A new software house with their first game, and packaged in some very 'alternative' packaging. It certainly doesn't look like a cassette or disc box, but it does look attractive. The game is set in the HQ of a drugs ring which you have to smash, and combines several familiar themes to create quite a different game.
The screen is split into several areas which you need to be familiar with before getting very far into the game. The top third is the area where you can see the man you control and part of the level of the building he is on. Below are various windows that show communications from other characters, a radar display of characters and objects on your building level but off-screen, the direction of someone or something interesting, facial pictures of friends and enemies, and a list of possible moves or actions. To understand most of what's going on, you have to read the instructions carefully, but eventually the basically simple aim reveals itself.
Supposedly, you are searching the eight floor levels of the building for a friend of yours and the answers to 32 questions. Each question is composed of four scrambled fragments which you have to rearrange, but first you've got to find them - all 128 if you're going to complete the game. The pieces are found in rooms all over the eight levels of the complex, which have to be systematically searched in order to find the information.
Your character has a large number of possible moves and actions, including karate kicks and punches for fighting and some acrobatic avoidance measures. He can also get hold of guns and grenades to give him more firepower. The characters you meet are pretty tough too, and if they get nasty they can beat you up pretty good. There are also friendly characters who are members of Nexus and can provide you with help, as long as you stay on the right side of them.
To get between levels you use lifts, but to be safe from attack in some areas you need pass cards which can be got from Nexus personnel. Once you're familiar with the layout and action involved, the game becomes mostly a matter of keeping out of trouble and searching the whole complex for pieces. Once you've got plenty of pieces, you can edit them in a special room to discover the answers to the 32 questions, and then transmit the answers from the 'transmission' room. Another room allows you to locate and examine the skills of the members of Nexus when you need their help.
The graphics and animation are quite good, with a very nice screen layout and use of windows. There's music too that tootles along with the game but it isn't very inspiring. Initially it takes time to get to grips with things, but once you're underway, the gameplay varies between repetitive searching of rooms and bursts of fighting action. There's plenty here to get to grips with but it may wear thin after you've found and edited most of the messages.
First Day Target Score
A cut above the usual run-around-searching-rooms stuff, but the puzzles are still pretty puny and the graphics aren't all that hot either. It's well presented and the digitised faces are great if you squint a bit, but it doesn't feel very satisfying. I do wonder how long it's going to keep people hooked, truth to tell.
The plot is corny, the instructions complicated and the packaging totally over the top - but I liked this one. It has a nice balance of action and adventure, but could become repetitive quite quickly.
P. A large, interesting playing area.
P. Tough task requiring strategy and skill.
P. Good screen design and graphics.
P. Nice features like the computer terminals and the Nexus personnel.
N. Gameplay may become repetitive.
Green Screen View
Colour coding on terminals and guards' uniforms causes some serious problems.