WATCHING THE DETECTIVE
Of all the Spectrums in all the world, Imagine's new game Movie ad to walk into ours. Settle into your back row seats, forget the Pearl and Deans and read Gwyn Hughes's review of this gangsters and gumshoe mega-game. Play it, Sam...
Call Mike Hammer, call Sam Spade.... but when you want the best you call me - Jake Monkey-Wrench. I tool around and get the job done.
The voice on the phone said, "Jake, I've got a problem. I'm the Ed." "That's some problem." I agreed. Ignoring me, he continued, "I want you to find a cassette tape. It contains enough evidence to send Mr Big down the river for a very long time." Pausing only to wonder why the Ed should went to send a gangster on a boat tour, I asked, "Tell me where I might find it." "That's the problem," he told me, "It's hidden in a computer game!"
And so it was. I sat in my East Side office, In front of a computer monitor, the whole of New York to search and I'd never have to leave the building. Luckily the city was no stranger to me - the same 3D view that seems to turn up everywhere nowadays. However, I was pleased to find that I could choose between up/down, left/right movement or rotation and forward techniques. And what was this - 'IQ On'? A neat touch means that if I walk into an object the computer can take control and guide me past it.
10.32 pm: I'd found a gun and I was going to need it. In the very next room some hood began taking pot shots at me but I was quick on the draw. I transferred to the icon menu and fired, filling him full of holes and he faded away. No room to be trigger happy though - the city may be a jungle but not everyone's an animal. Soon after I'd plugged the punk another slouched figure approached. I stopped but his speech bubble appeared. But what did he mean by, "I'll see you later"?
1.03 am: I'd lost count of how many rooms and alleys my nicely animated figure had trudged down, but there were lots, filled with hazards of the most unexpected types, like animated suits of armour. Something strange was afoot. I'd had to use my wits to push the furniture around and shift objects and I wasn't sure I was getting anywhere. Then I met her the dame.
The Ed had warned me that there were two sisters tied up in the case - identical twins but while one was good, real good, the other was evil incarnate! I hoped I'd made the right choice as I followed her. Perhaps she could lead me to the gang boss....
1.07 am: You win some, lose some. Like a kid, I'd followed her straight into a trap. I'd dodged the bouncing bombs, the suits of armour and the low down rats who'd hoped to fill me full of lead. But I'd always been a sucker for a frail and now I'd paid the price. This game is as cool as a trench coat and as atmospheric as a misty street. Here's looking at a VDU, sweetheart!
LIGHTS... CAMERA... ACTION... ROLL...
10.46 pm: And in the naked city I don't feel clothed without some sort of equalizedr. Luckily there's a gun to be found near the office, and a few others carelessly lying around for when I run out of slugs.You're the magnum I want. Just need to line myself up and let the icons do the rest, then the rod will jump into my hand.Well, here I am, trench coat and hat brim pulled down. No time to survey the scenery though - I've got to get that gal.If I wasn't so busy with the case I might try to solve the puzzle of the date - television sets and wind up gramaphones together? The game still has a fantastic atmosphere though.I guess these trench coats come equipped with four pockets because that's how many items the inventory indicator allows you to hold.Here's a handy symbol. Choosing this function picks things up - and it doesn't take Philip Marlowe to guess that its neighbour means drop.11.59 pm: Down these machine code streets a sprite must go, a sprite who is not himself mean. You can never be too careful in the Big Apple but if they don't shoot first chances are they're friendly.Just an innocent citizen going about his business - or is he? Maybe he knows something that may prove useful as he wanders along the main alley.Type in your greetings or questions and they'll appear here. If you're lucky you'll even get an answer.With a city this size you'll spend most of your time in this default movement mode. Now you know why they call us 'flat-foot'. The walking sound makes me suspect that the gumshoe wears gumboots.Talking is done in the finest comic book style, via speech bubbles, so choose this option to make polite conversation.If you need time to ponder a cryptic answer, consult your map - or even pour yourself a slug of bourbon - this is the icon for you. Hold the front page - I'm taking time off.00.08 am: I felt like I was getting nowhere fast and it was giving me the bird. Then I stumbled on a room with a heavily guarded door and knew that I must be onto something. The question was, what? Perhaps if I'd got a map. Hey, any cartographers out there like to help a private eye who can't afford an A to Z?As a hard drinking private dick there's always the danger you'll walk into a door frame, but use the IQ option and your auto-pilot will save you from embarassing black eyes.Anybody who thinks a parrot is just a feathered echo, think again. Polly here may well give you a clue how to pass through the door.Strange to find so many suits of armour scattered around, but avoid them because collisions are deadly. This one's nastily placed, making your passage impossible.Throwing things can sometimes shift the armour, though not in this case. Perhaps you'd feel better if you threw a tantrum or plugged the parrot!Suddenly everything went red... it was the end. That's what happens when you select the Abort option, which is protected with a double check.00.54 am: By now I was in need of a stiff drink but this guy didn't want to sit down and pour me one. It was easy enough to sidestep this line of fire as I entered the room, but then I'd have to waste him before he targetted me.No time to listen to the music just yet - in fact, no music, but at least the juke box here jiggles around like it was playing a Bill Haley platter.Luckily most of the underworld lackeys aren't exactly hot shots, though there are occasions when you walk through a door to be greeted by a truly warm welcome of accurately aimed lead!All ready for business. Somewhere I'd picked up a brief case. As somebody had asked me for the money, I wondered if this is where it was stashed.Providing you've selected the gun this is the fire icon, but ammunition which appears above is limited. You need to be pretty nifty to change back to movement, at times.Out of ammunition? You must have a punch like a mule because your right hook can knock an opponent into another dimension.