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Sterling Software
Reg Beale
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne
Chris Bourne

AT CHECKPOINT Charlie only the swirling mists of the sub-Le Carre spy thriller show any signs of life. Checkpoint Charlie is the crossover point from West to East Berlin. It is also the starting point for Assignment East Berlin from Sterling Software.

Your job is to bring back the plans for LOBOT, a brain-numbingly important radio transmitter, and you are to achieve your patriotic objective in the conventional North-South-Get-Rope-You-Are-Dead style of text adventures.

Unfortunately many of the conventional commands such as Inventory or Take are not supported, and consequently fiddling around trying to discover the correct words takes even longer than usual. Although the game is atmospheric, some of the detail is sloppy - what, for example, is a Russian guard doing manning an East German border post?

There is also a tendency to make problems unrealistic; the 'small book' turns out to be your passport, something you would know perfectly well in real life. Such tricks spoil the illusion of involvement in an adventure.

Unattractively presented on-screen, and slow to respond, the game is less good than it should be. The story is not at all bad, and the ever-present threat of capture adds to the tension.

It makes no sense therefore to spoil things by lumbering the user with a poor vocabulary and slow interpreter.

Chris Bourne

Memory: 48K
Price: £5.95