Ronaprise USS 19-2020
|Author: Jamie Bradbury
||Machine Type: Cambridge Z88
|Submitted on: 17th of May, 2020
Jamie Bradbury has written a game for Sinclair’s digital swansong, the Cambridge Z88. Yes, that one, with the screen shaped like a banner ad. His game, Ronaprise USS 19-2020, an obvious satire of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a modification of Star Trek, that famous BASIC game which has been rewritten an innumerable number of times since it made its debut in 1971.
Upon loading the game (which was a chore and a half in itself), you are greeted by an ASCII-vision rendering of the Starship Enterprise, below which the ‘Stay Alert’ slogan is printed. Your mission is to protect Buckingham Palace from the coronavirus before it’s too late, by travelling around the country, terminating all COVID-19 carriers with extreme prejudice.
As with the original, Ronaprise USS 19-2020 involves manoeuvring your star-ship through the eight-by-eight grid of quadrants (each of which is subdivided into sixty-four sectors), finding the enemies and taking care of them before time runs out. For combat, you have a short-range attack which radiates from the ship and loses power the further it goes, and also a long-range attack which can take out enemies from any distance, but only works in eight directions (cardinal and inter-cardinal). To help you navigate, you can use the ship’s long-range sensor, which shows you the number of viruses, PPE stores and socialists (??) in the adjacent quadrants.
There are no gameplay alterations; only the text has been changed. The Enterprise crew now consists of cabinet ministers such as Matt Hancock, Michael Gove and Priti Patel, with you taking on the role of Boris Johnson. However, the new messages are littered with spelling errors – some particularly egregious examples include “Prity Patel”, “Grant Chaps” and “Europeian border”. To top it off, the messages rush up the screen like they’ve got a train to catch, leaving little time to read them.
To add to the text woes, the navigation is a bit of a pain, as there is no clear marking for the distance between sectors. Additionally, I keep getting told that I can’t move between quadrants, or else I’ll illegally cross a European border. Sometimes, I can move between quadrants anyway, but other times, the game just ends there. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
I’ll admit that I probably wasn’t able to give this game a very fair evaluation. For one thing, strategy games have always been a bit beyond me, so I failed to make very much progress at all. In addition, I couldn’t get the sound working on OZvm, although after having watched some videos of the Z88, I haven’t missed much on that front. In conclusion, however, I can only say that the game is a bit naff. If you want to try it yourself, you can download it from the link in the info-box at the top of this page.