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Year released:
[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us
amazon_dsk.sit (692.86 KB)
For System 1 - 5
Guides on emulating older games

King, Tolkien, Bradbury, Clavell. The implicit promise was always the same: this story wasn't thrown together as an afterthought by some caffeinated assembly wiz, but rather bears the mark of top-shelf authorial talent. Of course, in practice the games were mostly ghostwritten, with the marquee name at most being an equal partner with the programmer.

Amazon was an exception. Telarium bragged that Crichton had not only designed the game before they approached him, but wrote "every word" that appears in the finished product.

...which makes it baffling that Amazon's writing is so desultory and slipshod: as if the Crichton bestseller from which it's adapted, Congo, has been adapted to second-grade reading level by someone with no talent for children's literature.

Where the novel's MacGuffin sets up a chilling rationalization of the Skynet scenario, the game settles for a roomful of shiny treasures. Where the novel builds on actual primate sign language research, the game has a wacky parrot who flat-out formulates entire paragraphs. And where the book aspires to minor lyricism — "In the distance they saw great billowing clouds of smoke and licking flames; there were the muffled explosions of air-to-ground rockets, and the helicopters wheeling like mechanical vultures over a kill" — the game drops clunkers like this:

You break through the jungle abruptly and come upon government soldiers, most of them drunk or on drugs. It's a dangerous situation.

Blocky graphics — dumped straight in from one of the 8-bit versions — do nothing to redeem the title. Oh, if only they'd kept Crichton's puzzles, and had a programmer script-doctor the prose...

Important: This game is not compatible with the Mini vMac emulator (last tested with v3.1.3.) It requires a physical compact Macintosh such as a 128K, 512K, or Plus.

Architecture: 68k


by tanaquil - 2018, June 30 - 5:48pm

Interesting to hear that it works in the MESS emulator. I have had all kinds of trouble getting it to run on physical hardware.

For anyone else who might want to use it with a physical computer:

1) The boot disk won't boot my 512K Mac (gets hung up at the Welcome to Macintosh screen). In my experience, this is the result of a corrupt system file; I'm suspecting something got borked during the cracking process. If I replace the Boot Disk System file with a stripped down known good System 2.0 file, the disk boots, and the game plays correctly, but a number of errors pop up when trying to save and restore games. If there is a workaround for this, I haven't experimented long enough to find it.

2) The same Boot Disk will boot my Mac Plus and the game runs. However, although the manual nowhere states this, it seems that the game requires a two-floppy system to save/restore. If you try to do a save or restore using only one floppy drive, at some point the system will hang up and refuse to eject the current disk or recognize any other disk you try to load. Keeping the Boot Disk in the internal floppy at all times and using the external to swap Data and Save disks does seem to work.

3) The game will run from physical floppy (created with Copy II Mac from dsk image) or from the Floppy Emu, but because of the two-drive problem, it only seems to work if you keep a physical Boot Disk in the internal drive and use the F-Emu to swap Data and Save disks.

4) If you try to restore from a save that was made using anything other than the exact setup you originally saved with (e.g. 512K/Plus, FEmu/physical floppy), the game will likely crash on restore.

5) If you sacrifice to the heathen cannibal gods and follow the steps VERY carefully, it is possible to boot, play, and save/restore this game on a Mac Plus with two floppy drives or one floppy drive + FEmu.

tl;dr: this game is not only dumb and racist (I had to look at that racist AF image of the "native cannibal" from the startup sequence wayyy too many times while working out these bugs) but buggy as all hell. And yet, I kind of want to see what happens. Go ahead, Paco, insult me some more.

(Copying the game to a HD with Copy II HD doesn't appear to work, either. Of course not.)

by X68K - 2011, July 12 - 1:50pm

Thanks for this. Note this is another game that boots fine in the M.E.S.S. emulator. I haven't tested it extensively though.