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A.J. Wright
1987
Adventure: Text
£3.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

89
Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

This is the second in Wrightchoice's 'Operation' trilogy, where there's a prize of £500 to the first one to crack the lot, and I reckon it's even better than its predecessor, Operation Stallion.

You're still John Blake, aka 'The Fixer', and there's another mission ready to be faced by this mild-mannered civil servant with a surgical implant in his brain. This allows you to be killed instantly should things start to go wrong, the fingers on the button belonging to either the Prime Minister or your immediate boss, CJ ("I didn't get where I am today by putting my fingers on buttons.")

Programmer Andrew Wright really goes in for lengthy and convincing scene-setting, and the game is all the better for it, though it makes it hard to condense for reviewing. Basically it's to do with a Professor Wolff, who's developed a more efficient nuclear powered engine and who's apparently been kidnapped by the KGB when on a visit to Berlin. just your luck that all this happens when you're sitting in the bar in the check-in hall of Heathrow Airport about to leave for New York.

The first of the two parts requires you to go to the information desk, call your office (for which you need change and the right phone number), avoid the pickpocket, cash a cheque to pay the taxi driver with, and know which destination to ask him to take you to. Then at your office you must get the file that CJ wants and eventually make it to your meeting with him on time before selecting the items you're going to take with you to Berlin in Part Two.

The graphics are beautifully done, as the mark indicates, and all the usual 'QUIP' features of RAM save, WORDS/PICTURES option, sound effects and so on are present. Some unfriendly features too, and Wrightchoice should really think a bit more about program design. When the taxi from the airport drops you outside the office block, you're told there are exits in all directions. Seems reasonable to try these, but every one leads to an instant death, only ENTER OFFICE BLOCK allows you to proceed. The RAM save helps a bit, but even with that you have to start from scratch, enter your anti-piracy security code and sit through the instruction screens again before being able to resume.

All in all, an excellent follow-up to a promising start, and at a more reasonable price too. With a free helpline service as well if you get stuck (the phone number's there in the program), and a prize of £500 to tempt you, what more could you ask?

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