Unfortunately, the energy powering the scout craft isn't
covered by the government grant, so the amount of energy
you are supplied with is very meagre indeed. Not to
worry though, they say that in a few of the more recently
discovered dimensions there's plenty of energy to be
collected. It would be wise to take advantage of such
power sources, as it looks good when you're going for
craft you are given is none too impressive; it's one
of those old fashioned centrifugal drive inverted pyramids
and happens to be called GERALD (Gyroscopic Environmental
Reconnaissance And Land-Mapping Device). So there you
have it, do a good job and the rewards will be far from
sparse. Otherwise . . . Well, you don't want to be Trainee
Assistant Cartographer all your life, do you?
the astute reader may well have surmised by now, Spindizzy
places you on an unknown world, just aching to be mapped.
Not an easy task considering there are 429 different
sections to be explored and recorded. GERALD is an intelligent
beast, equipped with the latest in scenery interpretation
software. You view the outside world through a scanner
and the immediate area is represented as a forced 3D
perspective view. There's a bit of an anomaly here in
that you can actually see your own craft even though
you are sat inside it. Still, with practise it is quite
easy to adjust to this strange point of view. However,
if the viewpoint occasionally proves awkward, for example,
when GERALD is behind a pillar and is proving troublesome
to control, then the angle of view can be altered with
a mere keypress.
scanner tends to simplify the outside world quite a
bit and it all looks very angular. The computer enhances
all backgrounds with a grid pattern overlay to help
the viewer recognise the 3D shapes on a 2D screen. At
first glance the view seems quite familiar, bearing
a resemblance to the arcade game Marble Madness.
of GERALD's major design faults is his inability to
cope with some of the steep slopes. This is due to his
inferior drive unit, but a good run up can usually accumulate
the speed and momentum required to negotiate some of
the hills. The joystick is used to move GERALD in any
of the eight available directions and the fire button
gives an extra burst of energy and speed when pressed.
The main problem with control though, is the constant
battle against force and momentum.
the new world is hung in the infinity of space, falling
off it is not sensible. However, this is not as terminal
as it may seem -- GERALD can beam himself back to the
last location visited, but to do this he needs to tap
into his power supply and this results in a loss of
energy. If GERALD goes off a particularly steep incline
too fast, he is thrown high into the air and he lands
with a bump hefty enough to split him into four component
parts. Tapping into his energy reserves he's able to
reassemble once more, but the energy counter is depleted
accordingly. Life isn't all bad though, as there are
more than a few locations containing strange pulsating
power crystals which replenish your energy when collected.
Another counter keeps track of the jewels picked up
and it is quite an accurate indication of your progress,
since the planet can only be successfully mapped if
all the energy jewels are collected.
alien world contains evidence of previous inhabitants
of a very advanced level. Though they no longer reside
here, their buildings and constructions still exist.
Even though they are very ancient, quite a few of the
mechanisms still operate. In fact, using the lift system
is essential if you are to achieve any sort of worthwhile
progress. The lift platforms come in a variety of shapes
and sizes and most of them are prettily patterned. Painted
on the floors of several locations are representations
of the lift platforms. When entering the world all lifts
are passive, but moving over a lift icon activates the
respective platform. The trouble is that only two types
of lift can be activated at any one time and it is for
this reason that the patterns of any activated platforms
are displayed on the bottom left hand side of your scanner.
course, the idea of the game is to map the planet, so
your scanner also carries information showing how many
rooms are left to be mapped. If this isn't enough, a
mere touch of the M key draws up a map of the
planet and any locations visited are duly highlighted.
Pressing any other key returns you to the game.
exploration exploits come to an end when your energy
runs out. The bitter fruits of defeat do have their
sweet spots though, and in Spindizzy it's a detailed
debriefing of your progress from GERALD. Still, you
can always try again -- no-one wants to stay Junior
Assistant Cartographer forever! Do they?