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Not Known
1986
Simulation
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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24
Chris Bourne

Oh dear, an insane criminal megalomaniac is holding the country to ransom with his super powerful computer-activated tactical nuclear warhead and the government can't track him down trouble indeed. Who or what can stop him?? You matey-boots, that's who. Armed with your humble Spectrum and a Super corn modem you have taken it upon those sloping, narrow shoulders of yours to attempt to find and shut down the evil villain's computer through British Telecom's telephone cabling system.

As you might now have guessed Supercom is a hacking simulation, and starting with an incomplete phone number, which you have managed to intercept, you must work your way around the many computer security systems to track down, hack into and switch off the warhead's controlling computer. Your modem is quite a jolly little thing and has five modes of operation: dial, link analysis, display information, load/save and 'phone bill display. Most of the functions are pretty obvious but link analysis and display info are special functions which, if used together, can extrapolate information from certain computer systems and have the information displayed on your screen. These functions are very useful if you are to find codes or information to allow you to break into other computer systems.

When the simulation commences you have only the telephone number 818-771 to 90 by. The last two digits are missing and it's up to you to find them out, either manually or by using the link analysis and display functions. Once that has been cracked and you link with the computer you find out the number is that of a certain Orion Photocopiers Ltd, a London based firm. Using the information from this harmless looking company you can glean the phone numbers of another three computers, although the pass- words to each aren't fully given. It's then up to you to connect with and find out the passwords to each. No clues but all of the computers have something to do with one another so passwords from one can sometimes be found in another's system.

Once you get going a whole miniature world of computer systems opens up and there is plenty of information regarding certain systems and the background of other different companies to uncover. Once you really get going it gets increasingly more difficult to enter systems due to their artificial intelligence... click... brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

CRITICISM

'Supercom is a very cheap version for budding hackers, it is different from Hacker by Activision in that it is just a case of thinking of numbers and wondering which ones will work -in a short it's very boring. At first look I found myself in a very normal company, but continued hacking made me realise that there is a massive plot to undermine everything that this country stands for, or something like that anyway. Even more hacking (into the BASIC) revealed that this game is just a case of jumping from one company to the next finding out telephone numbers. I'm afraid I found the same long and tedious, especially when you've got something like a hundred different numbers to choose from in some cases. I wouldn't recommend this to you, in fact you would get more value for money if you went out to your local computer stockist and spent a couple of hundred quid on the real equipment.'

'This is a fine hacking game and one that is fun, challenging and very addictive. Initially it's tricky to get into, but I suppose hacking into other computer systems never is. Once you get going, though, it becomes very entertaining and it's easy to become totally involved with the game. There are no graphics but the game gives a convincing representation of the other computer systems in the network. The sound is quite good too with some quite realistic (if rather quiet) telephone noises. Unfortunately there are some niggling aspects of the game like being able to crash the program if BREAK is accidentally pressed. There are also some awful spelling mistakes in the programs text - professional and ambitious are just two that I can recall. These niggles aside the program is still great fun and the fact that it costs only two quid makes it really worth buying if you want a change from beating up aliens or strolling around mysterious lands.'

'Off to a great start, I pressed one key (and it wasn't even the BREAK key) and it crashes, brilliant. After about half an hour of play I had had enough of this one there is just nothing to it. Generally sitting typing numbers into a computer and getting no response is not what I'd call fun, in fact I usually get payed for such a service. The graphics used in this game are minimal-a nice red border here and there but that's about it. The sound is poorly used, there are some good telephone type noises and the odd spot effect when a key is pressed. I wouldn't recommend this game to anyone as it is very monotonous.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: numeric inputs
Joystick: none
Keyboard play: N/A
Use of colour: N/A
Graphics: N/A
Sound: some spot FX, otherwise limited
General Rating: As you see - violently opposed views, briefly broken down as 'if you like the System 15000 type strategy/hacking game, then it's very good valur for money, and fun'. If you don't, then it's boring! The ratings below and therefore split, first for the pros, second for the cons.

87%
78%
91%
93%
86%