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Treasure Island

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Released: 1984

Publisher: Mr. Micro Ltd

Developer: Jim Greg, Issi

Submitted by: Steve Halfpenny

Avast, me hearties! Long before Captain Jack Sparrow, metal band Alestorm and pirate memory games (that are a little too piratey) there be Treasure Island Dizzy. But what would happen if you dropped the egg (squelsh!) and added a little more pirate activity? Why you’d have much earlier game Treasure Island of course! Arrr, Jim lad!

An speaking of Jim lad, this old sayin’ probably comes from the main character in Treasure Island (or Booty Isle as true pirates would call it) since it’s actually based on a novel by some sea dog called Robert Louis Stevenson (how many game ideas come from a book, eh?!). Thus means you take the role of one Jim Hawkins! (Who?!) He be th’ one with the treasure map, y’see! I only really know all this because I watched the Muppets version at Christmas. But I’m sure the book is very good too! (Note – in keeping with the theme of this one, I’ve decided to do the rest of the review in tru’ pirate talk! Arrr!)

On th’ first screen, Jim must sneak past three landlubbers (based on Blind Pew arr) who move aft an’ fore at a quick pace an’ make yer way t’ th’ top o’ th’ screen ‘ere ye’ll sneak aboard th’ good ship, Hispaniola. Careful tho! A mere tap from one o’ yer enemies will result in an instant demise fer young Jim! (An’ th’ collision detection be a bit o’ a dead parrot in Treasure Island, arrr so extra caution, buccaneers!)

Th’ next screen be e’en more difficult. Here Jim must jump from barrel t’ barrel avoidin’ capture from th’ crew who try t’ grab our hero, nay doubt wi’ plans o’ throwin’ th’ lad’s overboard! (In th’ story, Jim has learnt that they plan a mutiny! This screen be as tricky as washin’ th’ deck at first an’ ’tis very easy t’ lose all yer lives this early but persist an’ ye ortin’ ta be able t’ do ‘t nearly ever’ time unharmed. Succeed an’ th’ real adventure begins!)

Jim now finds hisself on the maze like Treasure Island itself aan’ so now we be havin’ a fun tho very typical 8-bit computer adventure an’ possibly one o’ th’ first ere that be mapped! ‘Tis nay a bad thin’ t’ do too as ’tis very easy fer our hero t’ get lost amongst th’ 64 screens an’ ye dasn’t want t’ do that do ye?! Th’ idee be fer Mr Hawkins t’ find Ben Gunn’s cave whilst avoidin’ pirates who act more like obstacles that block yer path rather than yer normal horn swogglin’ bilge rats ye get in other games! These seafarin’ heartys dasn’t move much but they do throw a nasty sword (cutlass actually), which be a vital part o’ helpin’ ye complete th’ game, that be, if Jim’s reflexes be up t’ scratch. If ye manage t’ move th’ lad’s ou’ o’ th’ way in time, th’ weapon will fall t’ th’ sand lettin’ ye pick ‘t up an’ give them seafarin’ heartys a taste o’ the’r own medicine, nay only eliminatin’ yer foe but enablin’ ye t’ continue fore wi’ yer quest!

An’ so, repetitive as ‘t may be, but ye must continue this act, bein’ oh so careful nay t’ get killed, in order t’ get round th’ labyrinthine isle, arrr an’ eventually findin’ some real booty! On th’ way ye’ll find collectables like barrels o’ rum an’ erm, cheese (?! Alas, no cackle fruit!) but ortin’ ta ye be lucky, ye’ll eventually find th’ chest an’ can now plan t’ escape Booty Isle, arrr once an’ fer all carryin’ th’ loot homeport! Yer final voyage be t’ get t’ Spy Glass Clove but that’s nay th’ half o’ ‘t. Oh nay. Now on yer tail be legendary seafarin’ hearty, Long John Silver hisself an’ he’s gonna make darn sure that ye be in Davy’s grip! Arrr!

Thrown in amongst a bunch o’ bilge watery free games wi’ me Dixon’s Spectrum +2 boxset, Treasure Island arrr be a real diamond in the rough. Ye jus’ had t’ get past them first two awful screens t’ be seein’ this. I wonder how many swabbies give up on ‘t smartly jus’ on accoun’ o’ they couldna get past them? I know I did. ‘t be only when me first mate beat that second voyage when I realised that thar be real gold hidden! So… Arrr! Shiver me timbers! Pieces of eight! Yo ho ho an’ a bottle o’ rum! Savvy?

Translation – Once you got past those two opening screens, Treasure Island turned out to be a fairly enjoyable, if repetitive and glitchy, flick screen adventure. Good for the time anyway. Arrr.

Bonus fun fact – Treasure Island was reworked into a later game called The Willow Pattern Adventure. It’s almost identical other than the first two screens work as bonus levels in the main game. That and samurais don’t seem to be as much fun as pirates.