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Adventure: Graphic
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

In the 60s people used to talk about beating the system. Then in the 70s all estate agents and hairdressers got together and decided escaping the system wasn't such a good idea as they were the system. Now people don't want to escape the system, they try and pretend the whole charabanc never existed and the concept was a Communist plot designed to usurp washing powder sales (everyone knows the Ruskies are at least 15 washes behind when it comes to biologically active washing powders). Personally, I have a soft spot for the 60s if that was naivety, then I think we could do with some of that just now.

The point is, here come the microcomputers and the robots and yet our society is one of the most reactionary die-hard set of misery guts. It looks increasingly like the wealth from the new industries will be channelled back up into the higher echelons of society taking us, not into a new age of egalitarian prosperity, but to a state reminiscent of the pre-industrial surge of the early twentieth century. It increasingly looks like the only way to stake a claim to the new wealth will be to go straight to the computers and ask for it. So pay attention in computer lectures, especially when you hear of networking and accessing data banks. Another way of learning is to have a trial run with this computer game from AVS for your Spectrum.

Yes, following a controversial book on computer hacking, this is the game of the game that can see lots of digital lolly transferred from some overloaded multinational bank account into your very own diminutive piggy bank. Or, if anarchy is your game, you could always order too few toilet rolls for the Civil Service a further major blow to morale so soon after the cutbacks forced rougher graded toilet paper upon them.

System 15000 sets you firmly in the middle of an international conspiracy where you have to use your computer to recover £1.5M. The game is a real-time investigation realistically capturing the excitement of accessing computers by telephone and breaking their codes to obtain vital information.

Loading up you meet the SYSTEM screen, and after very little time it guides you, menuwise, to a series of company and college telephone numbers which include a very realistic ringing tone on entering them. To use the system effectively you need contacts in several agencies and companies. A letter from a friend, Mike, relates the problem to you and gives you some idea how difficult solving it might prove to be.

Richard's company, Comdata, has been ripped off by Realco, a company infiltrated by organised crime, to the tune of £1.5M. The only way to put things right is to transfer the money back to Comdata's bank by getting into their computer with the aid of an ingenious piece of software, SYSTEM 15000. Your first references are a Kingsdown Poly and an LT Perry & Company.

System 15000 is a highly original attempt to bring the excitement of computer hacking home to the average computer games player. It adds the intrigue of a detective thriller to the methodical unravelling of the computer buff with the nicety of finding yourself playing the goodie. Since the real thing is of course illegal, and becoming more difficult as computer fraud loopholes tighten, this may soon be your only chance to play at being a computer hack.


Difficulty: easier than the real thing!
Presentation: very good
Sound: some excellent, like ringing telephone
Response: very fast
General Rating: Good and original.