Sinclair User3rd March 1989
Published in Sinclair User #87
The Paranoia Complex
Why do I get the feeling that this game might of taken some inspiration from 1984. The Paranoia Complex is a largish city set somewhere in the vicinity of Milton Keynes. The controlling force of the city is Friend Computer. He provides all the food, jobs, issues of B O and everything else needed to survive, and peace is controlled via a bunch of burly henchmen known to all as Police.
The city is at unrest. Lots of people are unhappy and are joining together to form resistance groups. You have been chosen by the computer to be an undercover agent. You must travel around the city keeping an eye on things and generally keeping within the law because. Friend of the computer or not. the guards will still shoot you on sight upon word of command from ol' FC.
At the start of the game, you are an ordinary minion moving around the city. The first thinig you have to do is find a computer terminal and log on to the computer shopping system. Buy yourself a communicator and before long, messages will start coming from the computer, giving you instructions. The first one warns you of a traitor who is running around the city killing people.This means that if you get in his way, he'll kill you. The trick is to stand on a corner and jump him W as he walks past. Once I he's down, you have to search his pockets for a disk. Bring this disk to a confessional booth, and the computer rewards you with a large amount of money and a clearance promotion, which allows you to reach other levels of the city.
Just to make sure you are mentally sound, you are stopped by the guards and at computer checkpoints, where you are asked psychoanalytical questions, all of which are answered by a simple yes or no.Questions such as "Are you happy?".
'Are you a fascist pig?" and "What is your clearance?" Answer wrongly and the computer lets the world know that you are now a traitor and should be terminated immediately.
The game is viewed as a plan view flip screen arcade adventure with some very nicely animated sprites, but the rest of the game looks a bit sparse. All the sprites are the same, just different colours representing different ranks.
The backdrops are bland and very samey all the way through.
I must say. I get bored very quickly looking at this game.
A game with as much content and promise as this should be <a) deep, (b) involved and (c) fun. In reality The Paranoia Complex is (a) dull, (b) boring and (c) tedious. I just didn't enjoy playing it at all. At first I thought it was because there was some gameplay element I was missing out on, but as I played through I realised this wasn't the case.
Label: Gremlin Author: Magic Bytes Price: £9.95 Memory: 48K/128K Joystick: various Reviewer: Tony Dillon
Failed attempt to recreate a dark, moody atmosphere and a paranoia inducing situation.