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Although
Infiltrator is a very playable game, I get the feeling that the author, Chris Gray, got bored of the whole thing towards the end. For example, the graphics get progressively worse (although at worst they are good) and the gameplay follows suit, although to a lesser degree. This is a shame, since Infiltrator could have been incredible, as opposed to just very good. I must admit, it's great fun to play, but I do feel somewhat disappointed with the game as a whole. Perhaps I shouldn't have expected so much.

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A nice game is this -- lots of great graphics, realistic sound effects, solid gameplay and plenty of neat little touches to make it stand out from the rest. The helicopter bit is very tricky and requires a lot of perseverance to stay aloft for more than a few minutes. Once you get to the second section, some superb graphics await the player, but getting there is tricky. We looked at the disk version, so I'm not sure what the cassette version is like -- it might be advisable to have a try before buying. However, if you have got a disk drive, then I've no qualms in recommending it.

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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Infiltrator
1986 US Gold
Programmed by Chris Gray
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the sixteenth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: July 10th, 1986).
 

INFILTRATOR
US Gold/Mindscape, 14.95 disk, joystick with keys


Johnny 'Jimbo-Baby' McGibbits, Infiltrator, is the sort of man your mother would like you to bring home. He's everything a man should be: tall, dark, handsome, well endowed and . . . talented. Very. If he's not performing vital operations on famous people and christening cathedrals, he's climbing the tallest of mountains and helping old ladies cross the road.

In his spare time he likes to save the world from deranged megalomaniacs -- such as The Mad Leader, who has recently threatened to destroy the whole of the human race. Most men would go weak at the knees and wee themselves at the thought of trying to infiltrate a top secret, heavily guarded enemy base before taking on a whole army. But not our Johnny, oh no, he's as hard as they come and is only mildly perturbed about missing his dinner date with the President in two hours time. Still, there's always tomorrow afternoon . . .

The mission is split into three sections and the first part (a 'flight simulation') starts outside Johnny's country estate, inside his Whizbang Enterprises Gizmo TM DHX-1 Attack Helicopter. This marvel of the military world contains many useful items, such as cannon, heat seeking missiles, flares, chaff, a Heads Up Display (HUD), a turbo booster, an on-board computer, designer alloy skids, and even real imitation bearskin sport bucket seats (with lumbar adjust).

Once in the air, the Automatic Direction Finder (ADF) has to be set for navigation purposes. By calling up the Tactical Map -- via the on-board computer terminal -- the relative position of the enemy base is shown. The course can then be entered into the Communications unit.

Other aircraft occasionally make an appearance and are either the enemy or other infiltrators on the same mission as Johnny. However, they are unmarked, so their identity has to be established before any action can be taken. On requesting identification, the mystery pilot gives his codename, to which one of two responses can be offered -- INFILTRATOR or OVERLORD -- depending upon the codename given.

For example, if the ID of an aircraft is SCUM and the response is OVERLORD, then Johnny is allowed to continue since the enemy think that he is on their side. If, however, the response to an enemy codename is INFILTRATOR, then a fight to the death ensues. This is where the HUD, cannon, heat seeking missiles, flares, chaff and a cool head all come in handy.

Switching to the Heads Up Display provides a set of cross hairs to aid aim. The cannon and missiles are, quite obviously, used to shoot attacking aircraft, and the flares and chaff confuse any incoming heat seeking and radar guided missiles.

When the ADF dial goes haywire it is an indication that the base is directly below. But before a safe landing can even be attempted, the Gizmo must be put into WHISPER mode so that the enemy aren't alerted. Landing successfully (ie, without crashing or getting caught) initiates the second stage of the game -- Ground Installation Infiltration.

After a quick flip of the disk and a short wait, the screen display changes to show an 'overhead' perspective view of Johnny's surroundings, and the screen flips from one location to the next as he moves. His objective is to penetrate the enemy base, within a given time limit, by pretending that he is an enemy guard.

Johnny is initially armed with only a handful of objects; a camera, five gas grenades, a can of gas spray, a mine detector (the woods surrounding the enemy base are usually abundant with landmines), some explosives, and some forged papers. The camera is for photographing vital enemy documents when inside the base, and only five shots are provided. Both gas grenades and spray perform the same function (they put people to sleep when activated), although the former has a greater range.

Pressing the space bar accesses this inventory and allows Johnny to choose which item is to be used, and then pressing the fire button actually uses an object being 'held'.

Whenever Johnny is confronted by a guard, he must show his papers. Failure to do so results in an alarm being set off and all hell breaking loose, which makes the mission harder still. To make matters worse, some of the guards are a bit cleverer than your average enemy, and can spot a forgery a mile off. Fortunately, the alarm system can be temporarily disabled by finding a special electronic key, and inserting it into the alarm control unit.

There are many buildings to be explored within the enemy base, and entering one changes the viewpoint yet again. This time, a cross section of each room is displayed as Johnny moves through them, and a mapping unit at the bottom of the screen follows his progress.

In most of the rooms there are various pieces of furniture which need to be searched for vital documents. A majority of the decor contains useless items, such as bottles of vodka and used chewing gum (yeuch!). If found, these are ignored and not added to Johnny's inventory.

Guards also patrol certain rooms and depending upon the situation they must either be shown identification or disposed of -- quickly!

Once all of the relevant documents have been photographed, Johnny has to escape from the base to get back to his helicopter and eventually home -- where another mission awaits. Oh well, nobody ever said that being a super soldier, engineer, neurosurgeon, politician, movie actor, rock star, world-class motorcyclist, explorer, karate expert, and devil-may-care all round nice guy was easy . . .

The review and ratings are based on the disk version of Infiltrator. Ratings for the cassette version will follow when (if?) it becomes available.
     

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What a great game; as disk products go Infiltrator really has got its act together and is the best implementation of a 1541 dependent game I've seen. It's all great stuff and fairly exciting, the flight sequences and the base infiltration bits are both top hole games in their own right. The main problem is that I can't see how US Gold are going to get Infiltrator onto tape without severely compromising the game. I can quite easily see a good game getting ruined. if you've got a disk drive then get a copy, if not, have a good look at the tape version when it appears and check out if it's really the sort of thing you would like to possess.
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Presentation 98%

Humourous and informative instructions, superb in-game appearance and many neat touches.

Graphics 88%
Initially excellent, but unfortunately deteriorate in quality with each mission.

Sound 70%
No music, but good spot FX
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Hookability 94%
Instantly impressive and playable.

Lastability 93%
The three stages are tough, demanding and addictive.

Value For Money 93%
A little pricey, but a worthy package all the same.

Overall 92%
An unusual, but impressive approach to an arcade adventure.
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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (18 Aug 2006)

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