Bring your Macintosh into your bathtub and you could complete the realistic feel of MacScuba, a dive simulator from Paradise Software. You could also electrocute yourself so settle for the dry approach.
If I had ever been scuba diving, I could tell you how realistic MacScuba actually is, But I've never had the experience. I can tell you that many divers and some diving organizations reportedly rave about the game. I can also tell you that once you have a grasp of how the game works, you'll probably enjoy it as an interactive adventure. I did.
Gathering treasure from a sunken pirate ship is the object of MacScuba. The catch is that you're limited to three tanks of air. So, you must learn to navigate underwater, protect yourself from carnivorous fish, and find your way through a labyrinthine ship—all on a limited supply of oxygen.
Navigating underwater is easy. Simply click on a direction icon (right, left, or forward) and then click on the fins icon to propel yourself. The interface isn't very comfortable, however, since you sometimes must click twice on the direction icon before the program recognizes your selection.
Protecting yourself from people-hungry fish isn't as easy. First you have to distinguish the dangerous fish from the benign. There's a database that you access by clicking on the goggles icon and then double-clicking on the fish that's starting you down. If you're arguing with a hammerhead shark, grab your knife quickly. Many a good diver leaves an arm or a leg in that shark's mouth—at least in this game.
Finding your way into the ship is probably the most difficult part of the game, but a supplement to the manual offers tips. Once inside you can easily get lost (especially if you forget to turn on your flash-light). So start drawing maps. When you find treasure store it in your goody bag.
You can store MacScuba in your goody bag, too. Aside from interface problems this is a good game. The graphics are excellent, especially the fish (which you learn to recognize after a while). The sound is also good.
If you're a real beginner, you might wish for more information in the manual. The program designers want you to experiment with everything, actively discovering how your equipment works. But this can be frustrating. For example, when I got a reverse image on my screen. I thought something was wrong with my Macintosh or with the program. I called for technical support. Nothing was wrong with the game—my goggles were fogged.
MacScuba gives you an idea of what diving is like, but it doesn't pretend to replace certified training. The game is detailed and absorbing, and I recommend it.
It retails for $49.95. For information, contact Paradise Software, P.O. Box 50996, Phoenix, Arizona 85076; (602) 893-8324.