Agent X II

by John P. Tatlock, Steven Tatlock, Tim Follin
Mastertronic Ltd
Crash Issue 48, Jan 1988   page(s) 170

Producer: Mastertronic
Retail Price: £1.99
Author: Software Creations

Bothersome spots can spring up on even the finest skin, and that's just what the mad professor intends. Equipped with his awesome Zit-Ray, the loony don is out to ruin the laces of thousands of people with ineradicable acne. (He's slightly less ambitious than the mad professor of Mastertronic's original Agent X (85% Overall in Issue 37), who thought starting World War III would do fiendishly.)

Agent X is the only man who can stop this spotty caper. But to do that he must leave this planet, travel to the moon, and overcome the professor's traps to find the horrid old man himself.

With a jet pack strapped to his back, X takes a scroll across the surface of the moon, where wave after wave of attacking energy blobs and missiles come at him, sometimes fooling the unwary player by unpredictably changing direction.

But to defend himself against orbs and missiles, X carries a blaster. When he destroys an attack by a group of aliens, a capsule appears which increases the power of his blaster.

If our operative survives this mayhem, he finds himself in an underground environment of eight vertically-scrolling screens. Now X must leap from platform to platform gathering four floating parts of an electronic code. When he has the codes he needs, our agent inputs them into computer terminals.

That's all very well in principle; but some terrifying elephant-noses and energy globs are there to stop him, and there's only the blaster to rely on.

If our hero survives this hazard, he progresses to the next (it would probably be simpler to buy some cream at Boots). Here he must manipulate a horizontally movable bat, using a ball to knock down the wall behind which the mad professor hides. (Otherwise everyone's skin will Breakout, we suppose.)

X's task is complicated by the deranged professor's own bat - which moves horizontally on a higher plane! But if he has energy and patience enough when all the bricks are destroyed, the mad professor can be defeated and everyone saves their face.


Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
Graphics: colourful areas on all stages
Sound: superb tune on the first level, sampled title tune
Options: definable keys

Despite decent graphics, Agent X II is a real disappointment after the fun and frolics of its predecessor. Still, the title screen is neat, with billions of different colours per attribute square, and the many tunes add something to a dull and unplayable game.
MIKE [44%]

Slick title screens and average graphics don't make a game. Here the graphics are detailed and the animation attractive, but colour clash is a problem. And there's very little to do in Agent X II - in parts very like Firebird's Sidewize (50% Issue 44) - so it's a disappointing follow-up.
NICK [56%]

Presentation: 77%
Graphics: 60%
Playability: 50%
Addictive Qualities: 48%
Overall: 56%

Summary: General Rating: A disappointing sequel, with each section derivative of a different style.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 25, Jan 1988   page(s) 57

Reviewer: Nat Pryce

Recovered from the beating he took in his last attempt at world domination, the Mad Professor is back! Only one man can stop him... Agent X! Yup, our famous (and commercially very successful) hero is back in yet more adventures, and as in the original, the games split into three different subgames. all loading separately and all completely different.

So what are these perils that face our Trilby-behatted hero? The first level is a shoot 'em up, a cross between Zynaps and Sidewize. Background graphics are very Zynaps-like, and you Can build up your weaponry from lemons (bullets) through drops (lasers) to strawberries (smart bombs). The aliens don't attack you in set formations, but come at you in snaking streams which curl around you and seem impossible to avoid until you have the right weapons. As in most shoot 'em ups these days, there are a couple of extra large aliens at the end of each sections, to make life a bit more interesting - if shorter.

Level 2 is a strange platformy game, set in a tower of screens, each with three floors. Each screen contains a computer terminal, a floating code number and an assortment of nasties, all hell bent on wiping you out. Agent X must leap from level to level collecting codes, entering them into the computers and blasting the aliens with his bubble gum (Yummy! Phil) I said 'gun' you clot. After three codes have been entered, a final code must be typed into the lowest terminal and a snake-like alien destroyed before the task is completed.

Onto the third and final level and we encounter... wait for it... a Breakout clone. Aaaargh! This one's atrocious, easily the worst of the subgames. The graphics though pretty, are too fast for their own good. The ball moves so quickly that it's extremely hard to hit at all. Worst of all, there seems to be no skill involved - you can't aim the ball as in Arkanoid, it just zips around all over the place. Unplayable, I'm afraid.

Like Software Creations last two games, Agent X and Chronos, this one looks and sounds marvellous (a good tune by Tim Follin) but falls down on gameplay - it's much too easy. From first loading it took me two hours to complete the whole game, and I didn't even have any instructions! Even at budget price I expect more than that.

Agent X II will probably appeal more to younger players as its difficulty is at that level.

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 5/10
Addictiveness: 6/10
Overall: 6/10

Summary: Well presented trio of ultimately stale ideas which just aren't challenging enough. Younger players only.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 69, Dec 1987   page(s) 119

Label: Mastertronic
Author: Software Creations
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various

Agent X II the sequel to Agent X is awful - clones of Sidewize, Jet Set Willy and Arkanoid.

The first sub-game - the Sidewize clone - has averagely smooth scrolling but terrible colour clash. Highly mediocre.

Sub-game number two and it's platform time. At first I though that being able to jump down through the platforms was a bug. Sad but true, this part of Agent X II is twice as abysmal as the first.

On to game three and I get out the ol' bat 'n' ball ready for my favourite type of game. Oh no! Yep, this is as bad as the others. The ball moves much too fast, and there are billions of tiny squares instead of big ones.

The graphics are nothing to shout about in all three games, gameplay is drab and lacks originality. The reputation of the original Agent X will attract customers. Don't get caught.

Overall: 3/10

Summary: Extremely disappointing follow-up to an excellent original. Highly unoriginal and dull. Don't bother.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Issue 4, Jan 1988   page(s) 84

Mad pop the pimple.

Zits are what this simple but cleverly executed shoot-em-up is all about; one of the many mad professors who abound in computer games is about to unleash his Zit Ray on an unsuspecting world, your task as Agent X is to stop us all from breaking out in terminal acne.

The game is a 3-parter; the first is a horizontally scrolling blast, the second a vertically scrolling one and the third is where you bust through a wall to get at the mad prof himself.

It's very nicely done, but does tend a little toward the repetitive - with the addition of the hypnotic and otherworldly sound track you can find yourself drifting off in to a zombie-like shoot-em-up trance. Graphics, too. are sweet, if unexceptional.

Reviewer: Pete Connor

C64, £1.99cs, Out Now
Spectrum, £1.99cs, Dec 87
Ams, £1.99, Dec 87

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 65/100
1 hour: 70/100
1 day: 60/100
1 week: 45/100
1 month: 30/100
1 year: 10/100

Ace Rating: 616/1000

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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