Remember when comic books cost a nickel and required nothing more complex than the ability to read - and to hide them from teachers and parents?
Paragon software's new computerized comic book, "The Amazing Spider-Man and Captain America in Dr. Doom's Revenge," costs $44.95. You still have to read, but it's unlikely you'll be able to hide the required IBM-PC or compatible with 512,000 characters of memory and a color monitor from anyone.Produced in cooperation with Marvel Comics, the program is marketed by Medalist International, MicroProse Software's effort to expand beyond the niche that brought it fame and fortune with true-to-life combat simulations.
Playing Dr. Doom's Revenge begins with reading a paper comic book that sets the scene. Here's how the game played according to 14-year-old Kevin, CompuBug's resident game junkie:
"This game is literally a comic book in which you take part. The sinister Dr. Doom has captured a nuclear missile and is threatening to destroy New York because the United States won't agree to become a colony of Latveria, Dr. Doom's country. You, being Spider-Man and Captain America, famed super-heroes, must stop Dr. Doom.
"The graphics are good. The game also comes with various sound card support (Ad Lib, Hearsay 1000), so hearing a punch or kick could be quite an earful. I reviewed this game on a Tandy 1000 (16 colors) with Tandy sound.
"The best part is the fight scene. Here you can punch, kick, flip, jump, duck as you fight it out with evil characters like Rattan, Machete, Batroc and Rhino. The background of the fight scenes is excellently detailed, with mounted animal heads, furniture, etc.
"The best system configuration would be an AT-class computer with EGA (or Tandy 1000) and joystick. Some other fun toys might be a hard card or a music card. I found it a little slow on a below AT-class computer. This game could be fun for all ages. A younger child might enjoy the use of a joystick because keyboard commands could be confusing."
Don't figure on the game for those much younger than 10. And more than a passing familiarity with the Marvel Comics characters will add to the enjoyment. Adults who plan to amble over to the newsstand to reacquaint themselves with comic books should beware: Comics now start at 75 cents and run to $1 each.