Wednesday, 30 April 2014

You're gonna need a bigger boat!

The iconic loading screen.
Title : Jaws
Year : 1989
Publisher : Screen 7
Developer : Intelligent Design
Format : ZX Spectrum 48k/128k

Price : £9.99
Audio (48k): None 

Audio (128k): Title music and sound effects
RetroIsland Rating : 7/10

I've just submitted a walk-through for Jaws to the RZX archive.  Jaws is a game which I purchased back in 1990 on the budget label Alternative. Based on the big budget Steven Spielberg film of the same name, the objective of Jaws is to manoeuvre your submersible around the depths of the ocean around Amity Island where the large shark is terrorising the helpless citizens. 

The cassette inlay for Jaws on the ZX Spectrum.
Using your sub you have to find 4 parts of a gun which were lost in a previous encounter with Jaws and also pick up special bullets along the way to help destroy the nasty fish once and for all.

The sea life is very dangerous around Amity and you can shoot everything except the
Yet another tricky cavern.
flashing creatures - if you do then you lose a life. They can be destroyed however using the special bullets but you need some of these to kill Jaws also.

The undersea caverns cover a large area and it is easy to become lost and also run out of precious air. However to help you soon realise that shooting certain creatures sometimes releases a bonus item such as extra air or a treasure chest. Usually a gun part is found in the most difficult dead-end caverns that contain lots of weird sea creatures determined to destroy your sub. 

Amity Island
A nice touch about this Jaws game is an enhanced version for 128k machines. Not only does the enhanced version feature the creepy music from the movie on the title screen plus nice sound effects during play but it also adds another dimension to the game play.

Pressing the space bar during the undersea action takes you back to your boat and if you then push down on the joystick this takes you to an overhead view of Amity Island. From here you can check whether any sightings have been made of Jaws and you can then close the nearest beach. It is important to keep checking this screen as if not then beach-goers will be eaten and the mainland authorities will close the island, ending the game.

Jaws is a game which offers plenty of playing time - it's not an easy task that presents itself and is another fine example of programmers squeezing as much as possible into a small amount of memory available.
Smile you son of a bitch!

Once you find the 4 parts of the gun then you are transported back to the boat where you can dive again to find Jaws. You also find that your lives are now down to 1 and also your air time is 80 seconds! Once you discover the fish then you realise that it is swimming faster than your bullets so you have to navigate in front of Jaws facing it's gaping mouth! With only 4 bullets at your disposal and 3 hits to kill Jaws your task is tricky but 3 good shots soon result in a satisfying explosion. Game Over!

 Time to float to the surface and then find your way back to the mainland using some handy barrels. Wait! That was from the end of the movie not this game. Overall an enjoyable game, not a classic by any means but then that's why I waited to buy it at a budget price....

Time to head for the coast to see if I can spot any fins sticking out of the water.....

View the video of my walkthrough here.

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