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Mastertronic Ltd
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

57
Nat Pryce
Chris Bourne

Recovered from the beating he took in his last attempt at world domination, the Mad Professor is back! Only one man can stop him... Agent X! Yup, our famous (and commercially very successful) hero is back in yet more adventures, and as in the original, the games split into three different subgames. all loading separately and all completely different.

So what are these perils that face our Trilby-behatted hero? The first level is a shoot 'em up, a cross between Zynaps and Sidewize. Background graphics are very Zynaps-like, and you Can build up your weaponry from lemons (bullets) through drops (lasers) to strawberries (smart bombs). The aliens don't attack you in set formations, but come at you in snaking streams which curl around you and seem impossible to avoid until you have the right weapons. As in most shoot 'em ups these days, there are a couple of extra large aliens at the end of each sections, to make life a bit more interesting - if shorter.

Level 2 is a strange platformy game, set in a tower of screens, each with three floors. Each screen contains a computer terminal, a floating code number and an assortment of nasties, all hell bent on wiping you out. Agent X must leap from level to level collecting codes, entering them into the computers and blasting the aliens with his bubble gum (Yummy! Phil) I said 'gun' you clot. After three codes have been entered, a final code must be typed into the lowest terminal and a snake-like alien destroyed before the task is completed.

Onto the third and final level and we encounter... wait for it... a Breakout clone. Aaaargh! This one's atrocious, easily the worst of the subgames. The graphics though pretty, are too fast for their own good. The ball moves so quickly that it's extremely hard to hit at all. Worst of all, there seems to be no skill involved - you can't aim the ball as in Arkanoid, it just zips around all over the place. Unplayable, I'm afraid.

Like Software Creations last two games, Agent X and Chronos, this one looks and sounds marvellous (a good tune by Tim Follin) but falls down on gameplay - it's much too easy. From first loading it took me two hours to complete the whole game, and I didn't even have any instructions! Even at budget price I expect more than that.

Agent X II will probably appeal more to younger players as its difficulty is at that level.

Well presented trio of ultimately stale ideas which just aren't challenging enough. Younger players only.

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