Mining on Mars in the 21st Century
The year is 2010.
Advancements in space technology have made it possible for
Earth-based companies to establish mining operations throughout the
solar system. A research team on Mars has uncovered rich deposits of
vital minerals deep beneath the planet's surface.
Wasting no time, the
enormous industrial firm of Hugopolis Inc. has set up a mining
colony on the Red Planet but the mining is constantly causing huge
chunks of rock and debris to hurtle from the excavation into the
sides of the open mining pit, which threatens to bury the whole
You must capture chunks
of debris before they demolish the side of the pit. Your only
equipment is a speedy Catcher Cage. To activate this Catcher Cage
just type in the listing, checking it with TYPO 3 and SAVE a copy
before you RUN it.
The Catcher Cage consists
of two parts. There's a grabber that can be raised and lowered by
pressing or releasing the joystick button. Attached to this is a
pulley that moves sideways when you push the joystick left or right.
You cannot move the grabber vertically and the pulley horizontally
at the same time.
Any debris touched by the
moving Catcher Cage will be caught and conveniently disposed of in a
nearby acid bath. The lower down the pit you catch the debris, the
more points you get.
You bet! Mining on Mars releases highly explosive Radon gas bubbles
into the atmosphere. Should your Catcher Cage touch one, the gas
within will be released and destroy you instantly.
Also lurking in the pit
are harmless blue creatures called Gruds. Offworld protests by
wildlife preservation groups have made destroying these creatures
illegal. Killing a Grud results in the loss of five points.
Each time a chunk of rock
strikes the cliff face, the danger level (shown in the bottom right
corner) increases by one. When the stress reaches five, it makes the
cliff collapse, destroying the mining operation and you. The Catcher
Operator's booth is stationed at the top of this cliff, so when it
collapses, you are buried.
The key to Cliffhanger is
anticipating where the next chunk of debris will hit and getting
there first with your Catcher Cage. Another useful method is the
'fishing technique'. Just press the joystick button and let the
Catcher Cage descend a little way below the debris. When the rock is
directly over the grabber chain, release the button. Also, the
Catcher Cage moves twice as fast as the debris, so you'll probably
get another chance if you miss first time.
Cliffhanger is the
first program from ANTIC magazine to be published under our
exchange agreement. It first appeared in ANTIC Magazine Volume 5
Heath Lawrence lives in Port Elgin, Ontario,U.S.A. an has been
programming his Atari for around five years.