Hacker II: The Doomsday Papers (Activision) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

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Hacker II: The Doomsday Papers
By Activision
Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #38

Hacker II: The Doomsday Papers

If you bought Hacker I, you've probably already made your mind up to go out and buy the sequel just as soon as your pocket is up to the strain. Don't expect anything radically different.

As the world's greatest living computer expert, the upholder of life and liberty in the true American style, the CIA has come to you for assistance. Dirty Russian warmonger Alexander Cherkazov plans to jeopardise (sic) the Free World by methods documented in the Doomsday papers. Your job is to half inch the paperwork and turn it over to Uncle Sam so that global thermonuclear way can be averted and we can all rest safe in our beds.

The paperwork is in a vault. The vault is in a well-guarded building. The building is in Siberia. The combination of the vault, or rather bits of it, are in filing cabinets in various places throughout the building and the filing cabinets themselves have an electronic locking device which can only be opened by the correct password. Getting the idea?

Your micro is hooked up to the CIA central computer, by a direct modem link, I assume. The Vic 20 down at the CIA in turn communicates, via satellite, with the MFSM, and that controls your MRUs. A bit of terminology to explain here. An MRU is a Mobile Remote Unit, a bit like the SRUs in Hacker. Three of them are hidden in the building and they do the leg work for you.

MFSM is not, as you might think, the sound you make if you try saying 'my feet smell' with a mouth full of rice crispies, but a Multi-Function Switching Matrix. The MFSM, as well as being the controller for the MRUs is your eyes and ears inside the building.

There are four screens which can be activated to display the security guard's monitor screen, the fixed location security camera, or the TGS - telemetry guidance system. The TGS shows you a plan of where your MRUs are and where they are going.

What you must do is get your MRU to the filing cabinets to get the parts of the combination, even eventually to the vault to nick the Doomsday papers. And here's how you do it (skip this bit if you want to work it out for yourself, go and read Tommy's Tips or something).

First, you've got to find out which rooms the filing cabinets are in. Do that by watching the monitors and making a note of the locations. Now you must get to the cabinet without being spotted, or your MRU will be annihilated - very unpleasant.

That's done by walking down the corridors while the monitors are examining rooms and vice versa. When you get to a cabinet the MRU asks for a command, try using the Remote Optical Analyser. You will need to know the code, the log on sequence tells you the code for one cabinet - RED 7.

There's one other neat trick. You can play a videotape recording of earlier surveillance into one of the cameras so it can't see you rifling through the cabinet. They got that from a film about a bank robbery, but I can't remember what it was called [The Lavender Hill Mob? - Ed].

Although it's more complex, and there is a greater attention to detail, Hacker II is no harder to crack than its predecessor. But it's probably too early to say. I know from bitter experience that, just when you think you've got it cracked, something happens that puts you back on square one. However long it takes you, it's an experience you'll enjoy.

Just to end on a sour note, though, I think it's a shame Activision had to rely on the old 'America, champion of the Free West versus the dirty, scheming Russians' scenario.

Ken McMahon

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