REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

Infiltrator
by Paragon Programming Ltd: Chris Gray
US Gold Ltd
1986
Crash Issue 35, December 1986   (1986-11-20)   page(s) 149

Captain Johnny 'Jimbo Baby' McGibbets is not the sort of guy you'd want to meet at a party. Handsome, talented, strong, debonair, basically a total smarty-bottom. Not only is he going to bore you to death with some tale of derring-do in the skies, but that rather nice girl in the pink dress that you've had your eyes on for weeks is going to hang onto his every word, and eventually go for a quick spin in his Porsche (just to try out the new independent suspension you understand).

The first part of the game is all about reaching the enemy base. Once in the air, Jimbo punches up the old computer terminal. This gives him the heading of the enemy base. He then goes to the communication screen and punches this in to the beacon homer, then back to the main cockpit screen. The Gizmo is a bit unstable and keeps drifting off course. Jimbo only has just enough fuel to get to his destination, so it's essential that he keeps an eye on this.

Every now and then, a plane shows up. As soon as this happens, Jimbo shoots off to the comms screen and ask for the pilot's I.D... The pilot comes back with his name, and asks Jimbo for his codeword. Depending on the name given by the pilot, Jimbo must decide if he's friend or foe.., and then give the right codeword. If he gets it wrong, then the plane attacks. The enemy's missiles must be dealt with using flares or chaff, whilst Jimbo gets the gook in his sights and blows him away.

Upon reaching the enemy camp, our hero engages whisper mode and silently descends. The next part of the game is loaded as Jimbo takes on the forces of the enemy on land. Again, infiltration is the name of the game. Jimbo has to bluff his way past the guards. There are three possible missions for Jimbo to be sent on, and they must be completed without him getting captured, blown up, or running out of time. But Jimbo can do it - he's that kind of a guy (prat).

The place is jumping with guards, but, cool as you like, Jimbo just shows his papers and listens attentively when the guards talk to him. If he makes it past the guards and through the minefield, he's got to search the buildings. This is done by searching cupboards for passes, keys and uniforms to help him move about without being caught. Jimbo has an arsenal of useful stuff like explosives, grenades and sleeping gas to help him.

COMMENTS
Control keys: A down, Q up, O left, P right/papers, CAPS SHIFT fire, B battery, S initialise/sleeping gas, I ignition, G guns/grenades, M missiles, F flares, C chaff, H Head up display, W Whisper mode, 4 Comms, 3 computer, T boost, SPACE inventory, M mine detector, E explosives, C camera (phew!)
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
Keyboard play: O.K. once you get used to where everything is
Use of colour attractive
Graphics: workmanlike
Sound: clicky
Skill levels: one
Screens: scrolling area, three parts


'I've been playing the Commodore version of Infiltrator for ages and got nowhere with it, and now the Spectrum version turns out to be just as hand This Is a pity because the shots on the inlay look very good and worth getting to. The graphics are very well done, and contain lots of colour. The game itself is smoothly animated and full of fast action. H you can work out how to play it then I 'm sure you'll enjoy it'

'Hmmm! I 'm not too sure about this one, the idea is great and the way in which its presented ain't bad, but the US GOLD team have made it a little too hard to get into. Flying around the countryside shooting down the various enemy planes is fun, but you get killed off very quickly so I haven't got into the next section yet - Ho-hum! The graphics are quite good and the sound is about average for this standard of game. If you like challenges then perhaps this is the game for you'

'Long awaited, but is it worth it? As usual, I don't really think so. The graphics are very pretty, but the game is too difficult to be any good. The whole thing is very well presented, but I don't really like it all that much. 'Nuff said? (NO!! - Ed.)'

Use of Computer79%
Graphics79%
Playability70%
Getting Started69%
Addictive Qualities70%
Value for Money70%
Overall72%
Summary: General Rating: Well nigh impossible, leave it to Jimbo.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 64, May 1989   (1989-04-27)   page(s) 32

The game that rocked America' fell onto the desks of the resident CRASH mob in issue 35. In this three level game you play the part of Captain Johnny 'Jimbo Baby' McGibbits, known to friend and foe alike as the Infiltrator (an improvement on Jimbo Baby!).
Climbing into the cockpit of a high-tech helicopter, you are faced with an eye-boggling array of controls. Once these are sussed out, you must locate the enemy base and land. Fight your way through the variety of security devices and you will find yourself on the final level, trying to escape in one piece. You can do it Jimbo; at stake are freedom, the American way, and more importantly, Mom's scrummy apple pie!

Unfortunately, Infiltrator is spoiled by awkward helicopter controls. At the start of the game I repeatedly crashed due to these. And once I actually managed to stay airborne, an enemy airplane came along and shoved a couple of missiles up my tail. Frustration caused me to give up playing long before I got anywhere near the second level.

Then: 72% Now: 48%


Overall48%
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 13, January 1987   page(s) 77

There's something very... American about this game. Well spotted, Gwyn! It's an American game. From US Gold. Sherlock Hughes!

No, that's not what I mean. Infiltrator is more than a shoot 'em up and it's not just a game. It's more a sort of... concept, man. And if that isn't American, what is?

Well, first there are the instructions. A large, double sided sheet. But don't worry because this guide to flying a Gizmo (TM) DHX-1 Attack Chopper (affectionately known as 'The Snuffmaster'), also contains a number of laughs at the expense of weapons fetishists. Ronnie Ray-gun will hate it. It's un-American! (Make your mind up! Ed).

Satire again in the choice of hero, Johnny 'Jimbo Baby' McGibbits, an amalgam of all those helicopter and jet jockeys in trumpet-blowing, flag-waving, sabre-rattling goget- the-Russkies films.

Infiltrator is no Tomahawk. It's more silly than simulation, but it's also a lot of fun. Flying is a matter of keeping on course, and going by the amount of drift, there must be some fairly strong sidewinds. You've also got to be careful about fuel consumption, because you've only just got enough to get you to your target site.

Airspace is as full as Heathrow on a holiday weekend. Other helicopters appear regularly and demand identification when they see you. This is where the strategy comes in, because indiscriminate blasting wastes both ammunition and fuel, so it's as well to avoid it.

The solution is to keep your eyes open, and switch to the communications mode as soon as you see another chopper. You can then demand its ID before it requests yours. As you know the enemy's password, as well as your own, you can give the correct reply that it's requested.

Of course you may not know which side the pilot's on, in which case you have to make a guess, though this isn't too difficult when he replies, "Scum". Of course, if you get it wrong, or it turns out to be a rogue flier, then you're forced to fight.

As you'd expect, a Gizmo (TM) DHX-1 is well armed, with a cannon and four missiles. But don't neglect the flares and chaff that are used to decoy heat-seeking and radar guided projectiles. With these a battle becomes a question of fast reactions and strategy rather than simple shooting.

Finally though the ADF indicator will flash and spin wildly round, indicating that you've reached your destination. Touchdown and it's on to the second part of the mission - a land-based caper as you search for secret documents and indulge in a little sabotage.

You get a high view of the enemy base as you try to dodge the guards or bluff your way past them with false papers. If the worst comes to the worst you can always use tear gas or a grenade. Don't dawdle though as there are only about twenty minutes to search the base, looking through drawers and photographing any secrets. You can also place explosives and blow up the whole place if you're quick.

I'd like to report that this part of your job is as much fun as the first, but in the time given to review Infiltrator, I failed to land my 'Snuffmaster* even once. Sure I reached the target, but then, try as I might, I couldn't get back down to earth except in the most dramatic fashion when fuel ran out!

Perhaps I'm missing something in the instructions or could it be I just didn't have enough practice? I'm afraid it's up to those who aren't governed by deadlines to discover what perils lie ahead for Jimbo in his three missions.

As for poor, mortal Gwyn, I rather enjoyed this, despite a nagging fear that all that communications work becomes rather like a typing tutor. But it's a brave attempt to give the Spectrum the sort of game that's wowing them Stateside on disk-based systems, and it's certainly a novel entertainment.


Graphics7/10
Playability6/10
Value For Money9/10
Addictiveness8/10
Overall8/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 57, December 1986   page(s) 23

I have this unreasoning resistance to games that were No 1 mega sellers in America. Especially ones where you play a secret agent out to destroy some mad leader's plans to destroy the world.

Mad leaders mean only one thing to Americans - the dear old Colonel Daffy himself.

Infiltrator is a sort of simultaneously laid-back and flag waving flight simulator plus graphic adventure with bots of other things thrown in. And it has that infuriating habit so common to American products of having to be loaded in different sections - because it was originally developed as a disc based Commodore 64 title. On tape it's certainly a bit irritating.

Moans apart, though, Infiltrator is pretty good.

Not quite the mega opus the publicity blurb would have you believe, but still a pretty imaginative game for all that.

The first part is a helicopter simulation. Quite a good one but not quite as good a one as you first think it's going to be. The take-off section is very impressive the view of your land base slides down behind the cockpit window most convincingly. The problem is the bit is a set piece - in actual fact you get a sort of all-purpose craggy thing to represent land and that doesn't really change at all - if you go faster line move across it.

Cockpit detail is great. Clearly visible gauges and read outs, lights that wink, status report light and best of all two hands that push, pull and press on controls in response to your keyboard or joystick commands. Neat.

Controlling the helicopter is relatively simple, essentially reduced to joystick commands plus specific keys used in take-off and for the weapon system. There are also two defensive systems., flares and chaff - one stops heat seeking missiles the other radar guided attacks/

The 'mission' part of all this has you piloting the helicopter to a secret location where you begin Part 2 of the game, the graphics adventure. GEtting there requires you first getting the heading from the computer and typing it into your Automatic Direction Finder whereupon you go in the right direction merely by keeping the finder pointing north.

The problem in Part 1 is to evade destruction by the enemy, by your own forces or by loonys.

You have heat-seeking missiles and cannon with which to fight back but watch out for attack from behind. Use the display information to find out what sort of missile is coming your way. Engage the 'Whisper' system when you wish to land (so the baddies don't hear you of course) and you are on Part 2.

This has you running around a 3D map of the mad leaders headquarters and entering and searhcing rooms for useful objects. It's an icon-controlled affair, involving the use and selection of identity papers, gas cannisters to knock out guards, a camera to photograph documents and explosives. There are doors to be unlocked, mines not to be stepped on - the usual stuff but quite nicely presented with some good animation here and there.

When you have completed your mission its back to the helicopter... for another flight.

I can see why Infiltrator was so popular. It manages to make two pretty good games slot together into some sort of whole - like playing out a whole movie.

Personally, I felt that there was plenty here that was good but nothing that was brilliant. You may love it.

Label: US Gold
Author: Chris Gray
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joysticks: various
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

*****


Overall5/5
Summary: Like being in an action film. Not a brilliant film, but certainly a good one. Simulation meets adventure.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 63, January 1987   page(s) 54

MACHINE: Spectrum/Amstrad
SUPPLIER: US Gold
PRICE: £8.99 (Spec), £9.99/£14.99 (Amstrad tape/disc)
VERSIONS TESTED: Spectrum/Amstrad

Infiltrator must have the most amusing and readable instructions in the history of computer games. A joke a minute, and well worth reading all the way through.

This is the game that 64 owners have been talking about all summer long and boring the pants off gamesters who own a different machine. Now Chris Gray's action adventure is out for the Spectrum and Amstrad, and a pretty good conversion it is too.

OK, the graphics might not be as impressive as the original - perhaps that's why they used the 64 screens for the packaging? But the addictive gameplay still lurks beneath the surface.

If you don't know about the game the basic idea is this: The bad Mad Leader is threatening to destroy the world. And you, in the role of Johnny McGibbets, all round good guy, have to defeat him.

Jimbo, as we've all come to call him, has at his disposal a highly sophisticated and horribly beweaponed helicopter code-named the Whizbang Gizmo DHX-1. He has to use this to carry out three very special missions in order to defeat the Mad Leader.

Each mission involves flying your Gizmo chopper through enemy defences, landing at an enemy base, infiltrating it to live up to your name and completing a task.

Mission one involves photographing enemy plans. Jimbo is equipped with a special Infiltrator kit which consists of sleeping gas, explosives, forged papers, a mine detector and a camera.

Our Jimmy dodges guards and explores the enemy base. But some guards are smarter than others and they'll raise the alarm when they spot your forged iD.

Squirt them with a bit of gas and make your getaway. Get the pictures of the plans and rush back to the Gizmo. Then it's back to base where another mission awaits.

Mission two involves rescuing Dr Phineas Gump and destroying the enemy weapons lab. In mission three you have to find and destroy the Mad Leader's ICBM launch and tracking base - this is the most important mission.

Flying is fairly easy - unless you meet another aircraft. Then you have to guess if it's a friend or an enemy and respond to its request for a computer password. INFILTRATOR for buddies or OVERLORD for baddies.

Get it wrong and boy are you in trouble. It's then that the Gizmo's missiles, flares, machine guns and other bits of hardware really come into play. Avoid enemy fire by using flares and chaff to decoy them away from your 'copter. Blast the enemy with your heat seeking missiles and shoot them down with your guns. Sounds easier than it is in practice.

Both Spectrum and Amstrad versions are fairly similar - with graphics minus the 64 frills. Sound is a bit better on the Amstrad but the playability is good on both versions.

If you've played the 64 version of the game then you'll find these versions initially unimpressive. But give Jimbo a chance and you'll be hooked. Especially if you want a game that's going to last you throughout the long winter nights.


Graphics7/10
Sound8/10
Value6/10
Playability8/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

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