This novel game features the black and white cartoon spies from the Mad comics, doing what they do best - fighting each other! It's a true two player game with a split screen display allowing both spies to operate independently as they try to outwit each other.
The action takes place in an embassy, which can be any size from six to 36 rooms. The objective is to find four objects hidden in the embassy, place them in a bag and escape to the airport before time runs out or the other spy does it first. The objects are found by searching the furniture in the rooms but to carry more than one at once you need the bag to put them in. The problem is that the other spy is directly competing with you and will fight you for the Objects.
The screen is split into two monitor sections with a camera view on the right and a machine called a "trapulator" on the right. The camera shows the 3D view of the room the spy is in; if both spies are in the same room only one display is used to show both.
The rooms usually have one or more pieces of furniture in them in the form of cupboards, filing cabinets, pictures on the wall and televisions. The floor is sometimes covered by carpet or a hole by a small rug. These holes can be used for moving between floors as they connect to ladders. Getting between rooms is a simple matter of vising the doors, which are sometimes nicely panelled. The doors can appear on any of the four sides of the room although there is no wall at the front so the door is indicated by a thin strip along the floor. The doors and furniture are the main places where traps can be set for the other spy using the "trapulator".
There are two main ways of battling with your opponent. The most simple is to be in the same room where you can smash each other about with sticks until one spy dies. The dead spy flutters off screen as a winged angel (heaven takes all sorts these days!) and loses valuable time, while the other spy chuckles evilly before racing off again in pursuit of objects. If you have the misfortune to die it costs time and sends the spy back to the starting room.
The other, and more satisfying, way of killing your opponent is by setting booby traps for him. These are accessed using the trapulator and can be planted in furniture, on doors or just out in the open. If a spy is unfortunate enough to search a booby-trapped piece of furniture - or open a rigged door - then once again he will die gruesomly, lose time and leave the other spy nearly dying of laughter.
The traps can be stopped using various objects found in specific pieces of furniture, but you need to know which object removes which trap and which trap is where - not easy. The only way to know is to try to keep an eye on what the spy is doing on the other display while still trying to do things yourself.
The spies are aided by a map on the trapulator showing the level of the embassy they are on, and where an object is. The game can be played against the computer or another player; the former being a real test of skill and the latter a tremendously exciting battle of wits.
The game ends either when both spies run out of time or when one succeeds in getting to the airport with all the objects (He dies if he hasn't got them all!). Whereupon he flies off in his plane and obtains a ranking like "average guy spy" or "small fry spy" depending on how well you've done.
How you can expect to go around incognito with a proboscis like this is beyond me! But let that pass... This is a program which captures fully the maniacal humour of the cartoon strip. The split-screen display provides some frantic fun in both one and two player mode. Animation is excellent and the potential playing area should satisfy the most demanding of moles.
P. Excellent graphics and animation.
P. Good title tune and sound effects.
P. Compulsive two-player action
P. A tough computer opponent.
P. Traps are a marvellously original idea.
P. Great sense of humour.
N. Traps and depth of game may not be immediately appreciated.
N. Sometimes difficult to position spies accurately.