Fantastic Voyage

by John R. Edmonds
Quicksilva Ltd
Crash Issue 16, May 1985   (1985-04-25)   page(s) 132

This is the officially licenced computer game version of the 20th Century Fox film of the same name. In the film a group of scientists are miniaturised together with their submarine and injected into the body of a seriously ill patient in an attempt to carry out vital surgery in situ - micro surgery from within. They have to wear scuba equipment to survive in the bloodstream and squishy organs of the person and find that white blood cells are more lethal than sharks.

The game follows the film idea quite closely, except that now you are on your own and by some stroke of misfortune your submarine fails to respond so well to miniaturisation and is scattered throughout the body in eight pieces. Among the objectives of the game, one of the most important is to recover the eight pieces and assemble them within the patient's brain to escape.

The display shows a large playing area of interlinked screens. You start off inside the mouth, just behind the firmly clamped teeth. To the right of the playing area is a graphic representation of the human body. A small dot shows your relative position. Here also are shown the infections which from time to time infect the host body. A red flashing square indicates where and you must move quickly to destroy the infection with your laser before it raises the body temperature excessively and kills it (thus ending the game). Above the playing area is a temperature bar, score lines, location name, time taken, percentage scored and the name of the location where any infections have broken out.

Growths within the body can be destroyed by collecting a white blood cell and getting it to collide with the growth. Cholesterol may block some passages and can be removed by lasering it (although the laser only operates horizontally). Green viruses are dangerous but may be destroyed by your laser whereas other hazards are immune and lethal. Although this is set inside the human body, it is very much a mapping game and the player will have to discover the various routes around the body, collecting the submarine parts as you go.

Control keys: preset as B/N left/right, SPACE to Pick/drop, P to swim and L to fire, but all these are user-defineable
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor type
Keyboard play: very positive response, uses a gravity effect which is overcome by 'swimming'
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: well sized and smooth, the internal organs are convincing
Sound: very good effects, the continuous tune may be toggled on/off
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 5
Screens: more than 40 locations with every major organ and artery named.

'Yep, it's another game of the film, folks. At this rate they're going to have to include a mime for 'game' on Give us a Clue. In this game you venture into the realms of the human body. The fairly simple graphics and general movement are acceptable but neither are exactly mega-class league. A bug, well it could just be an infection, in the program tended to make the diver go invisible for no apparent reason. This happened in almost every game, it was really annoying. Fantastic Voyae has not really got enough content to keep the serious player's attention for very long.'

'I rather enjoyed Fantastic Voyage for the first hour because of its graphics of the human body which are well done, colourful and interesting. The micro-surgeon you play is not quite as well designed however. What you end up with is a sort of platform game with interlinked screens and some arcade action, but after a while of playing, the action becomes repetitive. I liked the way the cholesterol acts as a block which because you can only fire sideways at it, means that in some locations it is like an impassable maze wall, forcing you round another way to get at it. Generally good looking, but lacking lasting appeal'

'Come to think of it, I'm surprised no one has done a game like this before, but then again, the obvious is usually excluded. The game is interesting, as you pass around the body and attempt to keep the poor failing thing alive (and yourself at the same time). I never before realised how many nasties do actually float around in your blood. You could say that this game has actually taught me something. Fantastic Voyage has very nice graphics and there's plenty going on to keep you busy. Considerable skill is needed if you're to survive for more than a few minutes. One feature that impressed me is when you run out of energy you disappear, but you can still play the game as though you were really still there - only after the consumption of red blood cells do you reappear again. Overall , an interesting game, very different, with a beautiful colour scheme, and I enjoyed playing it.

Use of Computer: 82%
Graphics: 74%
Playability: 73%
Getting Started: 82%
Addictive Qualities: 70%
Value for Money: 69%
Overall: 78%

Summary: General Rating: Mixed opinions from below average to very good, playable and reasonably difficult.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 15, June 1985   page(s) 54

Ross: Like the film of the same name, this game finds you inside the body of a scientist in a last-ditch bid to stop him kicking the bucket. Unfortunately the minaturisation process hasn't worked too well and your submarine-come-surgical scalpel has broken up and been scattered through the body. Your task is to re-assemble the sub and to keep your host alive.

You swim around the tubes and intestines wearing a wet suit and flippers, and carrying a laser - it gives a whole new meaning to a life-saving swim. The laser is vital as it's your only means of knocking-out the body's defence system. Also watch out for your own energy levels - if they drop too low, you become invisible and you'll have to find some red blood cells to replenish them. The host body is also under attack from infections that cause a rise in temperature and eventual death if not treated rapidly, so be prepared to launch a rush rescue mission to blast the anti-bodies.

You'll also have to deal with growths, cholesterol blockages and viruses - it's enough to persuade you to chuck it all up now! Biology was never this boring, so don't go forking out an arm and a leg on this one. Rigamortis set in far too swiftly. 2/5 MISS

Roger: Slithering round inside somebody's vitals looking for diseased tissue and scrap metal ain't my idea of fun... 2/5 MISS

Dave: Is this the first game to be written in body language? Shame that it's missing a couple of things that were in the film - Raquel Welch, for example! 2/5 HIT

Dave: 2/5
Ross: 2/5
Roger: 2/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 38, May 1985   page(s) 27

FOR MANY moons now Quicksilva has been advertising a chilling program entitled Blood and Guts - 'A fantastic fight to the death within your own bloodstream!' The more squeamish amongst you might be relieved that the game has now been renamed Fantastic Voyage, after the sixties hokum pic in which Raquel Welch was injected into the body of a brain-damaged scientist - he should be so lucky.

Together with your specially designed submarine you are minaturised and implanted in the body of the boffin. Unfortunately the sub does not withstand the process and its component parts are liberally distributed throughout the anatomy.

Starting your voyage in the scientist's mouth, you have only 60 minutes in which to locate each segment of the disjointed craft and swim with it up into the brain, where it is deposited upon a mysteriously convenient ledge before final re-assembly and escape. Quicksilva is coy as to the escape route - but if the game follows the film you'll return to the outside world inside a poetic tear drop.

The ludicrous plot nevertheless makes for a tricky, entertaining and - dare one say it - educational game. Leaving the mouth with your first piece of sub, you swim down the throat, avoiding the wobbly, lethal, epiglottis (?) and into the bronchi. Turn into the right lung, being careful not to touch the pulsating sides, through the valve to the pulmonary vein, zapping the wall of yellow cholesterol, then, in quick succession, the left atrium, left ventricle, the aorta and up into the brain. Drop the part and go in search of the next piece.

Actually it's not that simple. just when you think you're doing well, the screen flashes with the news that an infection has broken out in some distant organ, and you have to rush to the scene of the disturbance and destroy the wiggly things darting about.

Your energy is draining all the time, and to replenish it you need to feast on any passing red cells. Without the bloody cells you fast become invisible, and play is then nigh impossible. White blood cells are useful for removing any growths you encounter.

Graphics are adequate and mercifully abstract, otherwise you might be barfing all over your keyboard. All in all, an addictive and original entertainment. In these days of clone software, what more could you ask for?

Bill Scolding

Price: £6.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor


Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 44, June 1985   page(s) 114

MACHINE: Spectrum
SUPPLIER: Quicksilva
PRICE: £6.95

Although Fantastic Voyage was a fairly chronic film, the program from Ouicksilva is far from that.

Cast your mind back to Raquel Welch and Donald Pleasance in charge of a submarine which was miniaturised and injected, along with its occupants, into the comatose body of a scientist suffering from brain damage.

Ouicksilva hasn't followed the plot to the letter, but almost. Your submarine couldn't stand the shock of miniaturisation and disintegrated into six parts throughout the scientist's body. You have to put it back together again by finding all the bits and taking them to the brain.

If your knowledge of anatomy isn't that hot, don't worry because a complete body shows where you are. So, if you've never heard of the hepatic artery and you find yourself in it, at least you can see where it is in relation to the rest.

Unfortunately, this particular scientist is a sickly chap, prone to infections, viruses and growths. Fortunately, you are equipped with a laser which blasts these nasties away as you swim across them.

Swimming is a pretty exhausting activity at the best of times, but in Fantastic Voyage you can top up your energy levels by absorbing oxygen - the red blobs.

Don't expect really spectacular graphics with Fantastic Adventure - but you have a great excuse that you're doing something worthwhile with your Spectrum if your mum asks!

Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 8/10
Playability: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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