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Neil Smyth
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

Atlantis are one of a growing number of new companies who have endeavoured to bring the public what it wants at a price it can afford. If this game is typical of their range all I can say is they are doing a very good job as Mafia Contract is not a bad effort and yet can be purchased with only one week's pocket money. If you have read that marvellous book, The Godfather, then you'll know what to expect from this game - a compelling mixture of criminal persuasion and dastardly double-dealing.

Like in the famous book you are in the most lucrative blackmail market outside of Chicago, amongst the familiar pattern of intersecting streets and avenues of New York. You find yourself, a hitman for Don Capola, in a sleazy hotel trying to lie low but ending up in the thick of it. You answer the phone in trepidation since silence is only broken for important news, and in this business that's always bad news. Last night Capolla's son was assassinated and the gang has got a list of possible traitors down to a tidy number - and one of the names is yours. Don Capolla wants to see you now at Mario's Bar, or else. Leaving your room and descending in the lift to the lobby you notice the first graphics which are very simple but quickly and effectively drawn. The program is friendly and responsive allowing you many diversions from the mainstream of the plot. For example, ring the bell at reception and you meet the drunken manager whereupon GIVE KEY and KILL MANAGER both evoke different responses.

Wandering around the streets, avenues and alleys you soon pick up on how to act streetwise if you are gonna make yourself into a feared and respected hood. Sadly, inevitably as you'll soon discover playing the game, there is one of the most infuriating random killings I've ever met. 'Suddenly you hear the screech of tyres and a black Cadillac pulls up. 3 men jump out and fire continuously at you. The bullets rip into you. Within seconds you are dead.' This passage comes up flashing glaringly at inopportune moments and you soon dread turning into a new location in case the program has vouched your time is up.

Maria Contract is very much worth the meagre investment of £1.99 and compares favourably with games three times the price. Responses are fast and friendly, the graphics are very simple but neat and well presented and good descriptions add to a super, despicable plot.


Difficulty: easy
Graphics: some, simple but well drawn
Presentation: good
Input facility: verb/noun
Response: very fast
Special Features:
General rating: good value.
General Rating: Good value.