Project Neptune

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Average Rating: 3.5 (2 people have rated this item.)

RAM Requirement: 768k RAM

Control: Joystick or Keyboard

Release Status: Abandonware

Year: 1989

Publisher: Epyx

Developers: Infogrames

System 6 Compatible: Yes

Hard Drive Installable: Yes

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Project Neptune, for lack of a better description, was a total unexpected surprise.

I had never heard of it for any platform, let alone the IIGS. Going by the opening credits, the game was developed by Infogrames in 1989 and was to have been released by Epyx. Perhaps we could pin the reason to this game not being finished on the fact that Epyx went bust not long after 1989? Our loss.

The introductory animation is one of the best I've seen on the IIGS. Both the graphics and animation are great. Hit escape to stop it. After the title and credits screen, you'll then be confronted with the inside of your submarine. Choose either level 1, 2 or 3, which I guess are different levels of difficulty. While the introduction is great, it becomes apparent the game wasn't finished due to how unpolished the game play becomes. You can traverse the bottom of the ocean by either mouse or keyboard, but I found the mouse to be the more responsive of the two. The mouse button, or space bar, fires a laser weapon with a completely awful, ear ringing sound effect.

The game features no music and what sound there is terrible. I actually turned off the sound not to hear it. The animation here is anything but fluent and flickers badly. Pressing return places the mouse cursor on the screen, from which you can then click on different areas of your sub's bridge to initiate different functions.

Whilst in this mode, you cannot navigate your submarine, but only control different areas of the bridge; pressing return again resumes control of your sub. All the relevant controls are found in the bottom half of the bridge, including, from the left: exit your craft and utilise a small one man sub armed with two lasers, a map which presents allied and enemy bases, above which there are two buttons, one I believe is for leaving timed charges and another for torpedoes, to the right of which it lists your available ammunition. The two arrows change the time you set on a charge and the far right button, the oxygen tank, allows you to leave your craft in a wet suit and aqua-lung, armed with a spear gun.

The map would be most useful in beginning to understand your mission, where it becomes obvious that there are two opposing forces. You can click on different items on the map, understanding what each of the different icons represents, most importantly, your own vessel. In taking out your enemy, I'm not entirely sure what's required except that you obviously need to be in their general vicinity and by using either charges, torpedoes or donning a wetsuit and going out there yourself, you can dispose of them. It's possible you may need to use combinations of the two, such as deploying a charge and you swimming out, picking up the charge and then placing it on an enemy base. I haven't played the game enough to know for sure, but half the fun is figuring out the game.

I'm guessing the game was created by the same Infogrames guys that did Hostage, as both the graphical style and game play are similar. I think we really lost out in not having this game finished and sold to us by Epyx in 1989. Like Cinemaware games, it seems to have incorporated both balanced use of resources and action sequences with splendid graphics and animation. Definitely a shame the game was unfinished and unreleased.