DescriptionBob Morlock is a game designer who has just developed a 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 versionThe 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.
Cancelled sequelA 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?Interview by Dany Boolauck, Tilt n°52 March 1988, p24
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.
CroolisOne of the game's alien races, the Croolis, also appears in the second Exxos game, Purple Saturn Day.
EGA versionThe EGA version of the game was only available in the U.S. Europeans were limited to playing in CGA.
ManualThe 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.
MusicSome versions don'* include the trademark Jean Michel Jarre title music ("Ethnicolor"). Instead, it has a beeper tune composed by Charles Callet.
PlanetsThere are 32,768 unique planets in the game.
References to the gameThe game is referenced in the manuals of Purple Saturn Day and Dune
ReleasesThere 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 versionIt 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.
TechnologyThis game was one of the first to use fractal techniques, to generate its flying sequences and rotating planets.
Time limitThe manual states that the game is limited to 45 hours in real time. This is not true and likely there is no time limit at all.
US versionThe U.S. version of the game was censored for nudity. The Ondoyante (naked in the European release) had a bikini-type-thing pasted on.
- October 1988 (issue #13) - Included in the Top-100 list of 1987/1988 (editorial staff selection)
Related Web Sites
- Abandonia (for DOS, Amiga, Macintosh, C64: downloadable releases; additional material)
- Alone in the Past ? (A French site about Captain Blood.)
- ARGnet (Andrew R. Gillett's site contains an extensive page of Blood info, especially focusing on the original Atari ST version.)
- Atarimania (for Atari ST: database; downloadable releases; artwork; additional material)
- Cambridge Centre for Computing History (Exxos, Amstrad CPC464) (For Amstrad CPC464: exhibit reference ID CH41416; additional material.)
- Cambridge Centre for Computing History (Exxos, Atari ST) (For Atari ST: exhibit reference ID CH12608; additional material.)
- Cambridge Centre for Computing History (Exxos, Commodore 64) (For Commodore 64: exhibit reference ID CH41530; additional material.)
- Cambridge Centre for Computing History (SMASH 16 re-release) (For Amiga: exhibit reference ID CH10827; additional material.)
- Captain Blood Legacy website, a remake in project (for unknown platforms: by Philippe Ulrich and Didier Bouchon, 2 of the original authors)
- Commodore 64 Boxed Sets (for C64: high quality software sets (box; digitalised manual; miscellaneous; screenshots))
- CPC-Power (in French) (for Amstrad CPC: dowloadable releases; artwork; additional material)
- CPCRrulez (in French) (For Amstrad CPC: game database entry; advertisement; game packaging; downloadable releases; additional material.)
- DOSBox, an x86 emulator with DOS (Statistics page of compatibility with original DOS version.)
- Game Base 64 (for C64: Games, Database, Music, Emulation, Frontends, Reviews and Articles)
- Hall of Light (for Amiga: database; manuals; artwork; screenshots; additional material)
- Hayden's Captain Blood Page (A fan-site with information on this game.)
- IMDb, the Internet Movie Database (Game database entry.)
- Internet Archive (Apple IIgs) (downloadable release; online emulation of game; additional material)
- Internet Archive (ZX Spectrum 128K) (downloadable release; online emulation of game; additional material)
- Kio's home (For ZX Spectrum: additional material including – photographed cassete inlay; snapshots; downloadable releases.)
- Lemon 64 (for C64: games, reviews and music)
- Lemon Amiga (for Amiga: game reviews; cheats & music)
- Macintosh Garden (for Macintosh: downloadable releases; screenshots; reviews; artwork)
- Replacementdocs (Manual) (Documentation for Amiga.)
- Replacementdocs (Manual) (Documentation for PC (DOS/Windows).)
- The Captain Blood Shrine (Completely dedicated to Captain Blood.)
- The Tipshop (For ZX Spectrum: a central archive for all Spectrum and SAM games hints, tips, cheats, maps, hacks and pokes.)
- Virtual Apple 2 - Online disk archive (for Apple IIgs: online emulation of game; downloadable releases; additional material)
- Wikipedia (combined platform entry)
- World of Spectrum (for ZX Spectrum: downloadable releases; additional material; magazine references; magazine adverts)
- ZX-Art - online archive of pixel art and 8-bit music (For ZX Spectrum: music, credits, pixel art. artist's graphics artwork.)
- ZX Spectrum Reviews (For ZX Spectrum: magazine game reviews in HTML.)