Skip to main content
© Erik 'Es of TEX' Simon

SOFTWARE REVIEW: SPY VS SPY by Richard Karsmakers

Everybody  must have read "MAD Magazine" once,  or maybe some  of 
you lucky people have once played the "MAD" board game.  Some  of 
the characters appearing in both are the Black and the White  Spy 
(this is no intended racist remark).  First Star, after launching 
"The  Boulder  Dash Construction Set",  now  finally  decided  to 
launch their "Spy vs Spy" game as well.

Although  quite clumsily programmed (five or six  uncrunched  and 
not  even  renamed  "Degas" pix on the disk -  what  a  waste  of 
space!),  the game doesn't fail to capture the fun and humour  of 
the  8-bit versions.  The graphics are not really good to  16-bit 
standards,  but  are  good enough not to actually  decrease  game 
playability as well as the game's fun.

Like in most games, the target is simple: Escape from the Embassy 
with a briefcase filled with passport,  travelling money, the key 
and the secret plans.  Indeed,  like in most games,  this  sounds 
awfully simple.  It would indeed have been simple if there  would 
not  be a second spy around (this can be either the  computer  or 
another player). And that player has the same objectives!
The players both have several booby traps to their disposal  that 
can  be  triggered  by  the other - or  by  themselves  (for  the 
forgetful spies). Some of the booby traps are: A bomb, a gun with 
a string (you open the door,  pull the trigger.....) and a  water 
bucket (causing electrocution). Of course, hidden in the Embassy, 
there are several remedies against these booby traps.

Each  spy  can use the Trapulator™ model FSS 84,  a  device  that 
gives them the booby traps they want, enables them to look at the 
map,  and some more functions.  This is the device through  which 
you can influence the game to some extend.

The graphics can easily be recognized to be converted from  8-bit 
machines;  although the colour palettes are somewhat better, they 
are still a bit 'coarse'.  But this doesn't decrease the game fun 
at all (like I already told earlier).  It's a very nice game with 
several levels of difficulty that will especially be fun to  play 
with  two  people  (if you play against  the  computer,  it  will 
probably  always win - even on the least  difficult  level).  The 
Simulvision  (two  players using two screens at once)  aspect  is 
very original.

Game rating:

Name:                         Spy vs Spy
Company:                      First Star/Databyte
Sound:                        7.5 (very 'dry' but amusing)
Graphics:                     7
Playability:                  8.5
Hookability:                  8 (especially with two persons)
Price:                        89.50 Dutch guilders
Value for money:              6.5 (nice but too expensive)

Thanks to harry van Horen for sending the review copy.

Disclaimer
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.