THE scene is set with some omninous yet funky music. A large domed city is in the distance. As the sun rises over it you can make out some rather large cracks. Clearly this is a city requiring serious repair work. What is worse is that you are stuck inside it with nothing but a pair of jeans, a T-shirt and your wits to help you. You are in Prison.
The display is halved between your various scores, lives, objects held, status windows and so on, and a graphical representation of your whereabouts. Your persona in the game is a well programmed male figure. He walks and jumps left and right using about 16 frames of animation, and very smooth it looks too.
The backgrounds are well drawn, colourful and detailed. Although the desolation can get very depressing, the occasional touch of humour cheers things up.
The only way to escape from Prison is to solve a series of puzzles using the various objects you will find. These are sometimes hard to distinguish from the backgrounds, so the little red light which flashes on the status screen is appreciated.
If nothing is immediately obvious, selecting the Search option will cause your figure to spin on the spot and have a good nose around. This can get a bit tedious at times, especially when someone has thoughtfully placed some boobytraps. The same mad bomber has placed mines in the footpaths, so not only do you have to watch out for objects and aliens, but you have to watch where you put your feet.
The puzzles start at the Sun reader level but progress quickly enough to make things interesting. The first problem is how to get the lift doors open so you can move to the next level. Sure enough, not a million miles away you find a plastic access card and a piece of wire. But now a dilemma: Do you try using the card, or do you bypass the lift door with the wire? The wrong decision means the end of the game. This is where the Save Game option is invaluable.
The arcade action comes in the form of some nasty aliens who seem to have studied too many Bruce Lee martial arts films. You can punch and kick them, but if they get too close they’ll take you in a stranglehold from which only a frantic waggling of the joystick will save you.
The sampled sound of some poor soul choking is thoughtfully played to remind you that you are dying.
Prison is a good blend of puzzles and occasional Kung-Fu fighting. Although not startlingly original, it is well done and fun to play.