Acorn User


Spycat

Author: David Lawrence
Publisher: Superior/Acornsoft
Machine: BBC/Electron

 
Published in Acorn User #072

There is nothing astoundingly new in Superior's latest offering, in which you must guide a Paddington Bear clone through 100 screens of fiendish puzzles and unusual adversaries. But don't let this put you off immediately, Spycat is a very amusing game. The hero, Peter Correct (pardon?), must find three top secret documents, microfilm them and then emigrate to Greenland to write up his escapades.

You can carry three items at a time and there are about thirty objects dotted about the game. Some are easy to find: there's a Z88, an oxygen cylinder and various passcards. Some, like the documentsm are hidden in cupboards. Others must be bartered for.

This takes place between you and the other people and machines in the game. You can meet M, Q and even the good ol' PM, Mrs. Thatcher in Downing Street! There's also a tea machine, though it seems to dispense only Underground tickets!

Spycat

Your unusual adversaries include surveillance cameras, space-suited people and electrified floors. All of these drain your energy if you hit them. I found the collision detections a bit on the harsh side and, as the sprites are large, it's quite hard to miss them sometimes. However, the sprites move smoothly and the main character is quite well animated.

Screen layout is very good, the 'standard' format of a shrunk Mode 5 screen with a palette switch is used to great effect. The status bar is nicely drawn and very detailed while the main screen, although quite small, contains some very nice 3D shading effects. On the other hand, the icon system for selecting actions is rather fiddly. Actions like 'get', 'drop', 'enter' and 'use' should have been on keys. Some actions seem to change your selected item - very strange and annoying.

After about half an hour the best I got was a rating of 2330 and the custody of US Secrets! Overall, I found Spycat fun to play, despite a passing similarity to certain Audiogenic games.

David Lawrence

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