The Sidney Affair
By Infogrames
Spectrum 48K

Published in Crash #40

The Sidney Affair

If you suspect this game is a Vera Cruz clone then you're quite right, for in just about every way The Sidney Affair runs in exact parallel to its distinguished predecessor.

As Detective Sergeant in the Crime Squad in St Etienne, you've already shown your ability in the Vera Cruz case. Your superiors were most impressed by your analytical approach and have put you at the head of the Sidney Investigation. The game begins with a chap's head lined up and centred in the sites of a rifle eyepiece, pointed by an assassin from the window of an apartment across the street. These two locations (St Gueran Street and the flat opposite) form the frames through which a magnifying glass is positioned to find clues and, much in the same way as Vera Cruz, photographs and notes entered in a note book provide the starting points from which the investigation radiates.

The Spectrum cursor keys glide the magnifying glass around the screen, and it won't take long to realise that systematically running the glass up and down assures no vital evidence is overlooked. Starting in the street, the man (who you see being killed in the first frame of the game) fell with his back to the pavement, with his briefcase lying unopened two or three feet away. Examining his left-inside pocket you discover a wallet with a driving licence, credit cards and an ID; this last, apparently, must be carried by everyone in France to prove they aren't an alien absconding from Mars.

The Sydney Affair

The victim was a lames Sidney, which accounts for the title and rules out any antipodean connotations, who was married with two children at 5 St lames Square, Clermont. In the apartment across the way you find, guess what, a Camel cigarette like in Vera Cruz, a spent cartridge still reeking of cordite, and an invaluable fingerprint. As far as I could tell Part Two is the very same Diamond Computer System found in Vera Cruz. It's here that I get the same negative feelings I had with that earlier game; I just don't think the instructions are explicit enough and I wonder how many people beyond the superhero sort get anywhere with these games. The blinding while background of Vera has been retained, much to my chagrin, and the input routine can be a touch sensitive. Assuming the instructions I received are the same as those that come with the game, I couldn't really go overboard about Sidney Affair thinking that many people who buy ii wouldn't get much beyond Part One.

The Sidney Affair is a superb idea but I'm not totally convinced it has been presented that well on the Spectrum. Given the originality of these Gilles Blancon games, and the popular appeal of Who Dunnit yams, I can't see many Vera Cruz fans resisting this one.


Difficulty: Part Two is a stone wall that may leave many nonplussed
Graphics: excellent scenes of the crime and mug shots
Presentation: good
Input facility: roving icon, structured sentences
Response: fast

Derek Brewster

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