Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type††††††††† : Arcade Adventure
Authors††††††††††† : Dylan
Standalone Release(s)†† : 1987: SPYCAT, Superior/Acornsoft, £9.95
††††††††††††††††† † 1990: SPYCAT, Superior/Blue Ribbon, £2.99
Compilation Release(s) : 1989: PLAY IT AGAIM SAM 9, Superior/Acornsoft, £9.95
Stated compatibility††† : Electron
Actual compatibility††† : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Supplier††††††††††† : SUPERIOR/ACORNSOFT, 3 Manor Drive, Scawby, Brigg, NORTH
††††††††††††††††† † LINCOLNSHIRE DN20 9AX
Disc compatibility†††† : CDFS E00, DFS E00
You play the role of Spycat. After loyally (?) serving M.I.4.1/2 for over fifty years, you hear that you are soon to be retired - with only a pittance of a pension! This has something to do with M.I.4.1/2's cash shortages and the governments's recent budget cuts. You feel humiliated and betrayed; you resolve to find three important classified research documents, then flee to Greenland to write your memoirs.
During your endeavours, you will come across some familiar faces. Enlist their support if you can; you will need all the help you can get. Watch out for the technical wizard "Q" and his many strange (and dangerous) creations. At one stage, you will need to make a journey to somewhere so secret that no-one knows where it is!?
Your objective is to:-
†† (a)† collect all three research documents,
†† (b)† transfer them to microfilm,
†† (c)† obtain a typewriter, a passport and an air ticket to Greenland,
†† (d)† proceed to Heathrow Airport,
†† (e)† emigrate to Greenland and write your memoirs.
Keep an eye on your energy level - shown at the top-left of the screen. Your energy will reduce if you walk into the surveillance cameras or touch any of the strange contraptions invented by "Q".
If your energy drops too low, you will die from exhaustion. Energy may only be replenished by finding and using an energy pill or a glucose pill.
If you enter a room in which you can see a skull-and-crossbones, then beware! This usually indicates some deadly danger - such as an electric floor - in that room or an adjacent room. Tread carefully otherwise you may find that your energy quickly drains away.
To open a door, stand in front of it and activate the "in" icon. Unless the door is locked or impassable, you will go through - into a different area.
There are 16 objects to be found positioned throughout the rooms. These include a Sinclair Z88 computer, a passport and a pound coin. These objects can be picked up and dropped anywhere as you wish.
There are also another 15 objects which can be obtained from cupboards, machines, etc. These objects are generally of a rather sensitive nature (for example, U.S. secrets) and may only be dropped into other cupboards.
You can carry up to three objects at a time. To pick up an object, you must:-
†† (a)† highlight an empty pocket - that is, a pocket that contains "NOTHING" (as shown at the top-right of the screen);
†† (b)† activate the "^" icon.
To drop an object, you should:-
†† (a)† highlight the pocket containing the particular object;
†† (b)† activate the "^" icon.
To use an object, activate the "" icon.
Some objects - such as energy pills - may be used anywhere. However, most objects may only be used when you are standing upon a platform base - indicated by two inward-pointing arrows either side of the platform.
To give an object to a particular character, use the object on the platform in the room where the character is present.
Tranferring the Research Documents to Microfilm
You must transfer all three research documents to microfilm. This is the only way you will be able to take the information out of the country, and you'll need this confidential material when your write your memoirs. To tranfer a piece of research to microfilm, you must take the research to a particular room; then you should use the research document in that room. When it has been microfilmed this will be indicated in the "research documents" panel shown at the top of the screen. The microfilm will then be carefully hidden about your person.
You start your mission in Blackhall. Walk to the right off the screen; keep out of the way of the moving surveillance camera; jump over the crates; walk right past a door and past another camera; jump onto the crates. Now stop and pick up the Sinclair Z88 computer by activating the "^" icon.
Walk left until you reach the nearest door. Go through it by activating the "in" icon. You will now find yourself in the Ministry. Go to the right until you come across a door marked "Q". Go through, right and drop the computer before you reach the sidepass door. Now you must go back and find the appropriate sidepass that will enable you to open this door.
Trust no one, and always expect the unexpected!
Z - Left,†† X - Right,†† <RETURN> - Jump
Cursor keys - Select Icon,†† <SPACE> - Activate Icon
1, 2, 3 - Highlight Pocket 1, 2, 3
The heart icon shows your energy level.
The sound can be turned on or off by highlighting the musical note icon with the positive or negative sign respectively.
The Spycat†††††††††††††† PETER "GIMME MY PENSION" CORRECT
The Prime Minister†††††† The Rt. Ho MARGO THATCH, M.P.
"M"††††††††††††††††††††† BERNIE "NOT A DOUBLE AGENT" HOLLUS
American Ambassador††††† BRAD "NUKE THE LOT" MUCKBURGER
Soviet Ambassador††††††† MIKHAIL "GROOVY" GORBOCHOPS
Greenland Ambassador†††† BJORN "GOOD MOANING" SMORGASBORD
Special Guest Star, "Q"† Sir CLIVE AMSTRAD
Instructions' Source†† : PLAY IT AGAIN SAM 9 (Superior/Acornsoft) Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User) - "Spy Spoof"
SPYCAT, Superior's latest release for the Electron, is based very loosely on the recent Peter Wright SPYCATCHER fiasco. In it, you play the role of a shady character going by the name of SPYCAT. After loyally serving M14-and-a-half for more than 50 years you hear that you are soon to be retired with only a mere pittance of a pension.
This has something to do with the ministry's cash shortages and the government's recent budget cuts. You feel humiliated and betrayed, and resolve to steal three important classified research documents before fleeing to Greenland to write your memoirs.
To give you an idea of the thread of humour which runs throughout this extremely well-written arcade adventure, you will at some point come across the following locations: Blackhall, 10 Drowning Street, the sewers, Heathrow Airport, Green-
land and a location so secret that no one even knows where it is.
During your endeavours you will come across some familiar faces - enlist their support if you can. But watch out for the technical wizard Q, and his many strange and dangerous creations.
Several objects are scattered about, and the purpose of some is rather dubious to say the least. Among the items to be found are a Sinclair Z88, a pound coin, some US secrets and a passport.
During the game you control a small, cloaked figure, which is presumably a car in a trenchcoat. It is animated quite smoothly and responds tightly to the control keys.
The best bit of animation is when you leave the keyboard alone for a while. After a few moments, Spycat will flash at you, revealing a kinky penchant for polka-dot boxer shorts.
To use certain items, you must be standing on one of several platforms which are scattered at various useful locations. And that brings me to the worst feature of SPYCAT.
Every action in the game, apart from the movement of the main figure, is controlled from a small panel of icons at the top of the screen. Picking up, replacing and using objects, opening doors, turning the game sound on and off and more are all done by moving a pointer to highlight the relevant icon, followed by pressing <RETURN>.
This seems silly. In a different game with a different scenario it would be a perfectly acceptable way of controlling parts of the action. In SPYCAT however, with its already crowded Mode 5 screen, it quickly becomes tiresome and slows down the action.
This is a shame, as it's my only complaint in an otherwise excellent game. I can see the temptation to add more of a high-tech feel to a game of this type, but the programmer has succumbed to using positively unhelpful gimmickry.
All in all, though, SPYCAT is an excellent arcade adventure with a strong vein of humour underlying all the action - seeing Maggy at her desk in number 10 Drowning Street really tickled me.
If you can get used to the unwieldy icon system, this game is certainly worth the cash - it will puzzle and amuse you for days to come.
Sound ........................... 3
Graphics ........................ 9
Playability ..................... 8
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ......................... 7
"Electron User Golden Game"
Chris Nixon, ELECTRON USER 5. 9