it is your boss's way of contacting you. Trouble is afoot, as the Seven Deadly Fins have escaped, and sabotaged a planet called Fishworld, whose inhabitants are, well, fish. They have stolen an object called a focus wheel, and dismantled it, so your vacation comes to an abrupt end as before you appear three warps. These are your gateways to the rest of the adventure, and in each place to which you get warped, will be another warp somewhere to take you on. During the course of your travels, you get to visit rain soaked forests, London recording studios, old churches with strange hippies grouped around a fire, and on in to time and space and beyond. Make no mistake, FISH! is the strongest plot line yet from the Scrolls team, yet the wit is as sharp as ever. My favourite line is when you are exploring an old altar, and come across finely beaded cord. What do you do? Pulling it, brings out a train guard who demands you pay a £50 fine, until he looks around, sees where he is and with an "oops, wrong place" goes back to wherever he came from!
The flaw I mentioned at the start concerning the parser is this. Scrolls began life with a fantastic parser, that could interpret complex "open door" games with us. There is nothing more frustrating than fighting with the program when it says "which door the wooden door or the studio door". Why not just Input "open door north", or even just "north", and if the door is unlocked, you walk through automatically.
This apart, Fish! has all you could want in an adventure, humour, puzzles and the usual Mag Scroll high quality pull down graphics. Now, where did I leave my fishing rod, I think after playing this, I have developed quite a liking for fishes.
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