A&B Computing

Hacker 2000

Author: Jonathan Evans
Publisher: Micrograf
Machine: BBC Model B

Published in A&B Computing 2.05

While it lasted, this game gave me as much pleasure as any other computer game that I have played (yes, even including Elite). Although described as an 'adventure', only one part of the program resembles the orthodox variety - the rest is totally original. Presentation of the game in terms of sound effects, Mode 7 graphics and general atmosphere is quite superb.

The program loads and presents instructions to the accompaniment of a beautiful atmospheric rendering of Holst's Mars. For once, I was happy to have the instructions in the program rather than in accompanying documentation. The scenario is that you are a Prole in a futuristic Orwellian society, who is attempting to raise his status to that of the privileged Programmer by hacking into the Multivax mainframe system. You need to acquire funds by discovering account numbers and breaking into a banker's computer files. There are other similar puzzles to solve, including upgrading the official records of your brain scan level.

Early on you need to solicit the help of a subversive robot, which moves around in adventure-like style. Most of the rest involves picking up clues from reading people's electronic mail etc, which can be used when breaking into other accounts later on. Along the way there are some marvellous touches of humour which I won't reveal here, since it might spoil your enjoyment.

There is only one problem with this game - it doesn't last long enough. Whilst I admit that I peeked once or twice at the crib sheet sent with the review copy, this didn't speed me up very much and I was able to solve the game in only a few hours play. Of course, it may be that I have an unusual talent for this kind of thing. Perhaps I should invest in that modem after all...

Jonathan Evans

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