US Gold Ltd
1986
Arcade: Adventure
£9.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Alkatraz Protection System

23
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

I have this unreasoning resistance to games that were No 1 mega sellers in America. Especially ones where you play a secret agent out to destroy some mad leader's plans to destroy the world.

Mad leaders mean only one thing to Americans - the dear old Colonel Daffy himself.

Infiltrator is a sort of simultaneously laid-back and flag waving flight simulator plus graphic adventure with bots of other things thrown in. And it has that infuriating habit so common to American products of having to be loaded in different sections - because it was originally developed as a disc based Commodore 64 title. On tape it's certainly a bit irritating.

Moans apart, though, Infiltrator is pretty good.

Not quite the mega opus the publicity blurb would have you believe, but still a pretty imaginative game for all that.

The first part is a helicopter simulation. Quite a good one but not quite as good a one as you first think it's going to be. The take-off section is very impressive the view of your land base slides down behind the cockpit window most convincingly. The problem is the bit is a set piece - in actual fact you get a sort of all-purpose craggy thing to represent land and that doesn't really change at all - if you go faster line move across it.

Cockpit detail is great. Clearly visible gauges and read outs, lights that wink, status report light and best of all two hands that push, pull and press on controls in response to your keyboard or joystick commands. Neat.

Controlling the helicopter is relatively simple, essentially reduced to joystick commands plus specific keys used in take-off and for the weapon system. There are also two defensive systems., flares and chaff - one stops heat seeking missiles the other radar guided attacks/

The 'mission' part of all this has you piloting the helicopter to a secret location where you begin Part 2 of the game, the graphics adventure. GEtting there requires you first getting the heading from the computer and typing it into your Automatic Direction Finder whereupon you go in the right direction merely by keeping the finder pointing north.

The problem in Part 1 is to evade destruction by the enemy, by your own forces or by loonys.

You have heat-seeking missiles and cannon with which to fight back but watch out for attack from behind. Use the display information to find out what sort of missile is coming your way. Engage the 'Whisper' system when you wish to land (so the baddies don't hear you of course) and you are on Part 2.

This has you running around a 3D map of the mad leaders headquarters and entering and searhcing rooms for useful objects. It's an icon-controlled affair, involving the use and selection of identity papers, gas cannisters to knock out guards, a camera to photograph documents and explosives. There are doors to be unlocked, mines not to be stepped on - the usual stuff but quite nicely presented with some good animation here and there.

When you have completed your mission its back to the helicopter... for another flight.

I can see why Infiltrator was so popular. It manages to make two pretty good games slot together into some sort of whole - like playing out a whole movie.

Personally, I felt that there was plenty here that was good but nothing that was brilliant. You may love it.

Label: US Gold
Author: Chris Gray
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joysticks: various
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

*****

Like being in an action film. Not a brilliant film, but certainly a good one. Simulation meets adventure.

5/5

Screenshot Text

A friendly message from the enemy. Into the attack again.

The map screen. It shows your location and gives direction frequency.

The control cabin. In flight with another plane on the horizon. Friend or foe?