ZX Spectrum Scuba Dive
This classic game is yet another of our featured arcade games that was released by Durell software. One of their earlier efforts, this game remains (and even to this day?) one of the most original and innovative releases for the ZX Spectrum.
The developer of the game, Mike Richardson had already struck gaming gold with Durell's previous (and excellent) release Harrier Attack, and did so again with this arcade game based around yep you guessed it, Scuba diving.
The aim of the game was simple yet unique. Starting with three divers (lives) on a motor boat you were to drop into the deep blue and gather underwater riches such as pearls and treasure. Nothing like this had been released on the ZX Spectrum before, a game based around wet suit shenanigans was totally original.
Controlling your sprite was a little tricky at first, but once you got the hang of it you would be moving through the underwater caverns with the grace of Shelly Winters. Well nearly.
You could rotate your character clockwise or anti-clockwise then 'swim' in the direction you were facing. Acceleration to full speed took a couple of seconds (realistic) as did slowing down to a halt (again, realistic).
It was up to you to collect pearls from oyster shells (which would open and shut, timing to swoop in and nab the pearl was key), and to locate lost treasure (but only in the deepest parts of the underwater cavern).
There were hazards to avoid in the water such as sharks, jellyfish, eels and giant octupus. Colliding with any of these would take away one of your lives and lose all three and it was game over.
There were entrances to the lower caverns which were 'guarded' by a giant octopus which would move it's tentacles back and forth allowing you to slip by as long as you timed it right. Lower down there were different sea creatures to avoid, but the potential rewards were greater.
Straying lower and lower was dangerous however as you only had a limited supply of oxygen which could be replenished by returning to your motor-boat, or by finding the reserve tanks hidden 'somewhere' in the caverns.
There was no way to 'finish' the game, the aim was to amass as many points as possible. It may not sound it, but this game on the ZX Spectrum was utterly compelling and original.
This classic game was well recieved when it was released in 1983. The totally original concept plus the fantastic graphics earned it the legendary 'Crash Smash' status. The full 360 degree rotation of your diver coupled with the brilliant animation of the sea creatures was a sight to behold back then (the sharks turning completely about was amazing). Even though the game had little traditional action, the excitement of gathering the treasure and swimming like crazy back to your boat before your air reserves expired was adrenalin pumping stuff. Durrel managed to cram plenty of arcade action into the game.
The test of time:
We here in the land of ZX Spectrum Games reckon that Scuba Dive should be remembered as a classic game. Really original and groundbreaking, the game is still playable and can cause moments of tension. Amazing for the time it was made - a round of applause goes to Mike Richardson. The only lacking element is the rather sparse sound - but we'll let it off with that. This is a fine retro game.
We recommend getting hold of the real hardware but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download this game for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
Stick on a bit of Jaws and get out your swimming goggles. Just don't go near Ben Gardners boat.
GENRE: Arcade game
RELEASE DATE: 1983
RELEASED BY: Durell Software
DEVELOPER(S): Mike Richardson
PRICE: £5.50 - UK
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