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Treasure Island

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Released: 1984

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: Commodore 16/Plus4

Publisher: Mr. Micro

Developer: Greg Duddle

Submitted by: Martin Green

Treasure Island was a computer game made in the mid-1980s, based on the book by Robert Louis Stevenson. In the game, the player takes on the role of Jim Hawkins (the protagonist of the book), and has to battle through hordes of pirates before a final showdown with Long John Silver. The game view did not scroll, but used a flip-screen style, as was popular in the 1980s.

None of the pirates moved around, but some of them would throw a cutlassat Jim if he moved in range. The pirate in question did not lose his cutlass if he does so – he always had another to use himself. A pirate would very rarely throw more than one cutlass.

If Jim was hit by a cutlass thrown at him, or if he touched a pirate, he would lose a life and start again from the beginning of the screen. However, if he moved out of the way in time, the cutlass would land on the ground, and he would be able to throw it at a pirate of his choosing to kill him. A killed pirate disappeared, thus allowing Jim to pass.

At the start of the game, Jim had just escaped the stockade. He was unarmed, and had only one possible exit to the next screen, to the right. Here he would find a throwing pirate, whom he could trick into throwing a cutlass, and thus obtain it for himself. However, it would be foolhardy to kill that same pirate with it, since that pirate was not blocking access to anything.

Instead, the player should find a pirate who was blocking access to an exit (or perhaps a pwer-up) and kill him with it, thus advancing progress through the game. This strategic rationing of cutlasses (i.e. knowing where to pick them up and where to use them) in order to progress around the island was a major gameplay element.

Jim would collect a percentage of points within this game by killing pirates and collecting cheese, barrels, bones, shovels, a key and a treasure chest.

When Jim collected the treasure chest an invincible moving pirate known as Long John Silver would start to chase after him. The player would then have to remember exactly how they progressed within the game so that Jim could be navigated off the island and back onto a waiting ship. If Jim did get caught or blocked in a dead end he would be killed and the game would start all over again, from the beginning.