Your Sinclair

Sly Spy: Secret Agent

Author: Stuart Campbell
Publisher: The Hit Squad
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3

Published in Your Sinclair #80

Sly Spy: Secret Agent

This is a weird game to have in a re-releases column because, if my memory serves me correctly, it didn't actually get released in the first place. As I recall, it was a conversion of a coin-op with a different name which was written and reviewed, but then withdrawn at the last possible moment just as it actually hit the shops, which meant only a few people ever got the chance to buy it. It's a multi-stage beat/shoot-'em-up featuring lots of James Bond-style antics like skydiving, scuba diving, penalty-box diving (oops, been watching Marco Van Basten in the European Championships a bit too much, I think), motorbike riding and that sort of thing, although for some inexplicable reason the 'picking up implausibly beautiful enemy spy babes with impossibly corny chat-up lines and, er, interrogating them' bit seems to have been missed out completely. What's left is a weird mix of short sequences involving such amusing antics as free-falling through the sky avoiding and shooting enemy parachutists, walking along in front of some retina-melting red-and-yellow backdrops avoiding and shooting enemy agents, riding a motorbike along a city street avoiding and shooting enemy motorcyclists, and... Well, you get the idea. Each of the sub-games is quite cute in its own simplistic little way, but they all end after about 30 seconds and then, despite the tape containing a separate 128K version on one side, it's multi-load time. This means, of course, that Speccy +2 owners have a particularly miserable time. Y'see, after they've used up all their lives and continues they have to rewind, without the aid of a tape counter, to a point somewhere in the middle of the tape to reload the first stage. Not to put too fine a point on it, this is a complete pain in the bum.

Still, the rewinding lark shouldn't prove too much of a bind because, after about three practice plays, you'll find yourself sailing right through to the end without any difficulty whatsoever. You won't ever have to rewind the tape again. Phew.

Seriously though, Spec-chums, isn't it about time we stopped putting up with this kind of stuff? I remember old 48K games with 6,000 locations in one load, why should we have to suffer this ridiculous nonsense for 30 seconds of scrolling shoot-'em-up against a looping backdrop? This could be a decent little game without all the faffing around, but it's almost totally ruined. Lazy programming - I'm sick of it. Just Say No.

Stuart Campbell

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