information on this game on the internet was somewhat difficult
since searching for "A.R.C." got many varied hits and none
of them were adventure games. The only information I had to go on was
the game rom's listed name, arc, and the name of one of the people who worked
on it, Sean M. As you can see from this title shot (which my
Spectrum Emulator never shows), Sean's name is actually Shaun. I
eventually stumbled upon the title Alien Research Centre on Baf's
Guide to Interactive Fiction. And the name Shaun McClure matched up
close enough to what I had. I'd found it!
The game was
published in 1989. This may make it the newest game I've played
although I really haven't been very good at listing the dates the
games were published. I should probably fix that. But the graphics
look nice! This is no Cloud 9 project!
note before I get rambling: this game cost 2.99 Pounds in 1989. The
last game I played, The Very Big Cave Adventure, cost about 8 Pounds
in 1986. It may be because the Cave Adventure was two sided. Or it
was published by a smaller company. Or maybe prices dropped as
better and more varied games came out. I'm sure it was one of those
reasons and if I'd put any research into at all, I'd discover
something I just said. So why research it, right?
ON TO THE
The game takes
place on the Alien Research Centre where apparently some crewmen
went mad and released all of the aliens that were being researched.
Your job is to board the ship (which happens just before you start
playing. So you don't actually have to do that part), make your way
to the bridge, and start the Emergency Homing Device which will
return you and the ship to Earth. And you will earn the 500,000
dollars placed in your account to encourage you to accept this
The game is
fairly linear with a lot of running back and forth from one end of
the ship to the other as you find a puzzle and must return to the
other side of the ship to find the solution. Head back to solve the
puzzle and find, just past it, the solution to the puzzle that
stopped you from going further in the other direction.
itself makes no logical sense. From the docking bay, you can enter
the doctor's office and the biolab. Okay, weird, but maybe not too
weird. Maybe aliens need to be checked out right after boarding the
ship. But later you find a storage room that is only accessible by
the vents. Okay, maybe the door in the picture of that room is the
real door and you just don't have the ability to open it. Or notice
it. But then there is an airlock that can only be accessed from
inside an Alien Containment Room. So the Alien can throw itself into
deep space when it gets depressed? Who knows?! Also, you'll
understand why the entire crew died when you realize the Medi-Centre is entirely
So the ship
doesn't really work very well. You also start with this great
Decimator Cannon that is sure to blow all of your foes to bits and
steaming alien chunks! Except for the fact that they all seem to be
able to dodge it! Stupid cannon! The game should at least let you
use the Cannon a certain amount of times and it should kill anything
you shoot with it! Maybe give it six charges and each creature would
need a certain amount of shots. That would have worked nicely as you
still need the cannon at one point in the game. So if you used it
too much early on to solve puzzles, you'd have to rethink things to
save some charges.
game did not take very long. Just a few hours and most of that was
because I was building the map as I played and writing the Walkstory
and this review. It's not overly difficult although it does do one
thing which is obviously the games one thing to extend the life of
the game. Putting in a ridiculous guess the verb and guess which
room and guess the action sort of thing to make you run around for
an hour or so trying everything in every room. The game does provide
some hints but the action you need to make comes out of left field.
It is something I tried early on when trying to get past the grill
though. So it is possible to figure it out quickly if you get lucky.
you want a few hints to the game without any major spoilers, you can take a look
at the MAP. The MAP does provide the answer to the one unfair puzzle though. So
if you don't mind knowing about that in advance so you're not running around
trying silly and needless things for an hour, check out the MAP. Or not. But it
aren't any tremendous puzzles here. Most of the game is just fetch
the right item and you can get past the next obstacle. No items are
red herrings and no puzzles are either. The game gives you items as
you need them so you just have to keep running back and forth to use
the item on the puzzle that just blocked your progress. It's all
really fairly simple.
The one place
that isn't obvious that you can enter is the partly corroded floor
in the first Alien Containment Center. It's a bit of a hint that
it's partly corroded. Another hint that I noticed but failed to
associate with this room was that if you try to do things to the
Floor, the game will respond that "It isn't here!" So I
went about the whole ship typing "SHOOT FLOOR" but
received the "It isn't here" response in every room. The
problem is that the Cannon only works on organic matter. I should
have been paying closer attention!
The verb you
need is KICK! Yes, KICK! It's one of those verbs that you probably
won't use although, once again, I did use the verb to try to KICK
GRILL to get past the air grill before I found the Axe. Whenever you
kick anything, you get an OOUCH response. So you may end up quickly
thinking KICK is useless.
to figure this room out but it's not probable and it's certainly not
probable that you're going to figure it out in a timely fashion. You
could get very lucky and manage it straight away. But if that
doesn't happen, you're looking at wandering around for a long time
and possibly putting the game back on the shelf.
It's the one
place in the game that I finally went online and got the hint from
Dorothy Irene who has already managed to solve and write a
Walkthrough for just about every text and graphic adventure game out
there. Just Google her! But keep coming back and reading my pages!
I don't like
finding hints to solve games when I'm supposed to be solving them
myself. But I also refuse to wander around a game's map more than a
dozen times without finding anything new and not having anything
left to do. That usually indicates a secret location or a maze that
has been employed to falsely extend the game's play time.