Captive logo Amiga Format Gold

MINDSCAPE £24.99 * Mouse

Prisons are no fun, especially when the prison in question is a starship that draws its power from a series of remote planet bases. Knocking out the power in order to facilitate an escape could prove difficult, bearing in mind your limited travel potential. That is where the lap-top computer that is lying in your cell comes in handy. Using its remote control facility, you are able to direct the actions of four droids. Worked properly they can free the Captive.

Essentially a DM clone, Captive replaces all that namby-pamby magic with heavy-duty military hardware. Before the game really starts, though, you have to find the first generating complex. After landing on any number of worlds, you will finally locate the start zone: and then it is time to bring on the droids. Before they can go anywhere, the droids need a brain chip implant, so that they can become your interface with the outside world.

The droids explore, fight beasties, collect kit and destroy power stations. Their movements are wholly controlled by an icon cluster consisting of a directional pad for movement of the whole squad, a party order selector and a 'weapon held' section.

As the game progresses it is possible to develop your team from a bunch of dumb robotic fist fighters into a highly-armoured weapons unit. As they gain experience they develop skills with bigger and better weapons.

One big advantage of using droids is that they are easily rebuilt. If a bit of bot gets damaged, guide them to the local Droids 'R' Us shop - they are everywhere - and buy a new arm, leg or and. On the flip side, droids drain power and must find wall-mounted power points for a regular recharge.

After negotiating the base entrance and parading your team into marching order you are ready to begin. Using the usual forwards, backwards, sidestep and turn controls, moving is easily mastered. What droids have in their hand is pretty easy regulated too. Access their backpack, pick up an item and drag it to the hand symbol.

The first few foes are a sorry bunch. Unfortunately so are the droids, who have to learn the basics of punching before they get their hands on anything as outrageous as a gun. From here on in the game takes the familiar route of wandering and mapping, bashing and collecting, as you search your way through the ten generator dungeons to set yourself free.


What the Captive sees via his robots is determined by the leader. If this droid has an accident or gets bashed then the view distorts as the vision circuits get damaged. There are neat touches with silly foes and creatures that transform into hideous beasts. There is the ability to use remote cameras and other scanning devices in the bank of monitors above the main screen. With the game running on one screen, through which sub-screens are accessed, the graphics are flexible and inventive. They allow up to six different areas of play to be watched simultaneously. With constant reminders of droids' stats on screen too, all you ever need to know is compactly and clearly displayed.
The sound too makes some bold efforts. If you blast something down a corridor then the pitch varies in a mock Doppler effect. It is not perfect but serves to illustrate the amount crammed into the game.


Ten dungeons and the guy is rescued! That does not sound promising, but even tackling this small number is a real challenge. If, however, you manage to survive this ordeal, then there is 64,890 more surprises waiting for the newly-liberated captive.
As with any game of this style there is a certain amount of unavoidable frustration as you become used to handling your droids and their kit. Once familiar with the game, it gathers pace, becoming a frantic charge into the unknown. It has a nastily strong hook: just finding sillier monsters is enough of a spur. Captive demands playing time after time as you grow in power and proximity to the prison.


A captive is what you start the game as and soon a true captive of this immense challenge is what you will become. It has the same absorbing qualities that made DM such a hit. The variety of monsters is frightening - quite literally at times - and it takes time to fully appreciate the game's finer points. There is a healthy return on the time invested in play, because Captive is staggeringly big. Rescuing the Captive is just the beginning: as your destructive potential increases, so you will want to probe deeper into this fantasy world. Captive is at the vanguard of second-generation 3D maze adventures. Magic has been replaced with an impishly violent technology, while warriors and wizards can now explore from the comfort of their own prison cell.

Captive logo

Wer Rollenspiele mag, aber nicht schon wieder eine entführte Prinzessin aus den Klauen eines feuerspeienden Drachen befreien will, liegt bei Captive goldrichtig: Statt Orks und Zwergen schleichen hier Droiden durch die Gänge.

Captive entführt uns in die schöne neue Welt des Jahres 2542: Ein unbarmherziges Gericht hat einen armen Unschuldigen dazu verurteilt, die nächsten 250 Jahre tiefgekühlt (!) im Gefängnis zu verbringen. Früher als erwartet, wacht er aus seinem frostigen Schlaf wieder auf und stellt fest, daß sein Gedächtnis futsch ist. Aber was ist das? Neben sich auf dem harten Steinboden bemerkt er einen altmodischen Holographic-Computer. Glücklicherweise liegt auch noch die Bedienungsanleitung dabei, und schon nach kurzer Zeit ist er sich sicher: Mit diesem hübschen Gerät könnte die Flucht gelingen...

Der Hauptscreen von Captive zeigt das Bedienungsfeld des Computers mit fünf kleinen Monitoren am oberen Rand und einem großen Bildschirm in der Mitte. Mit dem Computer steuert der Spieler vier Droiden, wobei die Monitore das Geschehen aus deren Perspektive zeigen. Logisch, daß die Suche nach der eigenen Identität und Freiheit nicht ohne Komplikationen abgeht: Überall laueren gefährliche Gegner, die sich oft nur mit vereinter Droidenkraft zerstören lassen. Andere Charaktere, denen man begegnet, zeigen sich da schon weitaus kooperativer und helfen mit Informationen oder wichtigen Gegenständen. Bei all dem erweist sich der Computer als äußerst nützlich: Mit seiner Hilfe kann man zu anderen Planeten fliegen, den Zustand der Droiden überprüfen und sie gegebenenfalls reparieren. Hat so ein Droide beispielsweise im Kampf einen Arm verloren, ist das überhaupt kein Problem - in einschlägigen Spezialgeschäften gibt es reichlich Ersatz.

Captive bietet zwar allerlei Puzzels und ist auch sehr komplex, bringt aber keine wirklich neuen Elemente ins (Rollen-)Spiel; Sieht man einmal vom Science Fiction Milieu ab, gibt es hier kaum etwas, was man nicht schon von Games wie "Legend of Faerghail" oder "Dragonflight" her kennt. Mehr noch: Sowohl der Screenaufbau, als auch die zahlreichen Labyrinthe, ja praktisch das komplette Game entpuppt sich als SF-Variante des Klassikers "Dungeon Master" die ganz große Klasse des Vorbilds erreicht Captive allerdings nicht.

Was grafisch und soundmäßig geboten wird, ist ganz nett und abwechslungsreich (die verschiedenen Dungeons unterscheiden sich optisch von einander), jedoch keinesfalls herausragend. Gesteuert wird weitgehend problemlos mit der Maus, um aber erstmal die Funktionen der kunterbunten Icons herauszufinden, muß man sich schon eingehend mit der humorvoll geschriebenen Anleitung beschäftigen. Alles in allem ist Captive kein Meilenstein, aber auch nicht übel - Fans des Genres sollten den Droiden ruhig mal eine Chance geben. (C. Borgmeier)

Captive logo CU Amiga Screenstar

If Captive has anything it is longevity. Programmer Tony Crowther estimates an average game from start to finish would take about forty years to complete, give or take a month, despite the fact that playing through to the end would involve finishing the game several times. It sounds a bit unusual, but do not be put off - it does not affect the gameplay.

A prisoner in some future gaol, you use your laptop computer and four remote controlled droids to break out to freedom. The federation prison is like Alcatraz but worse. The only way your droids can reach you is by destroying the power generators which are secreted around the galaxy.

Once inside base one, the object is to find some explosives to destroy the generator then kill the scientist who runs the base. Once he is offed, you pick up a little device that guides you to the next base. Then all you need to do is to plant the explosives in the generator and get out the explosion. It sounds easy enough, but there is loads of pit falls, trick doors and other hazards to negotiate, not to mention some rather large multi-level maps. Help is at hand though; first there are Zlot weapons, which can be found in cupboards around the base. They are slightly damaged weapons that can be used by anybody, but only in that base. You can also pop into the weapons shops. Shoot an alien and it leaves behind a bag of money; you will need plenty - it costs a truckload of cash to buy any major artillery.

The majority of the graphics are in the style of Dungeon Master and the Interplay RPGs, with 3D scrolling walls disappearing into the distance. The main difference here is that the computer designs the maps as you reach them, this eliminates the problem of the computer having to store enough maps to fill all 64,000 levels.

Naturally enough, the mazes containing the generators contain a huge array of aliens, ranging from little pixies to a rather violent ED-209 rip off, who should be handled with care. Early on in the game you have to rely on droids, bare hands and brawling skills to tide you through, though later on some devastating weapons can be pitted against your adversaries.

As the opposition gets tougher so do your robots. Every time they win a battle they gain experience points that can be used to further their skills and permit the use of more advanced weapons. Their limbs can be exchanged for tougher, better shielded ones; but these put a drain on the robot's internal power source which is contained in its torso, so upgraded chests need to be bought as well.

The game only really contains one screen. All commands are issued through a fairly straightforward system of icons. Clicking on one of the four robot pictures gives a status report and inventory as well as letting you exchange experience points for skills. There is a window showing the view from the lead robot, movement icons and status icons. At the top of the screen is a bank of monitors; these come on when you buy hardware for the droids, such as shields, mappers or radars. The hand icons show what a robot is holding. Click on them with the right button and the droid will throw what he is holding or shoot a weapon or punch.

Although sparse, the sound is also worth a mention as it features a "surround sound" style system. If you run it through a pair of head phones you really do get the impression of objects coming up from behind you and passing in front of you.

Captive is extremely big and initially complicated. Although it is fun to play, the lack of an achievable objective makes it feel slightly pointless after a while. That said it is still a very good game which will appeal to all Dungeon Master veterans and RPG fans alike.

Captive logo Zzap! Sizzler

UBI Soft, Amiga £29.99

You've been imprisoned in a cell, in suspended animation - for two hundred years - for a crime you didn't commit. Then... 'I think it has been two days since I woke up. All I remember is hearing a low hum of machinery and then realising I could feel myself against the cold metal slab. It took me about three hours to pull some of the tubes and stuff out of me and think about getting up. That was a mistake.'

The way to escape your prison is via the briefcase handily found nearby.

Within is a computer, used to control four robots - who happened to respond to your SOS call. Each droid is divided into component parts, enabling a variety of configurations (different types of arms, legs, heads etc). The four droids move around together forming the classic RPG party.

To escape you must manoeuvre the droids through ten bases holding the fortress prison in orbit. Destroy the power source in each base and find the spacecraft needed to transport the robots to the next base.

The opposition is varied and imaginative. Dinosaur sea monsters, dragons and mechanical tanks must be combatted using the friendly icon interface. Each cluster of icons performs specific actions, e.g. the movement icons turn you to the left/right, forward/backward, up/down and rotate. Each droid can be moved around in the party, its icon displaying a simplified health and power meter (although more detailed stats displays can be accessed).

The view window is the largest section on the screen. This screen is the view through the eyes of one of the robots. Incidently, if you look through the eyes of one of the robots with an insectoid head and multifaceted eyes, you will see a blurred, distorted picture - nice touch.

The view window resembles Dungeon Master with its 3-D style. Clicking on a droid's hand completes combat. If it is empty he will punch, if he holds a weapon he will fire it. Skills dominate the success of many actions, combat included. So a reasonable proficiency in the weapon you're carrying will be required to inflict serious damage.

Damages lead to injuries. You will need to wander around searching for a shop to repair or replace limbs and buy other items. Above the main view screen are five mini-screens displaying extra info such as seen through remote cameras. Captive is a must for Dungeon Master fans. As a true RPG it has many of the drawbacks that Dungeon Master had (very little interaction, fictional combat etc). However, the gameworld is well designed, the plot and the opponents are imaginative and the puzzles are challenging with many thrills and spills to keep you on the edge of your chair. Captivating stuff!