Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Saboteur 2 (C64, 1987)

Remember the spy from Saboteur 1? It seems that he has a sister, and that his sister is a spy too. Must be something in the family DNA. Or maybe they watched too many James Bond movies when they were kids. Anyway, you take over the sister in this game and there's a number of missions she has to go through in this huge complex, which must belong to terrorists or something. The missions range from the relatively simple - i.e. just kill enemies you encounter and escape the complex - to the definitely steep and hazardous - i.e. kill enemies, disable electric fence, collect evidence (in the form of tapes), redirect the huge missile that the terrorists have obtained etc. You get the drift. Rats, there's a time limit too.

So what we have here is an arcade adventure. The adventure part has to do with mapping the whole thing - and it is a huge playing area; especially getting to know where the tape evidence lies and where the terminals are - with which you can operate the electric fence and the missile direction; and last, but not least, planning your route in such a way so that you make it to the end within the time limit. The arcade bits have to with the beat-em-up encounters between you and the enemy guards - and their pet pumas - that populate the place! There are crates which contain weapons - like shurikens or swords - and they help a lot in dealing with them, but you can only use them once. Thereafter you have to pick up another weapon from another crate.

The graphics and sound are minimal, to say the least. There's definitely a Spectrum-esque twist to the palette and, to be honest, whenever I played this I had some piece of music playing in my SID player - seeing that the game doesn't feature much sound. Yet this bare bones approach does manage to convey a nice sense of atmosphere, what with the varying parts of the moody landscape et al. So let's give the programmers the benefit of doubt.

Beneath the simple exterior lies a meaty game in any case. The first mission might seem fairly simple, but as you progress to more complicated tasks, you find that there is much to love here. There's real skill involved in choosing your route and things get quite hectic as time runs out. The beat-em-up part could be better, and the loose collision-detection gives combat a somewhat, well, loose feeling. But all in all this is a neat little game which got me pretty absorbed. I give it the thumbs up.



Merman said...

A decent sequel, but ultimately it falls short of greatness

Jim Slip said...

I think it's a cool game. It's alright. I'm really trying hard to beat mission 5 right now. -)

qazimod said...

God, those bats in the underground bit were annoying.

Jim Slip said...

Well, you have to be subtle in the tunnel combats. You need to get up as much as possible to replenish your energy, all the while avoiding the bats and hitting the enemy.

tudor said...

where can i get the game from and play it on my pc?

Jim Slip said...

You need to download an emulator first. Try Vice.


Then for games, try the Gamebase.