Sly Spy: Secret Agent

by Dean Belfield, Geoff Follin, John P. Tatlock, Simon Justin Street, Bob Wakelin
Ocean Software Ltd
Crash Issue 78, Jul 1990   page(s) 42,43


Old wimpo James Bond has nothing on you! As a secret agent you've been in more death defying scrapes than he's had hot dinners. This latest mission is one of your toughest yet: stop the Council For World Domination terrorists running riot.

Action starts with you plummeting down from the heavens, luckily wearing a parachute, but then so are the attacking terrorists. Blast 'em away with your trusty 9mm pistol; ammo is limited but supplies drop from the skies.

At the end of this section your parachute opens (if it doesn't it's panic time), you leap astride a powerful motorbike and roar off in pursuit of one of the CWD's leaders (probably the one with the white cat in the diamond collar). Motorbike riding and jetpacking terrorists threaten life and limb, but again your firepower should win the day. The villain's car is caught and his three heavies gunned down. On the subject of guns, three types are on offer: you start with a pistol, but by picking up a machine gun and the five parts to a golden gun more firepower can be yours.

There are eight levels to baffle through, and each one is tougher than the last. Especially the underwater scenes where, with harpoon gun in hand, you brave terrorists and a band of Jaws rejects.

Though playable, Secret Agent just misses out on greatness, lacking that special something to make it a real hit. Graphically it's very good indeed, with highly detailed sprites and backgrounds; a pleasant tune warbles at the start of the 128k game, though in-game sounds are limited to a few good effects. The levels are pretty short and master blasters may find it a bit easy to complete.

MARK [85%]

We haven't had a good old secret agent game for ages. The last playable ones similar to this were the Saboteur games. Sly Spy - Secret Agent is brilliant. I was hooked from the word go! The game has been well programmed and designed right down to the last byte. All graphics are detailed and well animated, making good use of simply white on blue; however. Ther's a bit more colour on the screens between levels and the status area. A groovy tune plays in the background as you battle your way through a sky diving shoot out, motor cycle massacre and some dare devil diving. The levels are full of hazards and bonuses that will keep you playing for some time. Sly Spy - Secret Agent is set to be one of the best games of 1990. Get your copy today - you won't regret it.
NICK [91%]

Presentation: 85%
Graphics: 87%
Sound: 83%
Playability: 83%
Addictivity: 84%
Overall: 88%

Summary: A thriller for all budding 90's heroes, packed with enjoyable gameplay.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 57, Sep 1990   page(s) 26

£9.99 cass/£14.99 disk
Reviewer: Matt Bielby

Yes, I know what you're all thinking. Ocean have been rather quiet on the new games front lately, haven't they? Until just recently that is - last issue we saw the rather excellent Midnight Resistance, and this time round it's the turn of a whole trio of them. There's the mega-colourful and technically very impressive Shadow Warriors, the rather nifty (but a tad too late) Adidas Soccer thingie and then this one, the confusingly double-named Sly Spy Secret Agent. And would you believe it, despite it being an ex-YS Covergame, I really think it's the weakest of the three. (That's not to say it's bad though! Read on and I'll explain a bit further.)

Right. So (first up) what's Sly Spy all about? Well, it's a James Bond rip-off basically. There are oodles of (very short) levels, half of them being your Robocop-style walk-around-shooting-people type things (which provide the real meat of the game) while the rest are your more novelty stunt-type sequences, which add a lot of visual variety, give the game a very strong them, but (but! But!) aren't really all that demanding to play. For instance, we start off with a skydiving scene set over Washington DC (this James Bond is actually an American, you see). It's basically a vertically-scrolling shoot-'em-up, though unusually it scrolls the wrong way (ie down the screen). You drop in from the top of the screen in free-fall, while baddies fall all around you - you have to shoot them, keep them from shooting you, and dodge all the new ones falling in from the top of the screen until your parachute opens and you land safely.

Phew! Managed that without losing too many lives, but oh no! What's this? It's a giant statue of Abraham Lincoln, stupid - this is Washington, you know - and those guys abseiling down from the ceiling have all come to duff you up.

One quick fight later and it's into the smooth-scrolling motorcycle chase. Loadsa baddies (mainly blokes on jet packs and other bikers), but the controls are very simple (just shoot and duck occasionally, with the odd wheelie to bring your guns to bear on the jet-packers) and the black sedan you're meant to keep an eye out for is incredibly easy to spot - it's the only car on the road! (And it's not even black!)

Ahem. Right, some more walking about (facing typical James Bond villains, like Oddjob and Jaws lookalikes) followed by the first of two underwater frogman bits. The graphics are all crystal-clear here (except for the bits where you go into underwater caves, when seeing the enemy divers - let alone their harpoons! - is a nightmare) and there are some nice visual touches (like the sharks which float to the surface belly-up when dead). Only trouble is there isn't really all that much to do. Both underwater levels have the same (disappointing) end-of-level nasties - a missile-firing deep-sea diver-type who you chase off-screen to be followed, by a rather more indestructible shark.

And so it goes, until we get to a big grand finale fight set in a missile silo, where all the baddies we've met on the previous land-based levels return to give you grief again. Duff them all up and you've won - the world has been made safe from international terrorism (or something).

There's a fair amount of variety, quite a lot to see, and everything has been very competently put together. But the game has a few problems (and they're mainly the fault of the original Data East coin-op). The most important is that there isn't really enough to do. Each level is fairly short, the controls are pretty limited, and the end-of-level baddies are on the disappointing side. There's no real colour in any of it either (something we may have become used to with many Speccy coin-op conversions, but Midnight Resistance and Shadow Warriors are both so bright that this looks pretty dull in comparison). It's not by any means a disaster then - it's actually quite a good game - but it's too chopped up and disjointed, and perhaps rather overkeen to grab the James Bond feel at the expense of playing like a real trooper. Perhaps the first real disappointment from Ocean in ages (but even then, it isn't exactly what you'd call 'bad').

Life Expectancy: 74%
Instant Appeal: 87%
Graphics: 78%
Addictiveness: 82%
Overall: 80%

Summary: Clever James Bond parody capturing much of the series' feel, but disappointingly disjointed.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 80, Aug 1992   page(s) 60


WHy not let Jon Pillar and Stuart Campbell guide you through this month's re-releases? Oh, go on. Please! You won't regret it.

The Hit Squad
£3.99 cassette
061 832 6633
Reviewer: Stuart Campbell

This is a weird game to have in a re-releases column because, if my memory serves me correctly, it didn't actually get released in the first place. As I recall, it was a conversion of a coin-op with a different name which was written and reviewed, but then withdrawn at the last possible moment just as it actually hit the shops, which meant only a few people ever got the chance to buy it. It's a multi-stage beat/shoot-'em-up featuring lots of James Bond-style antics like skydiving, scuba diving, penalty-box diving (oops, been watching Marco Van Basten in the European Championships a bit too much, I think), motorbike riding and that sort of thing, although for some inexplicable reason the 'picking up implausibly beautiful enemy spy babes with impossibly corny chat-up lines and, er, interrogating them' bit seems to have been missed out completely. What's left is a weird mix of short sequences involving such amusing antics as free-falling through the sky avoiding and shooting enemy parachutists, walking along in front of some retina-melting red-and-yellow backdrops avoiding and shooting enemy agents, riding a motorbike along a city street avoiding and shooting enemy motorcyclists, and... Well, you get the idea. Each of the sub-games is quite cute in its own simplistic little way, but they all end after about 30 seconds and then, despite the tape containing a separate 128K version on one side, it's multi-load time. This means, of course, that Speccy +2 owners have a particularly miserable time. Y'see, after they've used up all their lives and continues they have to rewind, without the aid of a tape counter, to a point somewhere in the middle of the tape to reload the first stage. Not to put too fine a point on it, this is a complete pain in the bum.

Still, the rewinding lark shouldn't prove too much of a bind because, after about three practice plays, you'll find yourself sailing right through to the end without any difficulty whatsoever. You won't ever have to rewind the tape again. Phew.

Seriously though, Spec-chums, isn't it about time we stopped putting up with this kind of stuff? I remember old 48K games with 6,000 locations in one load, why should we have to suffer this ridiculous nonsense for 30 seconds of scrolling shoot-'em-up against a looping backdrop? This could be a decent little game without all the faffing around, but it's almost totally ruined. Lazy programming - I'm sick of it. Just Say No.

Overall: 46%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 100, Jun 1990   page(s) 10,11

Label: Ocean
Price: £9.99/£14.99
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

The name's Agent. Secret Agent. But you can call me by the name I was christened with - Sly Spy. Sly short for Sylvester, I think. Hard to tell really, 'cos my old dad disappeared in Mombasa after the Ruptured Camel Affair. All he left was his ambition for me - to be the world's greatest Secret Agent. I think dad would have been proud of me.

Let me tell you a bit about my typical day. First, I parachute into occupied territory. This is a piece of cake for someone of my talents. The fact that I'm under fire from enemy parachutists doesn't bother me at all; I just grab the ammunition which is conveniently floating by, blow them out of the air with my trusty Mitsubishi-Ferrari Automatic and see them crumple up and float to the ground. My parachute opens automatically as I approach the ground. I expect to get attacked by thugs, tigers and dogs, who I shoot at and karate-kick senseless before picking up a secret code from my contact. This allows me to proceed to where my trusty motorbike is waiting for me.

Things normally get a little more challenging now. There are the jet-equipped fliers trying to blow me away; the enemy motorcyclists roaring at me from all directions, guns blazing; and at the end of the road, a carful of gunmen equipped with everything from machineguns to bazookas. Lucky that apart from shooting back, I can jump from my bike into the air, duck under their fire, and pick up extra loads of ammunition along the way. There are also drink cans which give me extra energy (I can't think what they put in that Tizer) and a jetpack which lets me fly or swim faster underwater (one of W's ideas, I think).

Fighting my way onto a freighter where I take out a giant bodyguard with a series of carefully-aimed kicks, I next slip into my stylish wet-suit and take to the water. Sharks? No problem. One harpoon in the mouth and they float to the surface. Frogmen? A doddle. Zap them the same way, and they sink to the bottom. I detour casually to pick up extra ammunition and weapons; collecting icons for the Golden Gun lets me assemble a short-term superweapon which makes my shooting even more powerful.

Through the submarine cave, blasting away the sharks and frogmen, I break into the enemy missile silo and fight my way up level by level, defeating once again all the end-of-level baddies I met before, finally taking on The General himself, first figuring out how to destroy the force-field and avoid the descending spikes, then dealing with the General with extreme prejudice before he can say "With my nuclear syzygytron I will dominate the world, Mr Spy".

And that's all before breakfast!

So it's a fun-packed life as a secret agent, as you can see. So exciting, in fact, that I hear there's already a Data East coin-op based on my adventures, and a secret organisation known only as O.C.E.A.N, has converted it into a home computer game. Nine levels, nicely detailed graphics, smooth animation, non-stop action, and decent sound effects; it left me shaken but not stirred.

Graphics: 89%
Sound: 79%
Playability: 89%
Lastability: 92%
Overall: 90%

Summary: Super spy action! Loads of loads, each choc full of action and fun.

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 125, Jul 1992   page(s) 47

Label: Hit Squad
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Steve Keen

Forget about manky old James Bond and his smooth talking charm, Sly Spy is what real secret agent tomfoolery is all about. The king of tomfoolery Steve Keen explains...

Sylvester is the dashing hero behind the British Secret Service's latest offensive against their arch enemies the C.W.D. (Council for World Domination). His adventures are spread over nine Martini shaking levels and split between such leisurely pursuits as sky diving, motorcycling, pugilism, walking and scuba diving. During the game you'll be called upon to do all these whilst an assortment of criminals of both the two and four legged (?! Bad dog bozo!) variety, try to riddle your tux with tooth and bullet holes.

The adventure starts off with a 10,000 foot parachute drop into enemy territory where the skies are full of pistol touting enemy agents and villains. You'll progress to ever more dangerous levels as once you've finally landed the thugs you avoided in the air take to motorbikes and jet packs and pursue you throughout the city. There are loads of pickup power icons to protect our hero in true 'Q' style and you'll also notice several strange looking pieces of shrapnel lying around the place. These make up the Golden Gun, (now where have I heard that before) which, when put together form a formidable, if slightly short lived, weapon.

The blue and white graphics, although crisp, do look a little old hat. They are, however, well drawn and could knock a few more recent games for six. The action is unrelenting with just the right pitch of difficulty and variety to keep you coming back for more. A really kicking release that's gaggin' for a purchase.

Sly Spy looks like a snow blizzard in December, but fortunately the detail is quite precise so you can, just about, see every pixel for what it's supposed to be. Good stuff.

Graphics: 89%
Sound: 78%
Playability: 87%
Lastability: 90%
Overall: 89%

Summary: Fast, action packed and fun to match, I hear Roger Moore learnt everything he knows from this game, including acting! Give it a whirl.

Award: Sinclair User Best Budget

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 33, Aug 1990   page(s) 28,29

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Atari £24.99
Amiga £24.99


It's a tough life being a spy. What with the constant jumping out of airplanes, high speed car chases and rescuing blonde bimbos things are not easy. But there's no doubt who the best man for the job is: Sly Spy.

The Council for World Domination (CWD) are threatening to detonate a nuclear bomb if the free world doesn't surrender. The American Government sends for Sly Spy.

The game starts in true James Bond style with Sly being booted out of a plane. Luckily he is wearing a parachute, but unluckily CWD agents are trying to shorten our lad's life. You start with a 9mm pistol and a full clip of ammunition. After disposing of the enemy agents, you land safely in Washington. But even on the ground you're not clear of trouble. Walking past the Lincoln Memorial you soon get the feeling you're being watched - and then shot at! - so the sooner you get to your motorbike the better.

Headquarters inform you that one of the CWD bosses has been sighted so you must roar off after him. Jet packers and ruffians on motorbikes try to kill you, so it's just as well you stopped off at Special Stores to pock up some 'special' weapons. Such weapons include a machine gun and a "golden gun' (in five pieces).

There are eight levels in all (the sky diving and Lincoln Memorial sections are counted as one). most being horizontally scrolling Renegade - type stages.

The arcade coin-op, whilst being graphically good, wasn't exactly trend setting. Being an arcade conversion, Software Creations couldn't alter any of the computer game content, however, they have made the game more playable. It is blatantly obvious where Sly Spy's inspiration comes from, and it's probably the best secret agent game so far. Let's hope Domark's The Spy Who Loved Me can create the same kind of fun.

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Overall: 85%

Summary: Although not as pretty as the 16-bit games, it is every bit as playable. All of the eight levels have been crammed in (no mean feat), and both character and background sprites are colourful, well drawn and smoothly animated. Spectrum owners need not worry about the lack of good software - Ocean always come up with the goods.

Award: The Games Machine Star Player

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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