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Postern Ltd
John R. Keneally
1983
Arcade: Adventure
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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61,62
Chris Bourne

Psi-Spy is a sort of 3D adventure/arcade game which takes place under the purple dust of the Wandering Planet where, it is rumoured, exists the Labyrinth, a remnant of the once great civilisation of the Overlords. Great wealth and high adventure are promised all those ready to challenge the still active Guardians and find the five keys of Zar, without which exit from the Labyrinth is impossible.

The game comes with a very complex set of instructions, without which it is impossible to get into the Labyrinth, let alone leave it. The game starts off outside the main entrance with its lowered portcullis. There are flashing detectors which alert a Guardian, who will come and chase after you as you try to collect the ancient Rings of power.

Once inside, the game becomes a maze of interlinked rooms, most of which are protected by guards. The guards must be killed before an object can be picked up. In this stage screen commands will activate the game; these are TAKE and FIGHT. In addition you can have spells, a tachyon gun (if you have the ammo), use tax returns in bargaining and there are brain bugs which work' against intelligence (not surprisingly perhaps!).

The 3D in stage one is drawn with a strong perspective, and the guard alters in size depending on his position. In the latter stages, the rooms are shown as walls in perspective from above. Screen commands do not have to be typed in, but are accessed through single numeric key presses.

CRITICISM

'My review of this game is necessarily short because it almost completely failed to work. I have to admit that even with the complicated instructions I couldn't understand a thing that was going on. In tact I was so worried about my shortcomings as a Psi-Spy that I got in a few friends to see if they could make head or tail of events. In the end we did manage to suss out some things, but I'm at a loss to explain any of them. No doubt its a worthy effort to cross arcade with adventure, but does it all have to be so damned complicated? Certainly a serious problem is that you have to think and act fast and there are a lot of keys to use. May be wonderful if you like a headache but I couldn't get on with it at all. '

'After playing this game several times and for a couple of hours at least, I still haven't really found out what I'm meant to be doing, despite the long instructions. An attempt has been made to produce a 3D arcade adventure which has totally failed. Because of its complicated obscurity any playability the game might have had has been spoiled. The graphics move smoothly, quickly, but are not at all well drawn. A lot of them are small and undetailed and none of them are very colourful. Currah Micospeech facility has been used quite well and has been backed up by a text which explains what it's saying, so you don't have to try and work it out!'

'In the first screen, the object seems to be to get the portcullis open and get inside. The gate seems to open at odd moments quite unrelated to what you are doing. Also the guardians have a distinct advantage because they really do move very fast, sometimes even superfast. I say the object seems to be to get the gate open, but in fact the easiest way in is to get killed by the guardian. This is typical of the way the game has been designed to confuse. In my opinion it is unplayable, although the keys are well used and responsive, the graphics are adequate, and there is obviously an idea in there somewhere trying to get out.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: A/D left /right, L/SYM up or away/own or towards plus numerics for screen commands
Joystick: none
Keyboard play: sensible positions, responsive
Use of colour: average
Graphics: smooth but undetailed, not very large
Sound: hardly any without Microspeech, busy with
Skill levels: modified throughout according to status
Lives: 1
Originality: original but confusing
General Rating: Fair, very hard to play and a bit pricey.

58%
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Screenshot Text

Try to get in - Psi Spy.

Tring to get out - Psi Spy.