Amstrad Action


Publisher: Activision
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #2


It's not often that a magazine advises you not to read one of its reviews but this is one such case. The reason is that by revealing anything about this game, we are bound to spoil your enjoyment of it. The game's atmosphere and problems rely on your powers of deduction, guesswork and luck to find out what to do after accidentally hacking into someone's computer system. You have been warned - avoid the next few paragraphs if you want to enjoy Hacker to the full.

Having accidentally hacked into the computer you've now got to get past the initial security system. You shouldn't have too much trouble doing this with some perseverance and, in later games, you may even be able to find the password that gets you straight in.

You've now got to find out what on earth you're inside. The first job is to identify pieces of machinery on some equipment you've been given and this is a matter of experimentation before you can get it right. Having done that, more information is given as to the situation that exists and the role you play in it. It's a matter of global crisis and you play the good guy role of trying to stop a group of evil-minded people taking over the world. If that sounds a little far fetched for a hacker, you're right.


You have to reveal the existence of this plot to the US government while avoiding being booted out of the system. The hacker element of the game becomes rather lost while you're doing this and it becomes more of an adventure/strategy game than of code breaking and information sifting.

You control a vehicle that can travel through a worldwide network of tunnels in search of the necessary pieces of information to blow the whole kaboodle wide open. This involves negotiating and bartering with spies without falling prey to the security systems that may be activated.

This is all monitored on the screen via a map of the world and a readout at the top of the screen including a video image from the vehicle you control. The various joystick and keyboard controls also have to be worked out but this shouldn't take long once you realise you're in a tunnel network and the blobs on the map are cities.

If you've read this far, you'll have a head start on most people but we bet you don't have as much fun as them. The game was a bit disappointing because it didn't turn out to be as hacker-orientated as I was expecting but it still provides some great discovery fun and problem solving. Could cause lots of frustration - but then that's half the fun!

Second Opinion

I used to think hacking was something smokers did in the morning - until I tried this. The start of the game is truly baffling, and it's only a stroke of luck that got me going at all. Thereafter, things were a little easier to workout. But not much. This is an involving blend of adventure and strategy, and even throws in a touch of humour for good measure.

Good News

P. Fascinating as you discover new information.
P. Certainly a tough one to solve.
P. Good atmosphere produced by the element of discovery.
P. Interesting, if far fetched, storyline and task.

Bad News

N. If you get really stuck it could be terminally frustrating.
N. Not that closely linked to real hacking.
N. Reading this review if you wanted to get the most from the game.