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This would have been played somewhere around 1988 to 1998, on a Tandy Color Computer 2 or a CoCo 3, so my memories are more than a bit hazy, but it started with you entering a facility on land. I only remember two things. One was that you could retrieve a "catalyst" in a lab, and that there was something you did to enable the sub's sonar. Eventually, you board the submarine, which I think was blue.

After you boarded the sub, you were headed to an underwater secret facility. You couldn't see anything once you got so deep, and you had to use the sonar to navigate. If you hadn't turned it on, you might have auto-failed. I remember the sub had a golden mechanical arm you could use to grab... something. I don't remember what. I only made my way to the facility once, I think by chance.

I know submarines are not strictly science fiction, but I remember these models being notably more advanced than the actual technology, not to mention the undersea base. Other text adventures I played were Night of the Living Dead, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and a War of the Worlds adaptation. I don't remember this one being any particular adaptation.

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Ah! Found it. Sea Stalker.

Sea Stalker was one of the many Infocom text adventure games that were available for almost every 8 or 16 bit computer platform in the early 1980's. There most famous creation was the Zork series. The Coco versions required disk drives, and came out fairly late compared to some other platforms, but most of them were ported (three of the Zork's, Hitchhiker's Guide, and others). Sea Stalker was one of their "Junior" level games; meaning it was one of the easier ones to solve. Unlike most text adventure games of the time, the Infocom ones were quite rich in text detail, and they had one of the better text parsers.

Your mission in this game is to save the Aquadome - the world's first undersea research station. You do so from your submarine (the Scimitar), and there is a rumor that their is a traitor in the Aquadome...

As often happens, I got some details wrong, but the "catalyst capsule" shows up around 4:01, and is used to start the sub's reactor. Around 6:50, you can see the sub's sonar at work (which is more graphical than I'd clearly remembered. I had a vague idea of line outlines using forward and backward slashes, but assumed I was misremembering it.

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