The whole world, it seems, has gone completely puzzle mad over the last few months. We've seen lemmings, tomatoes, dragons, cavemen, the obligatory Tetris clones, and even packets of crisps take centre stage for a brief flirtation with fame and hoped-for fortune. Most of these have enjoyed at least some level of success, although it was beginning to look as if the puzzle genre was heading down the old platform path - i.e, overcrowded and in need of new ideas. Zeppelin Software have decided to get themselves a piece of the action and Sink or Swim is a rare venture by them into the heady world of the full-price game.
As is fashionable nowadays, the game comes complete with a cutie-pie character whom Zeppelin no doubt hope will aspire to the heights of Sonic, Mario, James Pond, et al. He's Kevin Codner - and his mission? Rescue the Dim Passengers from the treacherous galleys of the doomed liner, SS Lucifer. Cod help us all... There's no actual indication as to why, but the SS Lucifer is sinking fast. It's holier than the Pope's tea strainer and water is flooding into every corner of the packed ship. The passengers are more than a little worried, and are running around the ship in a panicked attempt to escape: common sense seems to have taken temporary leave from just about everyone though - few have made it to safely, and somebody is needed to restore calm and generally play hero.
So Kevin Codner (cringe) is the man for the job, and it's up to you to ensure he carries it out properly and in time. The SS lucifer is divided into many different sections - 60 to be precise, and the Dim Passengers (double cringe) must be guided from each one of these in turn before the water level becomes too high. As Kev arrives, the DPs come careering into the room through the various escape chutes and promptly begin their collective impersonation of a headless chicken in a breadcrumb factory. Although panicked, the passengers will always try to head for safety. The trouble is that a safe looking place may not always be easy to reach and before you know it, a swimathon is taking place. The idea is obviously to guide the passengers to their escape hatch via the quickest and safest route.
Action takes place in several different parts of the ship and the levels are represented by typical pieces of "shiplike" equipment. Conveyors and machines prevail in the engine rooms while hoists and crates fill the cargo hold. As well as providing an interesting background, these are important elements in solving many of the puzzles, as switches and levers may provide new escape routes for the passengers. A set number of passengers must be saved from each level (a la Lemmings), and only then can the wondrous Kevin continue his daring mission in another part of the ship.
Bombs are provided from the outset and are useful both for blowing up crates in the search for hidden exits and for clearing debris from the passengers' path. In certain areas, water levels may already be critical and Kevin will need to spend a little time under water - he does have a limited supply of oxygen in the bag on his back. Also scattered around the place are wall holders containing jet packs; dropped into the freezing depths, these act as saviour to many a drowning passenger. If all else fails, the rescue dinghy can be launched as a last resort - not too good for Kev's credibility as a rescuer of the highest order though, so use it sparingly.
Wings and a prayer
If too many passengers on any particular level are killed (the manual calls them Angels, but let's not mask the truth!) then the lights go out to signify the effectual end of the mission. Passwords are doled out after each level and the sections themselves, though small, pack in a good deal of detail and enough bogus clues to render the game frustrating. The graphics are cute, though the sound could have been slightly more boisterous, and while Sink or Swim is not in the same class as Lemmings, it's a neat twist on an old formula and should please the puzzle fans.
You have to rescue passengers from the sinking SS Lucifer by directing them to the exit before it's too late. You have 60 levels to pass each having its own puzzle to be solved...
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