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%% Review:  Innocent Until Caught                                      %%
%% By:  Jason Compton (jcompton@bbs.xnet.com)                          %%
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Psygnosis recently sent me a box.  In it were 4 Amiga titles for review. 
Thanks go to Mark Blewitt, UK Public Relations Manager, for providing 
them.

Thus begins the first of two game reviews I will do (I took the 
strategy/adventure games while Katie Nelson has the two action/platform
titles) in this set...

Innocent Until Caught:  The Packaging

The packaging is pretty enough: a box with multilingual labling, a nice
painting and some screen shots.  Inside are two manuals (one for the game,
one Amiga-specific information), 10 880k floppies, and a poster for Blood
Money.  Weird.

The Amiga manual is straightforward enough: they want to scream out at
you, "INSTALL THIS ON A HARD DRIVE OR YOU'LL BE SORRY!" but
don't out of politeness.  The main manual is a different story.  Much longer,
in a different style, and designed to inform about the gameplay itself.

It starts with the plot.  You, for adventure purposes, are Jack T. Ladd,
a great thief who neglected to pay taxes on his "earnings".  For that
reason, the IRDS (Interstellar Revenue Decimation Service) wants to
torture, maim, and kill you in 28 days if you don't come up with the
huge sum they're looking for.  

A lot of first-person rambling from Mr. Ladd ensues, and whoever writes
his script got on my nerves quickly...it's supposed to sound arrogant,
but it just sounds like Ladd changes the subject a lot.

At any rate, the manual sums up the news to date, with a lot of those
little unnecessary details that I find worth having in adventure
games.  It then goes to explain the playsystem of the game, which
is a completely different matter...

The Playsystem

They tried very hard to keep this from looking like a latter-day
Sierra game...you know the type...you can either take, use, or 
use another object with an item.  This interpretation is very,
very similar.

Except one thing.  They made it TOO complicated for its own good.
Most icons are simple enough...the finger icon is the "use" action,
the hand is "take"...but there are two that slow the game down.
They are the eye and the magnifying glass.

There is a small oval-shaped window in the bottom left hand corner of
the screen.  When the "eye" icon is active, it displays a small area
of the room you're in inside the oval: hence, the view through your
eye.  Here, the objects are identified, such as "Chair", "Bar", etc.

But, as with all games of this kind, there is more to know about the
chair and the bar...even if it's only the statement "It's just a bar."
To get this, one would think you would need to click on the object
highlighted in the eye-view.  But no, it's not that simple.  You need
to cycle through the actions using the right mouse button and get to
the magnifying glass action (this means that the description
disappears) THEN click on the item you're asking about.

This wouldn't be so bad, if it wasn't for the mouse control.
The mouse control is horrid.  Terrible.  Bad.  It's clunky, slow,
overresponsive when you're trying to keep it still and underresponsive
when you need to move it across the screen quickly.  It's particularly
horrible in the copy protection, which involves entering a code from
the manual on a keypad.  It's tough to get the pointer over the number
correctly!

Next week, I'll actually tell you how the game PLAYS.

Until then...