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About the Story
You're on maintenance duty aboard the USS Sea Moss, patrolling the icy North Atlantic waters with an arsenal of twenty nuclear missiles.
Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Custom
Forgiveness Rating: Nasty
Gaming After 40
Adventure of the Week: Crash Dive! (1984)
The author's first published text adventure, Adventure in the 5th Dimension, was written in Atari BASIC; this one is completely in assembly language (encoded in printable form for its magazine type-in debut), so it fires up immediately and plays speedily. The original magazine (link above) is well worth referencing, as it includes a photograph of several key props containing clues for the game, an interesting print approximation of the Infocom "feelies." As a matter of fact, while this game is a two-word parser affair, it was Moriarty's last magazine effort; he would shortly move up to begin work on Wishbringer for Infocom.
Crash Dive! opens in a confined space, and it's highly unusual in that the player's goal is not necessarily to escape the doomed submarine, but to keep it from falling into enemy hands by any means necessary. The user interface is a nifty extension of the Scott Adams "windowed" screen, divided here into several fixed windows. The display approach handily establishes the player's carrying capacity -- beyond six items, the game tells us Your arms are full! The layout also inadvertently imposes a visible item limit on every room, yielding Not enough room here when the junk piles up too much. There's also a turn counter in the upper right-hand corner, handy for tracking some early "time"-limited events but not otherwise essential to play.
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You are a crewman aboard the USS Sea Moss – a Navy submarine patrolling the North Atlantic – when a routine maintenance job in the forward escape tube saves your life. While locked in the airtight tube, a saboteur gasses the remainder of the crew. It's obvious that someone wants to steal the sub – perhaps for the experimental sonar-jammer that makes the sub 'invisible' to enemy sensors. Your job is to prevent the sub from falling into enemy hands. This entails finding a way to survive the poisoned atmosphere, getting the submarine underwater so that the enemy can't board it and finally destroying it!
Crash Dive! is unique amongst the Adventures reviewed here in that it is written in machine language. It is a great program in every sense – execution speed, playability and display. The latter is very imaginative, though simple, and uses some of the Atari's special features.
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