GAME OF THE MONTH
The alien spacecraft is all yours --
if you can stay alive long enough to salvage it.
By Jim Tesch
You're marooned in a mysterious alien spaceship and time is running out. Your only hope is to re-start this vessel and fly it home. This BASIC program works on 8-bit Atari computers with minimum 48K memory and disk drive.
It's the 21st century, a great time for junk. What other century would let you own a surplus shuttle rocket and spacesuit? What other era would send you out for a test flight just when a huge alien starship -- apparently abandoned -- into the solar system?
Pushing your spacecraft past the point of no return, you match orbits with the silent hulk. An initial scan shows the ship to be totally deserted but still functional. So, with your breathing echoing within your helmet you cross that last void between you and your dreams.
Type in Listing 1, SALVAGE.BAS, check it with TYPO II and be sure to SAVE a copy before you RUN it. If you have trouble typing the special characters in lines 1080-1100, don't type these lines. Instead, type in Listing 2. When you RUN Listing 2, it creates a file called LINES.LST. Merge this file with Listing 1 by typing LOAD "D:SALVAGE.BAS" and then ENTER "D:LINES.LST".
When you RUN the program the title screen will appear, showing the strange ship. Press [START] to board and begin exploring.
PLAYING THE GAME
To start the alien vessel, you must find the engineering sections on five of the ship's decks. Each deck has 30 rooms and the layout is always slightly different. Some of the ship's corridors are one way only and will close behind you as you pass.
You have a three dimensional (Graphics 9) view of the deck from your helmet. The lower part of your screen consists of a compass that indicates the direction you're facing (Port, Starboard, Aft or Bow) and points towards the bow of the ship. Indicator bars show your current oxygen and energy levels.
To move, just push your joystick in the direction you want to go. (Pull back on the joystick to turn around and go back to the room behind you.) You'll find oxygen and battery recharger stations on every deck. The oxygen is in large tanks. Recharger stations are indicated by a triangle. Just press the joystick button to replenish your own supplies.
Because your suit is surplus, the longer you wear it the more likely that you'll get a blowout when you take on more oxygen or recharge your battery. You must move as quickly as you can to make it through the ship without a fatal accident.
The [OPTION] key will display your current room number at the cost of one turn of energy. After each level's engineering station has been activated by your presence, find the trans-shaft (shown by a bar on the wall) and you'll he beamed to the next level.
If you keep your bearings and continue moving, fame, fortune and a starship are yours. If not, space really will be your final frontier.
Jim Tesch of Fort Smith, Arkansas owns an ancient and wise Atari named "Gypsy." This is his first appearance in ANTIC.
Listing: SALVAGE.BAS Download