The Interstellar Revenue Decimation Service IRDS (the tax men) have got it in for Jack T. Ladd, small time smuggler and contraband dealer. They want loads of money within the next 28 days or else they are going to do something very nasty to him. In order to earn enough cash to pay off this debt he must beg, borrow, swop, steal - basically anything legal or illegal that doesn't involve manual labor.
Exciting plot isn't it? What really amazes me is that they managed to stretch it out to fill 31 pages in the manual. Creative writing or what?
YOU'LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE COPPER
You control Jack using a series of icons on the base of the screen. There are six basic controls: take, use, move, look, scan and talk. All fairly obvious. An interesting option is the speed setting, which allows you to set how long speech stays on screen.
There's a map in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen which guides you around the three planets and Cloud City. However, because it only shows you Jack's immediate surroundings, for example the room he is in, it is really only useful if you need to get to the nearest entrance or exit in a hurry, achieved by clicking on arrows that are on the map.
There is an inventory area which shows all the gear you are carrying and you can pick up and use objects from this window. You can also place objects in jack's pocket which means a lot of kit can be carried. Some items need to be combined to be used and this is done in the Inventory panel. There is also a status window where you can see just how well you are doing in your quest for wealth.
At the beginning you simply have to acquire objects and swop them for others, increasing value each time. Later on things get more complicated when objects have to be combined. The first rule of thumb when playing Jack T. Ladd is to steal first and think later. Scruples get you nowhere.
IT'S A FAIR COP
Generally, the background graphics are good in Innocent Until Caught but you expect this from graphic adventures these days. Jack T. Ladd himself is nothing special. The animation is good on his character, but is spoiled by a slow update that is frustrating when you try to pick up an object. Jack's hand tries grabbing at the object to pick it up, but he seems like he just does not want to.
Your enjoyment of the game will to a certain extent, depend on your appreciation of its humor. This is wry and rather sarcastic, and, dare I say, quite sexist. I know that it won't suit everyone.
Innocent Until Caught suffers, to a certain extent, from being produced by a company that is much better known for its arcade and platform games that its adventures . Yes, there are some inventive features and interesting, even funny situations, but the game seems to lack a hook, something exciting that'll keep you up until the small hours playing it.
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