Remember those really boring Physics lessons where you sneakily read a Science Fiction book under the desk instead of listening to Sir rant on about the Solar System? Well now you can catch up on all that lost knowledge and have a bit of fun into the bargain.
I previewed this game in YS and I reckon I know even less about it now than I did then. That's not to say it's not good - it's excellent. But it is very complicated and it'll take you some time just to figure out what you're supposed to do, let alone actually do it!
The Planets is a two tape program - there's over 125K in that there game! On the first tape there's the main game itself and Weird, a very peculiar arcade game that's designed to be as mind boggling as possible. On the second tape you'll find the data for each of the planets in the Solar System including information about each planet's physical properties, orbiting moons and so on.
You start off in search of eight capsules that provide clues to help you save the Earth from destruction. But in order to find them you must visit each planet in turn, search for the capsules, land and then work out how to open them by decoding their inscriptions.
And by Jupiter it ain't easy! Landing poses a bit of a problem 'cos you have to take into account each planet's physical properties, such as gravity and atmospheric conditions and adjust the speed of your craft accordingly. If you touch down faster than 20m/s you're a gonner and you have to go through the whole process again.
Once you've discovered the secrets of one black metal box it's off into space to find another - that's if you've remembered to leave yourself enough fuel. Select the long range navigational chart and move the cursor to the planet of your choice and away you go. Now all you've got to contend with is the barrage of asteroids and meteor storms. All, I say!
If this wasn't enough you've also got to play the alien game, Weird, as solving it will provide you with clues to help you in the main game. It took me nearly an hour to work out I wasn't actually playing the game but changing the joystick control option!
It's a dead cinch to operate even on the keyboard as everything is icon driven. And as for the graphics - they're amazing. You get a satellite eye's view of the surface of each planet and all in glorious technicolour.
If you're looking for a great game that's both informative and fun to play, look no further. The Planets really does help you work, rest and play!
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