A&B Computing


Spy Vs. Spy
By Tynesoft
BBC/Electron

 
Published in A&B Computing 4.09

Smiley's People

Here, at last, is the first result of Tynesoft's quest for US licensing deals, coded by Kevin Edwards. The game, based on the strip by Prohias in humorous Mad magazine, marks a significant step forward by Tynesoft and is the sort of option-full, colourful and imaginative game that owners of other machines see all the time but Beeb owners only rarely.

The basic idea is simple: two spites (one black, one white - no nationalities, although Prohias is a Cuban satirist) live for one thing only, to outwit the other. In a world of embassies, secret documents and the like they spend their time setting traps for each other although in the original strip these often backfire.

The computer game takes this idea and comes up with something quite different from any other BBC game - a split-screen, action strategy game. Once you've decided the basic option (two player or one player versus computer) you're faced with a split-screen - two views of a room in the embassy and two 'trapulators'. The action (like Dunjunz) in each monitor following the route of each spy means that as well as playing the game you must keep an eye of your opponent's movements. As you move round the rooms (choice of 6-32) you search for objects (four objects plus briefcase required to escape embassy - the ultimate objective) and set traps for your opponent, using icon choices from the trapulator.

Spy Vs. Spy

As the game counts down to a deadline your actions become a choice between searching, setting traps and, if required, fighting hand to hand with clubs when both spies are in the same room.

The game is not one, I think, that you will tire of quickly. There's lots going on and, although the graphics are a little 'thin' compared to versions of the game on C64 etc, there has obviously been some nifty coding going on to allow so much independent action on the screen at once.

A stunning loading screen, an easily manipulated options screens and discrete music by Ian Waugh all point to this being an excellent package and it is only the lack of a joystick option that seems to let the game down. Lots of devious gameplay, original thinking and the challenge of balancing all the elements of the game at once suggest to me that this will sell well for Tynesoft. The company has moved quickly from being a quantity producer of Beeb games to being a quality one. The time now being taken to code games and the quality control Software Developer Dave Croft both augur well for future Tynesoft releases.

I'm enjoying this game tremendously - there's lots to do and the start-up options mean that the game can be made sufficiently hard to ensure a long life. Give this one a try - I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Dave Reeder

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