Title Archipelagos (Second Review) Publisher Astral Software / Logotron (1989) Game Type 3D Combat Sim Players 1 HD Installable No Compatability ECS (AGA's ECS-chipset emulation works, disable caches) Submission Dennis Smith Profiled Reviewer Review Archipelagos is one of those really innovative games of which we saw so many in the late 80's and early 90's and as such is extremely difficult to classify. The only other game that it resembles, and almost certainly the source of inspiration for the authors, is Sentinel. You are a disembodied force in a world of archipelagos - little islands. Floating about four feet above the ground, you travel a chequered 3D world of sandy islands, stones and trees. Like Sentinel, you travel around by clicking from square to square, though unlike Sentinel you have no physical body to worry about, and the world is completely flat. You can't travel very far, but over land, that's no problem, as you can make repeated hops. Over sea, it's not so easy, but if you have enough energy, you can raise land from the water and step to that. To win each archipelago you must deactivate the Obelisk which stands somewhere in the island chain. To do this you must first destroy all the standing stones in the archipelago. Simply ensure that a land bridge connects the stone to the Obelisk - creating one if necessary - then just click on it. Do this to all the standing stones, then you've got ninety seconds to return to the Obelisk and click on it. Sounds easy? Well, your clicking range is a little limited - it doesn't stretch to the horizon, just a dozen squares in front of you, and you'll need energy to build any significant land bridges - though this is available in the form of spore pods that are littered around the place. And on the bigger islands you can get quite lost - make a note of the Obelisk's position before you destroy the last standing stone! But the real hazard in the game comes in the form of the 'arboreal trees', which pollute the land around them with the 'blood of the ancients'. Should the square over which you hover become polluted, then it's game over. The trees go through a cycle of rising and falling; each time they reach the base of this cycle, they move - towards you - and the further away they are, the further they move, polluting as they come. Avoiding the slow but unstoppable progress of the trees is where Archipelagos gets most of its Sentinel-like atmosphere. Not quite as spooky, but quite capable of giving you a nasty scare now and again. If you need to, you can use some energy to clear a square of pollution but you can't stop the trees polluting it again, next turn. On later levels, there are more menaces - wandering lost souls which will kill you if they contact you, the Necromancer that eats away at the edges of islands (if the land square you're on is affected by the Necromancer, that's it for you) and then there are Blood Eggs that hatch with a clap of thunder, and either spread blood all over the land they stand on or consume the island in the manner of the Necromancer. But the trees will always be the scary ones, heading straight for you, slowly, inexorably. Every fifth island in the first hundred is special - the island is shaped like something recognisable - from the overhead map view, anyway - such as Great Britain, Europe, the Logotron turtle logo. Playing for these will probably add to the longevity of the game, but for all its good points, you can't deny that it does get very repetitive after a while. The 'famous' archipelagos might keep you playing to level 100, but the monotony of it all will probably drive you to some other pursuit long before you get as far as island 9999. Definitely worth a look, though - it'll keep you interested for a while at least - and it's quite different from practically any other game you'll play.