Secret agent Otto has received his orders. Ahead of him lies a mission of the utmost importance to national security. Enemy scientists have developed their most deadly weapon to date, and the plans are being held at a high-security skyscraper on the other side of border. Otto has been given the task of penetrating the building, nabbing the plans and making his way to the ground floor for a quick getaway.
Proceedings begin with a short animated sequence showing Otto making a daring rooftop landing before he enters a lift that takes him down to the top floor. From here on he's under your control.
Unfortunately for Otto, the plans have been scattered throughout the building and are only to be found behind red doors. His basic aim is to open these doors, collect the pieces that make up these plans, and then go down to the waiting car on street level. It is impossible for Otto to leave the building before he's collected the entire set - attempt to do so and he finds himself in the middle of the building.
The skyscraper's floors (which widen towards the bottom) are inter-connected by a system of elevators and escalators. Elevators cannot move unless occupied, and are activated by pressing the required direction control. Escalators are operated by standing next to them, and pressing up or down. Similarly red doors are opened by standing next to their handle, and pressing down.
Enemy guards are searching the building for Otto, and they have orders to shoot on sight. Otto can defend himself, and is armed with the latest in automatic pistols. Being a top agent, he is also trained in the martial arts and is can kick the guards to death. To dodge the oncoming bullets, Otto can leap into the air or lie flat on the floor. These skills are not that vital at first, but come in handy in the later levels when the guards gain the ability to duck and fire low. A trick Otto has learned from experience is to shoot the lights out when he is in trouble. This can only be done while using the escalator, as the lampshades hug the ceilings and cannot be reached by jumping.
When all the plans are collected, it's time to rush down to the waiting car for a quick getaway - that is, to the next and harder level…
Control keys: Q up, A down, O left, P right, SYM SHIFT fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Use of colour: a bit garish with some clash and attribute problems
Graphics: clearly defined characters, but slightly jerky scrolling
Sound: a few spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: eight buildings
'I wonder if elevator games will take off on the Spectrum. I hope they don't if this is the best that the companies can offer. The gameplay is generally slow and quite infuriating, so I couldn't play it for long before pulling the plug. The graphics would be alright by themselves but the use of colour is sloppy and messes up the whole screen. The sound is below average: there are no tunes and the effects are minimal. All in all I'd stay away from this one. There are good arcade conversions around already and most of them are taken from better originals.'
'Initially I was attracted to Elevator Action as it had good graphics and is quite fun to play - but the game doesn't contain anything that is in the slightest bit addictive. The animation is well up to scratch, even though the men move in a peculiar fashion. I liked the idea of moving up and down the building, and trying to trap people on top of the elevator. Sliding up and down the stairs was also fun, but the slightest appeal of all these little features soon wore off. This is easy to get into, but contains little to keep one addicted for long, and thus is a bit too expensive.'
'Despite the very simple scenario and game idea, Elevator Action should win awards for addictiveness. Moving up and down lifts and shooting baddies as you go is one of the most typical game bases around, but the implementation is excellent. None of the elements which make it so good are immediately apparent - the graphics are comparatively poor and the sound is minimal. The problems however are more than compensated for by the incredible gameplay. It's well worth looking at.'
|Value for Money||71%|
Life has its ups and clowns but never more so than in the Secret Service. I'd tell you about it but it's meant to be secret. Well, okay then, as its you...
As an agent you're not delivering, you're collecting, and owing to the nature of the papers you're after (they're secret and belong to the enemy) you can't just walk in the front door of the block and ask for them.
In fact, the front door is the last thing on your mind, since you make your entrance via the roof! You're dropped from a hovering chopper and after that you're on your own, with only a trusty pistol to keep the peace.
The enemy HQ is a pretty anonymous collection of corridors, of the sort loved by faceless bureaucrats, so be thankful that their interior designer had a sense of the dramatic, if not the downright foolish, and painted all the doors of the rooms containing secrets bright red. This makes your task a lot easier.
Unhappily for you, the guards reckon this makes your task a little too easy, so they set out to redress the balance. Even after everyone supposed to have gone home, the building is busier than Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon, with heavily armed thugs appearing out of every door, so you'd better leg it for the lifts.
The lifts are seen in cross-section in the cut-through skyscraper. There are elevators end escalators, to be exact, because you'll want to escape the higher echelons as soon as possible. But just like real life, the lift's never at your floor when you need it, so you'll spend a lot of time hanging around, finger on the trigger, to shoot the heavies whenever they emerge. Of course, if they beat you to the draw you can always look lively and jump, avoiding the stream of bullets.
When the elevator arrives you get an option that really can't be recommended in reality, unless you possess the James Bond Seal of Immortality, and that's riding on the top of it. Beware though, because if it goes up, you could find the basement wine bar offering Secret Agent Squash!
Eventually you'll progress through increasingly difficult floors until you reach the garage and your waiting getaway car, when it's on to yet tougher embassies. Unless, that is, you've failed to find out what lies beyond one of the red doors. Then you'll be unceremoniously plunked back into the middle of things, to do your job properly. If at first you don't succeed, try, try...
I never saw the original arcade machine that gave rise to this official version, so I can't comment on its accuracy. On the Spectrum though, Elevator Action is an interesting shoot 'em up. It's not wildly fast but there's a lot of suspense as you wait for the elevator to arrive, and it definitely contains that one-last-go factor.
The graphics are a little weak and sound is lacking - though as this is a secret mission, I don't suppose we can expect drums and trumpets. But even if it isn't going to be considered a classic, it should still give you a lift!
|Value For Money||8/10|
Unless I'm mistaken this is Quicksilva's first coin-op conversion. It's taken from a Taito machine called Elevator Action which, though not particularly well known, is an addictive platforms thing.
Use the elevators of the title to explore the levels of the enemy headquarters in search of secret documents. Each floor is protected by an enemy agent dressed in a blue mac and felt hat and you, as agent Otto, have to dispose of them with a gun or karate kick while they continuously fire their machine guns. Lots of jumping and ducking is indicated.
The elevators come and go and seem to have minds of their own but, once you've got Otto into one you can move it up and down under joystick control. Otto's movements in the lift are limited. He can only move from side to side and fire his gun. Meanwhile, the enemy agents fire across the lift shaft and anything that gets in the way of the line of bullets is cut in half.
Otto's own gun has two effects while he's in the elevator. If you keep your finger on the Fire button he'll mow down any enemy agents and, if you're lucky, knock out the building's lights. For the few moments that all the lights are out you have the opportunity to travel down a few extra floors in search of doors.
When you find a floor with a red door stop the lift and take Otto to the door handle and press down on the joystick. He'll slip into the room, nick the papers and leave. Then it's off to other floors and other doors.
The lower levels of the HQ contain stairways and the most perverse layout of elevators I've ever seen. Otto will scoot up or down stairs at your joysticks command. He can also hold one lift on a floor and step off it on to another lift but you'll have to keep the stick down or Otto'll slide back up the building again.
Your score and the number of papers you find are the most important factors in playing Elevator Action. You score 100 points for each enemy agent you cut down, 150 for each set of papers you steal and 200 for every light you blow out.
It's funny. The game is so simple, but slipping from elevator to elevator, snuffing out the bad guys and shooting out the lights combine to make a pretty compulsive little joystick jerker. The graphics aren't the hottest I've seen but there's almost no visible colour clash, and the scrolling's smooth and fast.
I liked it.
Reviewer: John Gilbert
VERSION TESTED: Amstrad/Spectrum
Is no coin-op aloud to Rest in Peace without being dug up, dusted down, and converted to the computer? Apparently not. This time, it's Taito's Elevator Action, and 'the software house responsible is Quicksilva.
The game involves you guiding secret agent Otto through successive hight rise buildings, investigating every room with a red door en route.
Of course, nothing in this world is easy,. and just to prove it, all the buildings with gangsters who are hell bent on brining your spying career to an abrupt end.
Each building is viewed from the side, up to four stories can be seen at once. Each floor has up to six rooms, shjown by blue or red doors. The gangsters seem to have booked every blue room in the ;place as they are continually popping out into the landings trying to blow Otto's block off.
Although a little dated, Elevator Action on the Amstrad has some nice touches and an addictive soundtrack. The graphics, while not stunning, are effective and work well for the game. Gameplay is good except for a frustrating two to three second period when joystick control is suspended directly after Otto has just been into a red room.
On the Spectrum, Elevator Action was good fun to play but graphically it's not stunning and if it were cheaper, probably worth buying.
Overall Elevator Action is fun of the mindless variety but as such succeeds in as much as you keep wanting to go back for just one more try.
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