Spycraft: The Great Game

Spycraft: The Great Game
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Platforms: PC, Mac
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Activision
Genres: Adventure / Point and Click
Release Date: February 29, 1996
Game Modes: Singleplayer / Multiplayer

I blame Tom Clancy.

2_1Activision’s Spycraft: The Great Game puts you in the shoes of CIA operative Thorn. After some initial training where you learn the ins and outs of spy-dom, a candidate for the Russian presidency is taken out by an assassin’s bullet. Sources in the Kremlin indicate that this isn’t the last of the assassinations – the next target? The Present of the United States of America. Just as your team is being formed, the head of the team is also taken out by an assassin. Guess who’s put in charge?

The gameplay veers between field work, usually accompanied by full-motion video, computer hacking and general adventure-style object-oriented puzzle solving. Of the various styles of play, field work often comes up short. While the video that accompanies much of it is detailed, much of the game aspect consists of dialogue trees and an uninspired target practice. Some of the video comes off as a Dragon’s Lair-style exercise in proper timing, forcing the player to make quick decisions.

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You can zoom in and identify license plates.

It’s in the computer work that the true brilliance of the program shines through. You have a PDA, and through it you can access computers around the world. Some of the things you can do on your computer include doctoring photos, image analysis and decryption. The web interface is the key to keeping the player from being overwhelmed with the sheer amount of data accumulated. Files will be created in certain areas that contain all pertinent information. To add a touch of realism, you can access the game’s pseudo-web to navigate to the actual CIA, FBI and DEA web sites.

It might not be a perfect adventure, but it’s definitely original in its scope and execution. Few games have managed to add this level of paranoia to the adventure genre, and possibly none had made spy play feel as authentic or cool.


System Requirements: 80486DX2, 8 MB RAM, 30 MB HDD, DOS


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