Arcade sequences will probably be around as long as there are computer games simulating big business. No one really wants to linger over a spreadsheet; it's a little too much like the real world. You have to hand it to Black Gold, an oil-drilling simulation from Electronic Zoo; it never gets bogged down with figures.
You run an oil company in competition with three human or computer opponents via an interface clean enough to eat off. Icons bracket a graphic of your office: a telephone to receive disaster reports and supply-contract offers; a briefcase to tackle oil field fires; a desk drawer for sabotage against rivals; investigations to protect against sabatoge; your balance sheet; a map for a look at the big picture; a newspaper for the big event of the moment; and a computer (where you'll spend most of your time) for everything else. Missing, oddly, are oil tankers and oil spills. Don't these guys read the papers?
Black Gold has a good deal of detail to be tickled with. You choose a company logo and your office decor. Plus, you can choose between four game lengths. (A requester to set difficulty levels for the three arcade games wouldn't have been a bad idea, either.) Your computer is an Amiga, complete with clickable icons and closable windows - and a "Games" disk in the floppy drive. The graphics are almost all pleasing to the eye, and the music is jaunty and tuneful to a fault.
The three action sequences - the only real occasions for disk access, by the way - are basic, colorful, and playable enough. One that you'll be repeating a lot at the start involves simply keeping your drill bit within a set of concentric circles. Another has a little man running all over creation to dynamite burning oil rigs, with the amount of dynamite tuned to the size of the flames. Best, and most difficult, is a brisk, pipedream-ish game in which you must race the computer to build an oil line between two points while avoiding obstacles. All three of these get monotonous after a bit, but once the money's flowing, you can pay specialists to perform two of the tasks.
Gameplay in all three sequences, however, is rather removed from real field tasks in the industry, and the games aren't sophisticated or authentic enough to feel like extensions of the main strategic portion of the game. They are interludes rather than true subgames.
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Cannon Fodder, Black Viper AGA, Defender of the Crown, Birds of Prey, Bermuda Project, Centurion: Defender of Rome, Battle of Britain, The, Cannon Fodder 2
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