A rather ambitious game from Martech on the C64 indeed… just look at the screenshots!
The story goes as follows (Thanks to a CVG clipping).. “The game was to be a 3D vector graphic arcade adventure where you control a futuristic mercenary out to steal plans for a revolutionary orbital interceptor code-named the CK 23.
Able to take off the land like any conventional aircraft, the CK 23 can lie in wait in orbit ready to blast back into the atmosphere at frightening speed, to intercept and destroy enemy missile and laser weaponry. The CK 23 test development site is the most secret and heavily guarded military complex on earth. Situated on a lonely and now deserted island, it is guarded by armed patrols, tanks, electric fencing and surveillance cameras.
The island is also criss-crossed by a shuttle network which used to allow for rapid transport for the now departed civilian workforce. It is your mission to explore the island and find the heart of the development complex. Once there you must steal the design of the CK 23 and then set a time delay mine in the nuclear reactor. The action takes place on a moonless night, hence you have been provided with a military image enhancer.
Using advanced 3D vector grahpics, with full collision detection, the player sees an accurate representation of his world as he moves within it. Catch 23 will sell for £8.95 on cassette, with the 64C disk retailing for £12.95 and the Amstrad disk, £13.95.”
This sums up a rather complex sounding game and one which sounds very exciting. The game got a release on the Amstrad and Spectrum, and the reviewers were quite damning. After the impressive effect wears off, you’re left with quite an average game.
The lack of a C64 conversion suggests that it didn’t have enough poke to do things at speed and it was canned early on. Although CVG mentioned the C64, the adverts only stated Spectrum and Amstrad – so was it dropped early?
Oddly, it was found that a review was done in Finnish computer magazine C-lehti in 1987 (See translated review below thanks to contributor Antti). It isn’t sure how legitimate the review is, but it isn’t helped by the fact that they show a screenshot of Encounter instead. Were they anticipating the C64 release and decided to write about it anyway? We’re not sure, but we’ve added the scan anyway thanks to contributor Antti.
More soon we hope on this one!…
Contributions: Peter Weighill, Brendan Phoenix, Antti
Translated article from C-Lehti, thanks to Antti.
”Gee-Whizz! The enemy has built a plane operating from the orbit CK-23, and we don’t have one. The balance of power is at risk, unless we send a man to the island where the prototype is. He could steal the blueprints and then blow up the island.”
”Sir! We have just the right man!”
…and so I find myself on a dark island, carrying an assault rifle in my hands and the destiny of the Free World on my shoulders. I have eight hours to complete my mission before the sun rises and the game is up.
It seems that there’s a kind of image intensifer attached to the visor of my helmet. That would explain why everything looks like vector graphics. If only I could find the terminals of the Resistance’s scientists. Maybe then things would work out.
Catch-23 takes you on a mission behind enemy’s backs. You can travel to the different parts of the large island either by foot or by shuttle – there are shuttle stations everywhere. Piece of cake – if only there weren’t far too many enemies, both soldiers and tanks, to survive even for five minutes. The instructions are excellent. The graphics are fast enough, and there’s some depth in the game, but… They have seriously messed up the shooting part. The poor commando has to move the crosshair around and pull the trigger every two seconds, and with joystick that is not easy. Death comes soon enough. This simple flaw spoils a promising game. It’s just silly. However, you should give Catch-23 a go if you think you can handle the joystick faster than anybody on Earth.