THE story of Captain Blood is an unusual little tale - a third rate games programmer finally came up with the goods, a game so mega that he became part of it the first time he typed run. All was well until Bob made his first hyperspace jump and a glitch in the system resulted in him being cloned. Now there are 200 Bob Bloods scattered around the galaxy and each one contains a fraction of his vital fluids. Unless he captures every one of them and recovers the fluid he is doomed.
We join the story with only five clones remaining - hidden somewhere among the galaxy's 32,768 inhabitable planets.
You begin the game sat at the Ark's control panel, viewing the planet you are currently orbiting and Blood's bio-mechanical arm - this is your link with the game.
Too large to land on a plent, the Ark is equipped with a limited supply of Oorxx - mutated, remote controlled space fish. These are despatched to the planet's surface in an attempt to communicate with intelligent beings who may know the whereabouts of Bob's clones.
The ground skimming flight over the planet's surface is the game's only arcade-type sequence. With full control over the Oorxx's speed, altitude and direction, you wend your way over mountains and valleys in search of a canyon. Life forms, if present, will always be gound at the far end of a canyon.
Wireframe landscapes are animated quickly and smoothly, but some of the structures are difficult to pick out when flying over a ravine of rock pinnacles at speed. Having read glowing reviews of previous versions, I was a mite disappointed when I saw it for myself. The view from the Ark of the nearest planet is limited to a low resolution sphere of swirling colours - yawn.
Investigate the first planet you are initially presented with, as this is always inhabited. I mention this point because if you decide to go boldly where no man has gone before, you will get pretty bored - a surprisingly large number of the galaxy's planets are devoid of life. Assuming you have located your local friendly alien life form, the ship's Upcom will automatically burst into life. This Universal Protocol of Communication uses an icon system to allow conversation between beings of different worlds.
When Mr Alien speaks, a seris of icons appears on your Upcom display and running Blood's finger over the icons gives you a literal translation. Likewise you can piece together a sentence by selecting the relevant icons and then pressing the transmit button.
The game resolves around your ability to successfully interrogate aliens - many of whom have needs of a reproductive nature. If you can fulfil these needs - not personally - they may divulge information relevant to your quest.
Captain Blood is a game with good graphics and an excellent title tune, but sadly it lacks variety and depth in the gameplay department.