It's make or break

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 August, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 August, 1995, 12:00am

FROM the cover of this game, you would think it was about a matador and some charging bull. The awesome bull's head and the name certainly are misleading. Maabus is far more complicated than a bullfight.

With three CD-ROMs, Maabus is a game that will take up lots of time and plenty of action.

In brief, Maabus is about a reconnaissance mission sent to the tiny island of Aloratora after dangerous levels of radiation are monitored there.

The island of Aloratora was created from the deposits of four volcanoes, three of which have since collapsed and become lagoons.

Smaller than the island of Manhattan in New York, the tropical island sits in an area of the Pacific known as the doldrums, about 1,500 kilometres southwest of Hawaii.

The US Department of Defence is alarmed when high levels of a mysterious form of radiation are discovered emanating from the island. A surveillance plane sent out crashed as a result of high radioactivity and magnetic interference.

The first reconnaissance team sent out after that is missing and presumed dead after reporting the discovery of unidentified tracks and markings and mutant animal life.

The department has calculated that, if left unchecked, the spreading radiation would pose an immediate threat to neighbouring areas such as Hawaii, Australia and South America.

As the officer-in-charge of the next team, it is your duty to pinpoint the source of radiation and destroy it before it destroys the whole world. The mission is a daunting one: succeed and you save the world, fail and the whole world blows up.

The game opens with a video sequence of Admiral Terrence Jefferson, which serves as background and an introduction to the game proper. If it is your first time at the game, it would be wise to listen to all the Admiral has to say, long-winded though he may be.

Your transportation and protection is the Krawler 1000, a state-of-the art vehicle with remote sensing and built to withstand any conditions on Earth, which is controlled by a satellite link.

It can also transform into a formidable attack weapon and is armed with short-range missiles, laser cannons, aerosol toxic guns and even has a grappling arm for close combat.

However, you will find as you get into the game, that all these weapons are not enough to save you from the first strange creature that bounds up and hits your screen.

The game comes with a very cinematic start with credits rolling on a 'big screen' set amongst a background of Roman pillars. And the video sequences of Admiral Jefferson are clear and smooth. But one complaint is that the explosive sequences are not nearly as spectacular as they could be, given that Maabus is talking about state-of-the-art equipment.

In the sequence when the island explodes followed by the Earth (if you fail in your mission), it is a paltry effort with little fire and brimstone.

With an exploration and action game like this, one would also expect more suspenseful background music and sensational sound effects. These too fall short.

It may seem unnecessarily complicated to newcomers but, in its defence, the game is great for players who like to test their reflex and wits, because it certainly requires plenty of both.

The game requires a 486-33mHz with Windows 3.1, SVGA, 4MB RAM and at least Dos 5.0.