The Micro User1st July 1988
Published in The Micro User 6.05
Tongue-in-cheek arcade adventure
Arcade adventures are becoming increasingly popular and there are a lot about. The trouble is that it's getting harder for writers to come up with new ideas to supply the tremendous demand.
Superior Software has failed to produce anything new in the genre with Spycat, its latest offering, but has succeeded in bringing out a game which is fun to play - particularly since the company has obviously produced it with tongue firmly embedded in its cheek.
You only have to read the description on the packaging to realise that it pokes fun at the recent Spycatcher affair. It makes lots of thinly-veiled references to some of the personalities involved in the long-running court case on which it's based.
The game is pretty standard stuff. You play the role of Peter Correct, a spy car employed by MI4 (and a half), who has decided to gather together three classified documents on microfilm. He wil take them with him to Greenland where he intends to write his memoirs.
You have to guide Spycar to the documents he needs through the 100 or more screens which make up the corridors of Blackhall, Drowning Street, three embassies and a surveillance complex.
Along the ay you need to unlock doors using special passes which are scattered about, avoid the many droids, surveillance cameras and security guards which drain Peter's energy if they touch him - employing the numerous objects you encounter. These vary from a pound coin to a Z88 Micro. Other useful objects are the energy and glucose pills which restore Peter's power.
A small hint: You need to get to see Q, use the Z88 in his presence and he will supply you with a disguise kit. Q, by the way, is the code name of that famous inventor, Sir Clive Amstrad.
The game has six icons which, when highlighted, perform various tasks. One allows you to pick up or drop objects, another lets you go through unlocked doors and a third lets you use objects which you are carrying. The fourth icon pauses the game and tells you your current location.
The other two control the sound level - a heart-beat which speeds up when you lose energy and a vibrating noise as mechanically-operated doors open and close behind you. There are one or two other noises, but overall sound is quite limited.
Spycar can carry three objects at any one time: He keeps them in his three pockets and each corresponds to one of the function keys - f0 to f2. By pressing the desired one you can highlight the object you wish to use or drop.
The graphics are good and the Spycat moves smoothly across a background similar in style to Omega Orb. I did come across one possible bug: A wall which Spycat could pass through into a totally different area if he jumped against it. But once through he was stuck, suspended in mid-air and unable to go anywhere. I don't think that this is a deliberate trap, but, I could be wrong.
Once again Superior Software has come up with a good product which most arcade adventure fans will enjoy. I'm sure it is going to be another big hit for them over the next few months.