ZX Computing

By Imagine
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #24


The new, revitalised Imagine are continuing to turn out some very good games, the latest being Movie, a game set on the streets of New York in which you play the part of Jack Marlow, a Private Eye in search of a valuable tape recording.

The style of the game is similar to that of Knight Lore and the more recent Sweevo's World, giving a slightly overhead 3D view of the streets and rooms that you travel through. But instead of being a cute little sprite, Jack Marlow is a shady looking character in a trenchcoat and trilby, and as he walks along there's an effective crunching sound effect that sounds as if Jack is walking along the gritty New York sidewalks.

The tape that you're looking for is in the hideout of the gangster Bugs Malloy, but getting there isn't going to be easy. As you scout the area you'll bump into some of Bug's henchmen, and there are more and more of them the closer you get to the hideout Some of these people may be able to help you, but most of them will try to bump you off with a well-placed bullet or a haymaker to the chin. Fortunately, you can pack a mean punch as well, and watching the hoods disintegrate after a slugging match is very satisfying. Also, if you can find them, there are guns and bombs lying around that will let you shoot your way out of tough spots.


As well as the Ultimate style graphics, Movie also features an icon menu that allows you to perform a variety of actions: you can pick up/drop objects which can also be used or simply thrown, you can punch or shoot other characters or even talk to them. This last option is very novel - when you select the 'talk' icon, a speech bubble appears over Marlow's head and you can fill the speech bubble by typing text on the keyboard. The level of conversation is fairly basic, but it is sufficient to let you get a password that you will need later on in the game.

The icon menu taes Movie a step further than similar games as it allows you a wider variety of actions (It's interesting to wonder what a version of the game for the 128 might do with the extra memory and sound facilities).

You'll need help to locate Bug's hideout and this arrives in the form of the twin sisters Tanya and Vanya - one of these is on your side and will lead you there, though you'll need to do some quick thinking to follow her all the way. The other sister is a 'plant' and she'll only lead you into an ambush so it's up to you to work out which sister is on your side.

My only quibble with the game is that you only have a single life to play with and it can be very frustrating to reach a late stage in the game only to lose everything by making a single mistake! Even so, the quality of the graphics and the gangster setting make Movie stand out from the crowd.