Producer: Firebird
Memory required: 48K
Retail price: £2.50
Language: machine code
Author: John F. Cain


Sixteen men on a dead man’s chest...

From its excellent, animated title screen, you can see at once that this is a salty sea-dog of a game in which you play Jim (me lad) the cabin boy on a hazardous quest to collect all the booty strewn around the decks of an old galleon.

This is the first game from a very new company, but hardly an unknown one, for Firebird is the trade name for British Telecom (Firebird being the evil alter ego of that much loved feathered fellow Busby).

There are 20 holds in the ship (screens) with eight rooms making up each hold. All the doors are numbered and require the appropriately numbered key to be collected before going through the door. These keys are dotted about in different rooms, so it requires some nifty thinking to work your way round. Additionally there are doors which lead out of the screen here and there into other screens.

Each screen is arranged as a platform game (there’s a logic here — each level being a deck of the galleon of course) with the platforms connected either by ladders or by lifts. Some deck floors on certain screens tend to vanish now and again, and on some the combinations of lifts are very complicated. Cabin Boy Jim’s life is not made any easier by the prowling activities of the ghost pirates who march up and down within a room, cutlasses drawn. There’s also the occasional rat and the Captain’s berserk parrot that signal instant death. Collecting booty is done simply by touching it, but beware some items are booby trapped and explode a second after contact, so Jim must get out of the way fast!


...yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.


Title screen


Control keys: user-definable, four direction and a fire (going through back doors) needed
Joystick: almost any via UDK
Keyboard play: suit yourself for positions, very responsive and capable of finely tuned movement
Use of colour: excellent, varied
Graphics: nice and solid, generally very good
Sound: continuous tune with on/off facility, plus some effects
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
General rating: the first budget game to get an unreserved appreciation from CRASH reviewers, playable, addictive and excellent value for money.

Use of computer92%
Getting started89%
Addictive qualities95%
Value for money99%

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