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REVIEW

 

AT 3,30; "GERBIL SPACE PROGRAM"

 

Reviewer: Bobo
Developer: Dr.Sputnik
Genre: Rocket Science
Platform: Spectrum 48K
Language: BASIC

UDG-O-METER: 2
BEEPER ABUSE: 2
IMAGINATION: 5
CRAP FACTOR: 4
OVERALL: 4

Filetype Download Link Description
TZX GSP Final.tzx Spectrum 48K Tape Image
 
Loader

This entry begins with a pleasing "Loading/Please Wait" effort for the Attribute Flash FX challenge followed by a loading screen which will make recent champions such as redballoon, MAC and mickfarrow wonder why they bother at all!

The game itself begins on a wonderfully 1970s note with your mission printed out, character by character, in green text on a black background. The premise of this mission is that you've decided to launch your titular pet gerbil into space using a shoddily manufactured rocket and a flimsy grasp on the concepts of propulsion. (Poor little bugger! - Ed)

70s Sci-Fi

The game-proper begins by asking you how much fuel, in Kg, to attach to your rocket. I decided that 50Kg of fuel was a perfectly realistic amount to attach to the 5Kg (!) projectile provided.

Next up I'm asked for thrust, in Newtons(N,) and the game has the audacity to suggest a value! No one tells Myke-P what to do so I deliberately avoid the suggested 539(N) and go for 548 instead.

I press 'enter' and, with a quick flash of light and billowing smoke, my rocket zooms off into the sky and I cross my fingers.

Running on empty!

The first minute is absolutely nail-biting as, from the handily provided telemetry readings, I see my acceleration and velocity increase rapidly and my altitude hit about 45km. Unfortunately this is met by the realisation that my fuel has rapidly been depleted and now I'm running on momentum alone!

For another four minutes my altitude increases to around 148km - nearing a 'Low Earth Orbit' sort of height - but then I begin to fall. My gerbil begins to accelerate towards the Earth, quickly reaching EscapeTerminal Velocity, and then all I can do is wait.

Fail

It takes a further 28 minutes before the terrible sound of the rocket, smashing into the ground just over the horizon, is heard.

The inevitable questions follow; How could I have miscalculated my fuel/mass ratio? Could I have saved him if I'd spent that extra 20 on the parachute option? How much is a new gerbil?

On my second attempt I manage a lofty 272km - around the minimum orbit of the International Space Station - but still (after 60 minutes) my new rodent (who I've not even bothered to name) eats dirt once more.

At this point I figure I'd Google how high I needed to get to in order to be 'successful.' As far as I can tell the little fella is toast - no matter what I try!

Conclusion: Far too interesting, excellent telemetry graphs and that Sci-Fi text-type effect is likely to find itself plagiarised in the very near future. Dr.Sputnik has really let himself down on this one.

 
 

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