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Fish!

by John Molloy, Pete Kemp, Phil South, and Rob Steggles

Espionage, Humor
1988

(based on 16 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

One nibble and you're hooked.

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO GET OUT OF THE WATER:

The tide is turning in the teeming metropolis of Fishworld. The oceans and seas are boiling off into space. The Seven Deadly Fins - an interdimensional group of anarchists - are on the loose. The project has been sabotaged... And you're a goldfish.


Tough. But then life's like that. Sometimes you're dealt a real deal. Toast falls buttered-side down. Phones ring when you're in the bath. And there's always chili sauce on your kebab.


From rain-soaked forests and London recording studios to the farthest reaches of time and space, Fish! will bemuse, dazzle and thrill you before confusing, razzling and killing you.


Fish! is brought to you by Magnetic Scrolls, authors of such classic award-winning adventures as The Pawn and The Guild of Thieves. It's full of what you're least expecting, lacking in all that's rational, and devoid of much that could reasonably be expected... So, dust down your tackle, dress up your flies, reel in a winner and play Fish!


Game Details

Editorial Reviews

Crash

"As in previous Magnetic Scrolls disk-based adventures (Jinxter, Corruption etc), the flexible parser accepts most logical input and permits editing of the current and last command. It also allows up to about ten separate commands to be entered in one line of input. The frequent disk accessing fails to severely interrupt play, although the occasional need to enter anti-piracy passwords is slightly annoying. The lack of any graphics is irrelevant - they would have only required more time - consuming disk accessing and taken up screen space.

With the large vocabulary, problems require much lateral thinking instead of simple word finding. All objects can be examined, often producing a witty response - the fishofax is described as combining the features of a diary and a wallet for four or five times the price!"
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SPAG
"The puzzles are very clever and logical and the text is very 'Magnetic Scrollsish' and makes for a great read.

The parser is probably the best of all the Magnetic Scrolls games and is as good, if not better than the Infocom parsers."
-- Yuzo Takada
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SPAG
The Magnetic Scrolls Collection
"I managed to make it to the very end sequence, just to find that I didn't have enough time (each move costs you a few minutes) to do what was required of me. Painful."
-- The Magnificent Linnard
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SynTax
"Much of the text - in common with other Magnetic Scrolls adventures - is amusing, but I felt this was rather overdone and the humour loses its impact when it's laid on with a trowel. It's not quite as "over the top" as in Jinxter though. As you might expect, no chance is missed to refer to fish in some way, from the fishton in your sparsely furnished apartment and your Fisa card for instant credit to the names of different types of fish. [...]

Well, if you're a keen adventurer you'll buy it anyway and I think that, on the whole, you'll enjoy the fishy goings on. I'm left with the feeling, though, that by now Mag Scrolls have milked dry their characteristic jokey style and it would be very interesting to see what they could come up with if they approached a topic in a rather more serious vein."
-- Neil Shipman
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SynTax
Magnetic Scrolls Collection
"Before you can enter the main game, you'll have to sort out three small scenarios but despite their small size, they're no pushover to solve. The whole game, and especially the main part, is full of fishy puns, especially when you take a trip on the fish world's underground system. [...]

When originally produced, all three games were well-received and gained good ratings in the glossies. I liked 'em too, especially Fish [...]"
-- Sue
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Number of Reviews: 2
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Plastic Castle in my Bowl, January 6, 2023
by Rovarsson (Belgium)

Someone over at Magnetic Scrolls must have though "Hey, if we can get the players on board with the most ridiculous premise right at the start of our new game, we can do pretty much everything we want to them once they're along for the ride."

So they did.

It's only through the mastery of text adventures that Magnetic Scrolls has that this doesn't dive off the deep end into utter baffling zaniness. Even then, Fish! cuts it really close.

Two things hold it together:

--The skill of balancing puzzles on the brink of logic. Oftentimes, I found myself doing stuff because that's what you do in an adventure. Only afterwards did the results fall into place and did things make sense. I blamed this on lack of clueing or lazy storytelling at first. I have to admit that at least part of the gaps were caused by my frequent use of the walkthrough. When played on its own terms, Fish! sends you back to your fishbowl upon failure (or just plain kills you later in the game). This means that before you solve a given chapter, you will experience it many times in different sequences.
Even then though, some of the jumps, hoops and timeloops the game expected me to not only find but also exploit in the right order were a bit too much of the try-die-repeat variety. ((Spoiler - click to show)How on earth one is to know when to go to the disco?)
At its best however, Fish! offers some long-term puzzles where it is a great pleasure to see the vague goal you saw from afar finally come into focus and click.

-- The skill of letting the story cover any holes. A mystery story with dimension hopping fish is bound to have lots of loose threads. Those are features, not bugs! Now, I don't want to accuse Magnetic Scrolls of doing this on purpose... much. Fish! is an immersive action-mystery. The dimensional loops give it a thought-provoking SF feel. The writers throw in their best goofball-comedy talents. It's really a very entertaining ride.
If a few clues and some plotlines got obfuscated for the sake of fun, oh well...

The PC in Fish! is sent to different areas by means of warps. Each area does not just contain a puzzle, it is a puzzle. You need to find the sequence to get to the proper ending, otherwise you are sent back, killed off, or zombified. Especially after the first three preparatory levels, thing get serious. There are explicit and implicit timers (you were told that you have a meeting at ten, but (Spoiler - click to show)no one said when and why they stopped selling plankton sachets in the restaurant...).

I found this incredibly difficult without the walkthrough, but, as I said, relying on the walkthrough too much will make you miss a lot of the story.

And actually, aside from all the frustration this game will surely cause you, the mystery-goofball-SF story is a big laugh I wouldn't want to have missed.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
One of the greatest ever, May 18, 2014
by ethnicolor ("Kilkenny, Ireland")

I"m playing text adventures for almost 30 years, and when I think "adventures" (OK, OK... "I. F." God...) Fish! is number one on my list. I've played and played and played this game over and over, and I still enjoy it on OSX all these years later.

Magnetic Scrolls really managed to capture the mood of the mid/late 1980s and their games are just a joy to read and play again and again.

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Fish! on IFDB

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Polls

The following polls include votes for Fish!:

very hard games by aw1231
I am look for the hardest IF games ever.

Best non-infocom games of the commercial era of the 1980s and early 1990s by Mikalye
There were a bunch of commercial games released in the 1980's and early 90's. In the UK, Magnetic Scrolls release 9 games between 1984-1990 Level 9 released 24 games and a port of Colossal Cave between 1981-1991, Delta 4 released 9ish...

Oh, You BEAST: Games where you're an animal! by Ghalev
I know of a small handful of games where you play a beast, and I want to know of more. (By beast I mean a cat, a dog, a chicken, an orangutan, that kind of thing ... not looking for mythical monsters and not looking for part-timers, so...

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