Bob Morlock is a game designer who has just developed a new video game new sci-fi video game set in outer space and alien worlds. While testing the product Morlock inexplicably finds himself in the spaceship within the game. A hyperspace accident clones him thirty times. Each of the clones departs, taking with him a portion of a vital fluid that sustains Morlock's life. Assuming the persona of the brave Captain Blood, the programmer tracks down and disintegrated twenty-five clones, spending 800 years to achieve that goal. However, five clones still remain, hidden somewhere in the depths of the galaxy. Captain Blood must find these clones and destroy them before he loses his own life.Captain Blood
is an open-ended first-person adventure game. Much of the game consists of traveling to various planets and communicating with the aliens there to gather clues concerning the clones' whereabouts. The player commands a biological ship called Ark, and must launch probes onto planet surfaces, successfully navigating them through the landscape to locate an alien. The Ark can also scan planets and sometimes teleport aliens to different locations.
Conversations with the aliens are conducted via the so-called UPCOM interface. Over 150 icons are available to represent different concepts. Since each alien speaks his own language, the player must input various combinations of the icons to be able to understand the alien and communicate with him. Successfully concluding conversations may offer clues or unlock other planets. The protagonist's health deteriorates over the time, which affects the game's interface by making it more difficult to control. These symptoms may be reverted by disintegrating a clone.
- "L'Arche du Capitaine Blood" -- French title
- "Die Arche des Captain Blood" -- German title
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Atari ST version
The game was originally developed for the Atari ST. This version has two differences to the ports to other systems:
- It is s open-ended. When you 'win' the game, it actually continues, with you still being able to continue playing. There is no real ending to it. When you think about the game plot, this lack of an ending actually makes perfect sense. This feature wasn't implemented in the PC version (or in most of the other conversions).
- The Atari ST version is the only version to feature spoken Bluddian. This is the language the inhabitants of the Hydra Galaxy use to communicate. In the game, you can speak to the aliens by using Bluddian symbols: there are symbols for about every concept in the game. In the Atari version, each time you clicked on a symbol or that Alien speak to you, the Bluddian words are played on the speakers ("numh" for yes, "duhm" for not...) - if you play enough, you can actually learn how to speak Bluddian.
A sequel to Captain Blood
was planned for release at the end of 1988. It is unknown why it was dropped, but a short interview with Philippe Ulrich and Didier Bouchon (in Tilt magazine, March '88) gives a tantalising glimpse of what could have been:
Q. What are we your projects for 1988? Will we see Blood in a new adventure?
A. The development of a second scenario for Blood is in progress. The game system is similar to the previous episode. It is a war against the KINGPAK, which are not the stupid, greedy beings that we know. In their history, they have a social organization, a culture, laws. The interface graphics, all the characters, their knowledge bases will be different. There are sixteen families of characters. They are much more intelligent, are equipped with memory and the capacity to communicate between themselves. The game's characters will have different knowledge and reactions according to each player.
To give you an idea, the conversational base in the first game is 4 KB, and 32 KB in the second. Then we envisage the release in October 1988 of another Blood adventure, which will be even more advanced. This game will contain a space flight simulation part, an arcade part with space combat and a contact part with the extraterrestrials; the interactivity will be larger in each section of the game. In the first game, it is necessary to successfully teleport your enemies into the Ark to kill them whereas, in the next one, the Ark evolves/changes considerably; more sophisticated weapons, the appearance of shuttles and especially Blood will be able to leave the Ark.
Q. Will the players finally see his face?
A. Yes, and the player will be able to put himself in the skin of Blood or that of his/her partner Torka, the Ondoyante. Already present in the first game, she also plays an important part in the second episode.
Interview by Dany Boolauck, Tilt n°52 March 1988, p24
One of the game's alien races, the Croolis, also appears in the second Exxos game, Purple Saturn Day
The EGA version of the game was only available in the U.S. Europeans were limited to playing in CGA.
The original European manual included an short story (in seven chapters), called "The Ark According To Captain Blood". The U.S. manual only had a short synopsis with some major details omitted or changed.
Some versions don'* include the trademark Jean Michel Jarre title music ("Ethnicolor"). Instead, it has a beeper tune composed by Charles Callet.
There are 32,768 unique planets in the game.
References to the game
The game is referenced in the manuals of Purple Saturn Day
There are two releases of Captain Blood
on the Atari ST. The second is like a beta release. No multilanguage, French only, title orange and without design. Some upcom pics are word and not draw and you always begin the game is an izwal.
Tandy 16-color version
It is rumored that a Tandy 16-color graphics version exists, since a slip of paper inserted into the box mentions that it "will be available soon", and that "you can exchange your current disks for a Tandy 16-color version" by contacting Mindscape.
This game was one of the first to use fractal techniques, to generate its flying sequences and rotating planets.
The manual states that the game is limited to 45 realtime hours. This is not true and likely there is no time limit at all.
The U.S. version of the game was censored for nudity. The Ondoyante (naked in the European release) had a bikini-type-thing pasted on.Information also contributed by