Strike Force Cobra
The world is under threat again, not by some extra-terrestrial force, but by a fellow human being. This vile individual, known only as The Enemy, is threatening civilization with a nuclear holocaust unless it yields to his demand that he become President of the World. You see, this demented chappie is rather good at the hacking game and has broken into defence computers all over the world and left a small, but powerful program. If his demands aren't met, or he's killed and his password not input into the program, a massive nuclear strike will be launched to targets all over the world.
Naturally this sort of lunacy has to be stopped, so an elite fighting force consisting of the cream of the world's special forces have been assembled into an eight strong commando unit, codenamed COBRA. What this team has to do is penetrate The Enemy's fortress and blow up his giant computer...
First, they have to rescue the scientists whom The Enemy is holding captive (if they don't help him they get horribly tortured). Each scientist knows one digit of the password which they will gladly tell if rescued. This password, when assembled, disables the missile launch program.
Once the program has been disabled, the computer can then be blown up and the world will be safe. The Enemy's fortress has four levels, all heavily armed with automatic weapons systems, electronic traps, killer robots and human guards. Once an alarm is set off the main computer begins the countdown for the nuclear launch, effectively giving the game a time limit. There are mini terminals dotted around the fortress which, if destroyed, slow the countdown, thus giving you more time to complete the mission.
To crack the computer password, you have to use your Digital Lock Breaker which is also vital to gel through the doors of the main computer room. You'll also need to acquire at least six of the nine digits to stand a chance of cracking the password.
When the game starts you're asked to select an assault team of four from the eight recruits provided. These four must be used as a team if you are to succeed in your world-saving task. You can only control one member of the team at a time, so careful planning and a little strategy is needed. Each member of the team starts off in a different position around the fortress and can either try to penetrate the defences alone or find one another and work together.
Each member of the Cobra team comes armed with a sub-machine gun and electromagnetic flux grenades (which destroy or confuse electronic equipment). The commandos are also agile little devils and can be made to dive through windows, kick in doors and jump or even crawl through tiny gaps.
Despite being protected by armour, if a team member receives too many hits he will die. You are made aware of their status by means of a bar chart which appears in their icon, and as hits are sustained the bar chart diminishes until it reaches a fatal zero. If a team member is looking a bit unhealthy you can search for one of the first aid posts located around the fortress which replace the lost energy.
Not all the doors and windows yield to a good welly with a hobnail; some need to be switched on by jumping onto pressure pads located elsewhere around the complex. There are also lifts to the different levels of the fortress which are controlled by switching consoles in other rooms - you'll just have to learn which consoles control which lifts.
Although the pace is slow and there isn't a great deal of fast action, I found Strike Force Cobra rather absorbing to play. It's no graphical marvel and does slow down quite drastically at times, but on the whole it plays quite well and offers plenty of challenge. If you're willing to persevere. My only major gripe with this game is the lack of sound - some quality interactive music would have created a decent atmosphere. Strike Force Cobra is far from outstanding and I wouldn't regard it as an essential purchase, but it's worth a look if you want to try something different.
I didn't like playing this much. For a start, the keyboard controls are a real pain. Surely the programmers could have better use of the joystick? The instructions aren't particularly informative, and it takes quite a few games before you can get a real grip on the situation and work out what should happen when and where. The graphics don't help either, sometimes it's very difficult to work out exactly what's going on.
It's a shame really. Strike Force Cobra is a nice idea but it's let down by too many flaws.
Strike Force Cobra is a most unusual game for the C64; it actually looks more like a Spectrum game. Unfortunately I can't really see many C64 owners getting into it with the knowledge that it could look and sound a great deal better.
As a game concept, it's quite adventurous, theoretically it could have worked well, but sadly it hasn't. If you want to try something different it might be worth checking this out, otherwise save your pennies.
Rather awkward keyboard controls, but the LOAD/SAVE option is useful.
The characters are sometimes unclear and slow down considerably when several things are on screen.
A few very simple spot effects.
Difficult to get into due to the over-complicated controls and tricky gameplay.
Plenty there for those who are willing to persevere.
Value For Money 62%
Nothing special for ten quid.
A nice idea which hasn't quite worked in practice.