C&VG1st June 1985
Published in Computer & Video Games #44
Confidential has been written using The Quill and is well presented on-screen with clear colours, plus an interesting folder full of information.
The game begins in your office, the Craig Adams Detective Agency. Ooh! What's that noise? I can't stop it! EXAMINE DESK. Ah, there's a phone on it. At the other end of the line is a distraught Mrs Richards who explains that she needs your help urgently. So off you go, or try to go, to her home. As a good private eye, you always keep your important belongings in a safe place. Car keys in the filing cabinet, for example.
After the slight problem (and the annoyance of having to OPEN CAR, ENTER CAR all the time) you soon arrive at Mrs Richards' house - The Gables. It turns out that hubby has vanished, leaving her most upset and the local constabulary totally indifferent. Without any mention of the usual "£200 a day plus expenses", you are thrown headlong into the case!
Here I would like to give a warning to anyone considering buying this game and wanting to test it first - don't! You need to spend quite a few hours getting into the case before you being to enjoy it. I was stuck for days trying to raise my score from zero which can become so frustrating that it almost puts you in a certifiable state! Once this barrier has been broken, it is really quite easy to go from place to place, taking notes and trying to solve whodunnit.
A nice touch, I thought, was getting my car impounded for parking on double yellow lines! On the other hand, the input in the bank and department store is so skull-crushingly daft that I can't understand how anyone would guess the correct words! In the bank, for example, there is a clerk behind the counter, and you have to cash a cheque. CASH CHEQUE would have been easy to use the the Quill's "fall through" method of decoding, but the phrase actually needed is CLERK CHEQUE!!
The scoring is slightly erratic, as I found when at a score of 55% I stumbled across Mr Richards and it jumped to 100% although there was clearly a good deal of the case unsolved! Incidentally, Radar is offering a prize for the first person who gives the most satisfactory solution to the case.
Confidential is for the 48K Spectrum from Radar Games, priced £6.95.