At long, long last, after seven months of development, Andrew Braybrook has completed Morpheus. If you’ve been following his trials and tribulations over the past seven months, then you should have some idea of the game’s concept. If you haven’t, then here’s a rough idea of what Morpheus is about...
The player takes control of an expandable ship, entering 50 different multi-directionally scrolling space sectors to do battle with a wide variety of aliens. The objective is to seek out and destroy a suspended alien power network consisting of ‘charge orbitals’. Destroying the required amount of orbitals (this amount corresponds to the level’s number) results in the shutdown of the central controlling nucleus, making the area safe again and allowing the player to continue to the next sector.
Naturally, there are alien ships guarding the network, and though these don’t appear very aggressive at first - try wounding one of thorn and see how he reacts. As the game progresses, the aliens evolve and become more and more violent, and consequently capable of inflicting more damage on the ship.
Money is awarded for everything that is shot, and is saved and used to buy new, more modern ships or extra features for the current model. As higher levels are reached, it is essential that new machinery is bought, including shields, battery power-packs, inertia converters and other devices (both offensive and defensive), to maximize chances of survival.
Unlike other ‘progressive’ shoot ‘em ups (such as Nemesis and Zynaps) extra weaponry and features are not just added to the ship. What sets Morpheus apart is the fact that extra equipment has to be commissioned - not simply added when you pick up a credit or icon. Also, the extra features are ‘bolted on’ to the ship, which means you actually need room on the side of you vessel for extra weapons and peripherals. It’s not just a matter of killing the aliens, collecting the money and buying weapons and systems at random. Morpheus has its own timescale - timeslices - and as time passes, the aliens become immune to older weapons. Therefore it is likely that a sensible player will progress further than one with quick reactions or an awesome fire rate.
The mission starts with the ship capable of carrying two devices, but if money is used wisely - and plenty of aliens are destroyed - an extremely large ship capable of carrying a wide variety of armament and features can gradually be purchased.
One nice feature is that the game automatically detects whether the machine it’s being loaded into is a C128. If it is, an extra set of sprites are included into the gameplay.
Morpheus will be available in October, priced £8.95 on cassette, and £12.95 for the disk version. If you want more details, there’ll be a full review next issue...
If you have any idea what should go in this box, please let me know! :)