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B. Halhead
1987
Simulation
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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24
Tony Dillon
Chris Bourne

Satcom is a really rather neat adventure simulating hacking into various government and defence establishment computer systems.

Someone has taken control of a laser-armed satellite and is using it to wipe out other satellites and to stop them you've got to 'hack' into the computer controlling the satellite and start its self-destruct mechanism.

All you are armed with in the beginning is a computerised communications set-up and a single phone number of Global Atmospherics UK, a company involved in weather satellites.

The FBI has been continually drawing a blank in their investigations of the company and now it's up to you.

The process of cracking the codes is very interesting. Having connected with your target computer, you can hang up the phone and stick the squeaks and whistles through your analyser which, for reasons that are not exactly crystal clear, is then able to hint at the computer's access codes. These hints take the form of the first three digits of the code followed by some considerably more vague information about the final three digits.

The screen layout is very, urn, orderly, bearing very few frills. You flick through the icons using the space-bar and select them with the Enter key. Some of the frills which have been included tend to become a little irritating after the first few games. The way in which the screen draws itself up, for example, is fairly interesting the first time you see it, though if you have returned to the menu as a result of a silly mis-dial, it's a trifle annoying.

Nevertheless it's an excellent budget game with surprising depth it should keep even the most competent hacker amused for a day or three.

Label: Atlantis
Author: In-house
Price: £1.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

Budget attempt at mysterious complexity. Fairly difficult, and involving a bit of thinking here and there. Worth two quid.

7/10