It is billed as the first comic book that is alive. Accolade’s Comics focuses on the exploits of Steve Keene: Private Spy. The game is a straightforward, multiple-choice adventure, interspersed with eight basic arcade-style games which appear in the gameplay including Climber, Swimmer, Robots, Building, Jetpack, Conveyor Belt, Rail Car and Bomber. The arcade games can be played in a practice mode or as a game in a single session.
American software firm Accolade is a relative brand newcomer in the UK software industry, but in the span of 18 months they’ve made a name for themselves with numerous quality games like Hardball, Psi-5 Trading, Law Of The West, and most recently, they released the amazing police game Killed Until Dead. Accolade’s Comics is licensed by Distinctive Software, and although Comics is available on the Commodore 64 and the Apple II, US Gold have no plans to bring their Apple II version into the UK.
The view from the top sets Steve Keene on one of the various cases. Each comic frame appears on the screen, one after one. The user is asked to make simple decisions every now and then using the keyboard or joystick. Sometimes, a speech bubble that has a range of possible options appears over Steve while the joystick must be flipped to select the one to be utilized before the story continues to unfold. Sometimes, a different character’s question needs to be selected or a plan of action decided upon. The choices made affect the flow and ultimately, the result in the tale.
The interaction level is quite minimal. While the stories are enjoyable and entertaining reading (first time at the very least) it is great to have had the chance to get more involved with the events. Contents of the most recent frame to load are generally animated. Face expressions change, arms shake and feet tap, and so on. However, once that fire button gets hit, the next frame begins loading and the animation ceases.
Steve is a character with five lives. You lose one if commit a fatal error when you influence the story or, more commonly the hero will lose one life each time they make a mistake in some arcade-related sequence.
Accolade’s Comics is elegantly packaged and presented and includes a great opening sequence that is accompanied by superb animated credits. The clever touches, like the page flipping feature and the various ways to create the new frame when it loads, provide a variety. There’s a wealth of comic-style tales to read This is the reason why it is a three-disc set that has two sides to each disk being used.
While it’s an original and innovative concept, it doesn’t provide enough gameplay to justify the price tag. It’s understandably expensive considering what’s in the product and the limited chance for sale in the cassette-oriented UK. A lot of time is spent waiting around and not enough thought or action is required to keep your interest for a prolonged period of time. An indulgence that is justified in the event that you are able to indulge yourself in something that isn’t typical.
My score on this particular game was 2.5 out of five. It’s an old-fashioned game you should play, and have fun with.