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

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106,107
Nick Roberts, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

'Pencil and paper at the ready - you'll need it for this game! Satcom is well-written and well-presented; even the occasional graphics are pleasing to the eye. And the sound is reasonable, with special FX for telephones and beeps when you get a code wrong. This is very similar to the Hacker games, and at this price it's a must for brain-banging freaks!'
NICK ... 76%

'If you approach this game as a follow-up to Supercom (CRASH Issue 28), you'll find some major improvements. Most of the important information changes each time you load the game, and there's no BASIC to hack into and find out all the codes. The simple input techniques have been replaced by a much more intelligent method, and there are some decent icons to speed things along. The presentation is informative and involving. You could say that this hacking game gets boring very easily ... but then so does the real thing! (Oh! Don't look forward to a great ending; it's extremely disappointing.)'
PAUL ... 53%

Since the original Hacker - which was indeed original, well-thought-out, and enjoyable - I've become more and more bored with this sort of game. And tedium is an integral part of Satcom. If it were speeded up a little, and the process of finding telephone numbers were made a bit less dull after the first go, then Satcom might have some potential as a young child's logic game. But as it stands, it's far too easy: the difficult part isn't finding the brains to get anywhere, it's keeping awake long enough to see the pathetic congratulatory message that greets you at the end of your display of endurance. A cure for insomniacs'
MIKE ... 21%

CRITICISM

Hidden in the black nothingness of space, a Star Wars killer satellite lies in wait. Suddenly it unleashes a devastating energy ray on another satellite - and the world realises the weapon is under unauthorised control. Terrorists, perhaps. Every two hours, this deadly hardware and the two satellites it controls are destroying one of the other satellites that make up the protective space-umbrella.

Disaster is close. It can only be avoided by some technical tampering - by entering companies' computer systems, via phone lines, and breaking a series of number and colour codes.

At the start of Satcom you have a single telephone number, for a company called Global Atmospherics UK. And though the fine denies all connection with the orbital shenanigans, their number provides you with a valuable starting point.

Through a brief phone link-up, you can acquire valuable information from companies and institutions. This information is examined in the program's logic analyser and passed on to the data screen.

The data screen displays the first half of a six-digit number - a company code - and the sum of the following three digits. It also says whether each of those three digits is odd or even, and which is the biggest and which the smallest.

It's therefore possible to narrow the thousand possible three-digit numbers down to lust a few, and so complete the company code. With this you can get deeper into the system and access further information.

Ultimately you have to reach the satellite-control system itself, and trigger the rogue satellite's self-destruct mechanism. But don't forget the time screen, which shows the precious moments running out ... or the phone bill.

COMMENTS Joysticks: none Graphics: mostly text Sound: spot FX Options: control by icon menu

General Rating: As a hacking game, Satcom will leave many players cold - but the fans will find it a decent successor to Supercom.

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Screenshot Text

Hacking and puzzles are the name of the game in Satcom - mostly done from the data icon screen.