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1983
Educational
£9.95
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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80
Rosetta McLeod
Chris Bourne

Special Agent is a program in the Games to Stretch the Mind series, and was designed by FIVEWAYS, well-known for quality educational software. The player assumes the role of a special agent for M16 based in London, and the mission is to catch a devious enemy spy on the loose in Europe.

The player has to travel by air and rail to a variety of destinations, making the most of all the clues and intelligence reports that flash on the screen. The city from which a report is sent is highlighted but if the enemy has eliminated your agent in a city, no report can be received! An informer's report can also be purchased for the sum of £100, and the record of your total costs is displayed at the top left hand corner of the map, together with a clock which records the passage of time.

Sometimes, reports are received in code and the player has to choose the cipher option for clues on how to decode it or pay £100 for help from the back-room boffins in London. Money may also be spent in hiring new agents to replace those eliminated, and on making journeys.

The educational possibilities of this game are immense. Learning about the map of Europe, reading timetables and solving codes are only a few of the skills involved. Intelligence reports such as, 'Spy reported in the capital of Turkey' may require a bit of research before the name of the actual city is discovered. The package also contains an attractive illustrated booklet with information about spies and agents such as Mata Han, Burgess and McLean. and the fictional Sir Percy Blakeney; beef descriptions on some of the major European cities; maps showing population and land use; and details regarding the contents of a spy kit bugging devices, microdots and so on.

This is an extremely well thought-out package which will hold a child's attention and make learning fun. A particularly useful feature is the facility for pausing the game to allow time for thought. Great care has been taken to ensure ease of operation.

CRITICISM

COMMENTS
Control keys: an overlay is supplied for the top row of keys
Keyboard play: good
Graphics: very clear
Use of colour: bright and attractive
General Rating: An absorbing game full of learning opportunities. For the price, this package represents excellent value.

Not Rated