Dragon 32 Universe
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HOOKED!

Is no hobby safe from the avid games programmer? Angling is the latest attempt to glue you to your monitor, a rather more sedate activity than the usual sources of inspiration, like aquaplaning and pot-holing, so what next? A game based on philately or aimed at students of gothic architecture?

Objectives

You must land as many fat fish as you can in whatever time limit you choose, and you can have one- or two-player games.

In Play

In fact, a variety of options are open to you, all put to you at the start. There are four skill levels; you can have the fish still or moving, you can use keyboard or joystick, and have any time limit up to 15 minutes. After choosing, the picture forms in PMODE 3 showing an angler seated by a riverband with rod and line stretched out over the water. Under the surface are a couple of fish, each with yellow biting zones round their heads.

Using joystick or arrow keys you first try to set the length of the rod so that it is directly above your fishy target, then set the depth of the cast according to a scale that appears beneath the angler. Pressing the fire-button or 'C' key makes the cast, which has to land right within the yellow zone to be successful. You have three attempts before the fish move to different positions, while if you cast your line into the river-bed you have three chances to recover it, before the line breaks.

If you get a fish on the line the angler stands up, a landing net appears in the water, and you must manoeuvre the fish safely into the net without getting too close to the frame, or the line breaks and the fish swims merrily off avoiding that rendezvous with a plate of chips. Each time you land a fish you're told the type and weight of your catch, and a running total is kept as long as you're in time or want to keep playing.

A sloppy piece of programming asks after every catch if you want to fish again. If you type 'Yes' then you can't alter the skill level or other conditions, while if you type 'No' the program ends and has to be re-RUN.

The graphics are what you'd expect from the Dragon using simple Basic, while the sound is limited to a few beeps. Nevertheless the game requires a fine eye, particularly on the hardest level where you're aiming at what appears to be a single pixel on the screen. Overall, the game soon became boring. It might appeal more to the very young, or perhaps suit a family challenge.

Verdict

I wasn't hooked, and I can't see this finding a place in many software collections.