Toiletries in space

Federation Quest One: BSS Jane Seymour logo

A WOKE to the quiet bleeping of the life monitor computers attached to my body. Either that was the one hell of a party or a huge asteroid belt. No bottles, must have been the asteroids. The headache subsided and I could remember abandoing ship in the emergency escape vessel. Could even remember pulling back into the Earth's orbit. Getting up and yanking the inbes and probes from my skin, an electronic voice announced that there was a state of emergency.

Gone was the sweet view of the Earth, to be replaced by a mass of 20 huge green Federation ships of the Regal Fleet. An SOS message bellowed through the corridors from the commander of the flagship, the biological survey ship, B.S.S. Jane Seymour. The commander began to tell of the plight of the fleet, how all 20 craft had been smothered with radiation from a Wolf-Raert Star going nova. "All systems are failing, and the only option appears to be to join the other crew members in the Cryogenics".

Apparently the ship's alive with alien creatures that have escaped from quarantine and are dangerous. The message was dated 8th July 2190, it's now 6th October 2195, and the Commander said that there was only enough power to sustain life for just 15 months.

After a conversation with the on-board computer I had no choice but to board the Jane Seymour and to risk my life to return to Earth. My own ship had not enough fuel to reach home and the only ship in this looming fleet that did was the last one. Unfortunately, because Federation bureaucracy is so stupid, boarding each ship is only possible in strict hierarchical order.

Apparently there are also a goodly amount of crew left on these ships but due to the level of radiation and lack of power for the life support, mutation forms are about 95 percent over the odds.

And so my quest was laid before me. I had to board each ship in turn to get home. The ships are malfunctioning and I also have to return each to at least 80 percent working order so that I may board the next.

The B.S.S. Jane Seymour is a clean ship. All corridors and paneling is very clean and sparkling, but there are a good few items littering the desks, many of which prove to be very useful. Strange though, I can't seem to turn around much and my movement is limited to straight ahead, back, left, and right using some kind of side-stepping motion - it really feels inhibititive not being able able to rotate. Also I don't seem to walk down the corridors. I just seem to jump from one place to another without seeing what went in between. Weird!

What the heck? Ugh! It just kissed me, huge, horrible red lips! Oh, I feel dizzy. Better use that medical syringe to heal my wounds after I've burnt the thing with this flame thrower. Right now, where's that energy flux decoupler and inhibit lock to get this ship moving?
Must be quick now and find a suit, the life support systems are failing fast. Oh, a robot wonder if it works? Great, fully functional, right carry this and come with me.

You have been reading an extract from travel log, Chapter 354 on board the B.S.S. Jane Seymour. It took a good few hours to get this beast working but once I had got the hand of the controls and knew what I was up to, it became much easier. One thing's certain, it's a whole lot better than Federation of Free Traders.

Federation Quest One: BSS Jane Seymour logo

Gremlin hat den Sprung auf den Amiga endgültig geschafft: Nach den famosen Actiongames "Super Cars" und "Venus" bringen sie zur Abwechslung ein richtig anspruchsvolles Spiel heraus - auf den ersten Blick eine Mischung aus "Dungeon Master" und "Day of the Viper".

Die BSS Jane Seymour, ein großer Raumfrachter, wurde zum Orion-Arm der Galaxis geschickt, um dort nach fremdem Leben Ausschau zu halten. Aber irgendein Idiot auf der Kommandobrücke hat gepennt, und so ist das Schiff, statt an seinem eigentlichen Ziel, in der Nähe eines stark radioaktiven Sterns gelandet. Fast alle Crewmitglieger sind gestorben oder wurden wahnsinnig, die meisten der an Bord befindlichen fremden Lebensformen haben sich inzwischen selbstständig gemacht. Deshalb hat man dich (ja genau, schon wieder Dich!) losgeschickt, um für Ordnung zu sorgen und die Jane Seymour wieder sicher nach Hause zu bringen.

Leicht gesagt: Der alte Kahn hat mehr als 20 Level (gottlob gibt es Codewörter) und über hundert Räume, die auf drei Decks verteilt sind. Man findet überall Gegenstände in rauhen Mengen (Waffen, Türöffner, Taschenlampen, Module und und und) und wird häufig von den herumstreunenden Aliens oder verrückt gewordenen Crewmembern angegriffen. Auch stehen des öfteren herrenlose Robotern in der Gegend herum. Um sie für Arbeiten einzusetzen, muß man die Dinger aber zunächst einmal mit einer speziellen Programmiersprache füttern (keine Sorge, auch Programmierunkundige sollten problemlos zurecht kommen). Das Ganze läuft in Echtzeit ab, das heißt, die Zeit verrinnt auch, wenn der Spieler gar nichts tut - bei einer feindlichen Attacke ist man so oft schneller tot, als man glaubt! Gottseidank läßt sich das Game anhalten, um eine Pause zu machen oder den Spielstand zu saven (bis zu zwölf Speicherstände pro Disk).

Der Screenaufbau erinnert sehr stark an "Dungeon Master" (besonders die Inventory-Verwaltung), ist aber leider nicht annähernd so gut konzipiert: Man muß die Icons schon sehr genau plazieren (alles komplett mausgesteuert), und auch die Anordnung könnte um einiges logischer und übersichtlicher sein.

Die Grafik ist durchwegs nicht schlecht und ziemlich abwechslungsreich; die Soundeffekte gehen ebenfalls in Ordnung, auf Musik muß man dafür gänzlich verzichten. Das Kampfsystem ist allerdings nicht optimal gelöst, immer nur mit einem Fadenkreuz herumzufuchteln, wird auf Dauer einfach langweilig.

Trotzdem ist Federation Quest I ein feines Spielchen, die Atmosphäre ist stimmig, und auf den beiden Disketten findet sich sehr viel Unterhaltung für das Geld. Ein paar spaßige Überraschungen, wie ein Laserschwert à la Star Wars oder ein roter Hering (englisches Symbol für einen sinnlosen Gegenstand), wurden gleichfalls eingebaut. Die Chancen, daß tatsächlich weitere Teile der SF-Saga folgen, stehen also gar nicht schlecht. (mm)

Federation Quest One: BSS Jane Seymour logo

PRICE: £24.99

When word reached our ears that Gremlin Graphics had a game in development called Jane Seymour it put our news hound in a flap. "She's been in Live and Let Die and War and Remembrance" said our resident scoop. How off the mark he was. Jane Seymour (or BSS Jane Seymour, or, as it's now known, Federation Quest One) owes nothing to Jane Seymour, the actress. It's a follow up of sorts to the rather lacklustre trading game Federation of Free Traders - although it's not as dull as its predecessor, and instead of a trading game it's a puzzle cum shoot 'em up.

You land on the BSS Jane Seymour, a trading vessel overrun by monsters who've turned the crew into a horde of slavering zombies. Your task is to move around the ship finding and filling the various flasks of stellar fluid which will re-engage the life support system.

Collect armaments and door passes and use the map in the computer room to plot your course. Servant droids can be programmed to act as your bodyguards, or they can be sent off on missions. All of these operations involve a simple click of the mouse on an icon, and working out what to do doesn't take too long.

What does become apparent is that to be really effective you have to be organised. You have a back pack and a utility belt in which to store your gains, and you can assign objects to droids. From here on it's a case of anticipation and deciding which tool to use when - but not in a way which requires imagination.

I'm a big fan of games which require a bit of strategy and the chance to use your noddle, but when they're as pedestrian as this I'm just not hooked. After all, the washing up's got to be done but who'd pay money for the privilege? The shoot 'em up sections are pretty basic too. A lumbering beastie gets in your way. If you've the firepower to off it so be, if not bad lack.

That said, it's still a definite improvement over FOFT, if only because it'll never be dogged by unfair comparisons to Elite. As an example of its genre it's competent in design and execution, the graphics are fine and the game displays the occasional touch of humour. It's choc-a-bloc with things to do and, if you've the staying power, I dare say you could use this to while away a rainy afternoon.

Federation Quest One: BSS Jane Seymour logo

Here's a little secret: Paul Lakin is rather fond of flouncing through gardens in flowery frocks. That's why we had no problem in getting him to review BSS Jane Seymour.

The state of public transport these days is enough to drive a monk to drink. However, it's perhaps some compensation to know that things are a lot worse in space. The problems aboard the BSS Jane Seymour are enough to make British Rail appear to be a smooth running professional outfit. The shipboard computer has thrown a fit, radiation is dripping from every place that drips and mutants stalk the corridors. The future is not so much bleak as completely washed out.

Having landed on this stricken vessel your aim is to repair the shipboard computer by pouring a large amount of coolant into it. This is a bit like summarising the plot of Hamlet as being about some geezer trying to kill his uncle. Before (or if) you succeed you will have dabbled in robot programming, glass blowing and computer maintenance. That's not to mention having to fight more monsters than appear in a single episode of Baywatch.

The game contains in the region of 208 locations and you'll have to visit a fair few of them in your search for door passes, supplies, weapons and the other essentials of intergalactic life. There are in the region of 24 or 25 types of room ranging from the fairly useless like reception rooms (seemingly decorated by a 21st century version of Habitat) to the frankly essential, like recharge rooms where you can carry out a few emergency repairs on yourself and also increase the security rating of your door passes. That's handy Harry.

While you're doing all this the computer is continuing to run down and various systems are starting to fail. The same can be said for you as there are injuries and (or) radiation waiting round every corner. Scattered round the ship are dangerous items, helpful items and frankly confusing items including a Red Herring (I kid you not). Very fishy.

To help you there are robots, to hinder you there are mutant crew members but when it comes down to it you're on your own. Just you and a Red Herring against the world.

Once you've got all 14 computer systems up and running at full power and completed a tricky sub-mission, it's time to make a break for the Navigation Level and a quick pat on the back. One level down, 19 or so to go. Time to eat the Red Herring.

Amiga reviewPaul: Show me an icon-controlled adventure game and I'll show you a mess of complicated clicking. Well that's what I would have said before coming across BSS Jane Seymour. Here is a game that is big and manageable (Ooer.).

This manageability is particularly impressive in view of the range of options open to you during the game. Whether you're programming a robot, consulting the computer damage chart or trying to repair the lighting system, everything is clear and straightforward.

Quite a nice touch is the way that time continues even when you're using the other 'utility' screens. There you are happily deciding whether to put your torch in your pack o on your belt when a groan and screen judder remind you that you still haven't finished off the Grumblat that's got hold of your ankle.

Combat is often a problem in this sort of game. Many's te time I've lost a few crucial limbs before having clicked on all the icons necessary to start fighting back. BSS Jane Seymour takes into account that wimps such as my good self are unlikely to even venture as far as the lavatory without at least one laser in hand. Whenever you're carrying a weapon a sight appears on screen. (The size of the sight depends on the power of the weapon). This saves a lot of unnecessary suffering on your part.

Although straightforward to play BSS Jane Seymour is not easy or safe by any means. Preserving your health is no easier than preserving your looks. In this game it amounts to the same thing. Your health level is displayed by the picture of your face which gradually becomes more skeletal as you get weaker. After this you'll never go on a diet again.

There is an impressive amount of other information available but getting hold of it is a wee bit tricky. Information can only be retrieved from certain rooms or certain robots. When you're hopelessly lost, the computer room is the place to go and call up a map.
Unfortunately for the lazy, the map only reveals where you've been, not where you're going.

Graphically the game is good rather than outstanding and few of the monsters look seriously terrifying. It's also biased against left-handed people 'cos you can only use guns that are in your right hand. There are a fair range of weapons (provided you're right-handed) from feeble little knives to blasters that are just as likely to blow a hole in the ship as in the monster.

It's good to see a game that manages to be large in scope and simple in playability. Some people say arcade adventures are coming back into fashion, BSS Jane Seymour says they never went out. Stop

Federation Quest One: BSS Jane Seymour: Ship's Health
I'm often asked "Jane what should I do if I find myself on a crippled spaceship, riddled with radiation and crawling with mutated nasties? Will all those extra additives damage my complexion?"
The answer is no if you follow a sensible program and wear the right sort of perfume. So slip on your leotard and join me in. Galactic Beautyr, the Jane Seymour way.
Step 1: Here is a helpful little graph showing priority treatment areas. Things look pretty serious - at least there's a rather pleasant aroma.
Step 2: I do feel that when carrying a liquid such as say... er perfume, the bottle is as important as what's in it. I always get my bottles specially made. Isn't science wonderful?
Step 3: A good coolant is as important for a damaged ship's computer as a dab of Max Factor is for chronic B.O.
Step 4: Once you've got enough coolant, and remember you can't skimp with fashion or shipboard repairs, go into action. Pour it all in, stand back and await results. Much like using perfume really.
Federation Quest One: BSS Jane Seymour: Robot screen
I'm often asked "Jane, how can I save a spaceship from self-destruction and still keep that fresh clean Country Life look?" The answer is use a robot and let it know who's boss. This is no time for drippy sentimentality, give instructions with the control disks you've picked up on the way round or write a small program. And don't get too attached to the little sweeties as you may want to use one as a walking time bomb.
Federation Quest One: Amour screen explanation
  1. Rather important this one. It shows how long your gun or blaster takes to reload. Too long is usually the answer.
  2. This shows radiation levels and I can't think a joke about it.
  3. The guide to good health is complexion. Too many laser blasts (to say nothing of late nights) will soon show as you revel in that skeletal look.
  4. A healthy heart means a healthy body so keep an eye on this. Too much radiation and you heart may start going yellow or green. It will also ebat harder during action sequences, slowing yp your recovery rate something chronic.
  5. radiation level of any object in the vicinity.
  6. Movement icons allowing you to go left, right, backwards, forwards and occasionally up or down. This assumes there is no wall or wrangler in your way. Danger is like a brick wall, you can only walk into it not through it.
  7. You need hands to hold a little baby, here's where you tell what you're hands are holding.
  8. What's happening? Read here and find out.
  9. Command icons for objects, rooms, etc.
  10. Command icons for robots - if you've got any.
  11. Trouble.

Federation Quest One: BSS Jane Seymour logo

Gremlin, Amiga £24.99

Seems like Dungeon Master clones in space are all the rage lately. Pandora's Xenomorph, the new Core game, Corporation, and now Gremlin's effort BSS Jane Seymour, intriguingly described as 'Federation Quest 1.

BSS is a first-person perspective game that is not really an RPG as such, although the Dungeon Master 'feel' is certainly there. The basic idea of the game is to repair 20 spaceships. Each ship contains a number of levels and variety of different objectives that must be completed. Above all, the ship's ailing systems must be restored to 80% efficiency ore more.

Generally the repairs can all be made by adding liquid coolant to the damaged systems. Fine, but what do you carry it in? You will need to create a suitable receptacle (in the Manufacturing Room), unless you can find one lying around. Then you can travel around the ship repairing the individual systems with the aid of a repair kit.

Which would be all well and good, if there wasn't a time limit and umpteen monsters with long teeth...

The game screen is split up into a number of sections. The largest being the window onto the game world. To the right of that is a directional command indicator, icons to show what you hold in your hands and a text window. Below lies a weapon reload bar, your life force, beating heart, life trace recorder, background radiation meter and function buttons. The latter are blank but fill up generally when there is a robot or computer in the room that you can manipulate.

Robots are handy things. They are not necessary to complete the game but speed up the work. Some robots carry weapons, other droids are specialists in repairing things and so on. You can give droids commands like 'follow me' or you can 'program' them with macro-type commands, to do other things in a different area of the ship, saving time.

Useful objects are found lying around. When you pick them up you can, usually, put them anywhere on your inventory screen - whether that be in your backpack, belt, hands, etc. Objects include door passes, weapons, and cartridges to plug into droids to give them extra abilities.

Character interaction, apart from the droids, is relatively minimal as most of the life forms you face will be monsters (although the ship's crew will appear at times). The game characters (monsters, etc), while nicely drawn, are a little two-dimensional, sound is sparse but what is present is of a good quality. However, having said that all the gameplay is enjoyable, the challenge is high as is the quality of the graphics. BSS is certainly value for money as it will take you some time to get through the 20 ships. Try Jane for size - you won't be disappointed (ahem, ahem).