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Quicksilva Ltd
1987
Arcade: Platform
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

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31
Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

Life has its ups and clowns but never more so than in the Secret Service. I'd tell you about it but it's meant to be secret. Well, okay then, as its you...

As an agent you're not delivering, you're collecting, and owing to the nature of the papers you're after (they're secret and belong to the enemy) you can't just walk in the front door of the block and ask for them.

In fact, the front door is the last thing on your mind, since you make your entrance via the roof! You're dropped from a hovering chopper and after that you're on your own, with only a trusty pistol to keep the peace.

The enemy HQ is a pretty anonymous collection of corridors, of the sort loved by faceless bureaucrats, so be thankful that their interior designer had a sense of the dramatic, if not the downright foolish, and painted all the doors of the rooms containing secrets bright red. This makes your task a lot easier.

Unhappily for you, the guards reckon this makes your task a little too easy, so they set out to redress the balance. Even after everyone supposed to have gone home, the building is busier than Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon, with heavily armed thugs appearing out of every door, so you'd better leg it for the lifts.

The lifts are seen in cross-section in the cut-through skyscraper. There are elevators end escalators, to be exact, because you'll want to escape the higher echelons as soon as possible. But just like real life, the lift's never at your floor when you need it, so you'll spend a lot of time hanging around, finger on the trigger, to shoot the heavies whenever they emerge. Of course, if they beat you to the draw you can always look lively and jump, avoiding the stream of bullets.

When the elevator arrives you get an option that really can't be recommended in reality, unless you possess the James Bond Seal of Immortality, and that's riding on the top of it. Beware though, because if it goes up, you could find the basement wine bar offering Secret Agent Squash!

Eventually you'll progress through increasingly difficult floors until you reach the garage and your waiting getaway car, when it's on to yet tougher embassies. Unless, that is, you've failed to find out what lies beyond one of the red doors. Then you'll be unceremoniously plunked back into the middle of things, to do your job properly. If at first you don't succeed, try, try...

I never saw the original arcade machine that gave rise to this official version, so I can't comment on its accuracy. On the Spectrum though, Elevator Action is an interesting shoot 'em up. It's not wildly fast but there's a lot of suspense as you wait for the elevator to arrive, and it definitely contains that one-last-go factor.

The graphics are a little weak and sound is lacking - though as this is a secret mission, I don't suppose we can expect drums and trumpets. But even if it isn't going to be considered a classic, it should still give you a lift!

7/10
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Life at the top is supposed to be cushy, but even at the start the guards are after you. Hang around waiting to pick them off as they travel in the lift, but beware of ones who emerge right beside you. On later levels they also get smarter and duck when you shoot at them.

At the end it gets real tricky. Only one of the shafts goes far enough, so keep your finger on the down key and prepare to step sideways when the lift arrives. A word of warning though - if the last door in the building is red, it's all to easy to glide on past it and be returned to the middle!