Title: Sid Meier's Covert Action (Classic)
Genre: Adventure, Simulation
MicroProse Software, Inc
Retroism, Nightdive Studios
Release Date: 1 Jan, 1990
A wonderful game! I can't believe this was released in 1990! It has great graphics, depth, and functionality for the time period. Reading the 60-70 page manual is a must. If you can commit yourself to that, there's a very immersive game waiting for you.
What I really like is the subject matter. You are Max Remington, the world's only free-lance spy. So good, you only work at the direct request of the American President. At his request, you'll investigate vast conspiracies, uncover clues, find the culprits, and arrest them before they can commit their devastating crimes. An intriguing premise (if not the most realistic), but what really makes this game stand out is it was made at that special time where the Berlin Wall had fallen, but the Soviet Union had not yet collapsed. As such, your enemies aren't the KGB (though the KGB has a presence) but other international terrorists. It's really fascinating from a historical perspective.
I hear that Sid Meier himself was not pleased with his game overall. He said that the game of having combat with enemy agents detracted too much from piecing together clues to solve crimes, and vice-versa. From this experience he created the "Covert Action Rule," where a game should not divert its attention. For example, in Civilization, if a unit fights another unit, you don't switch to a RTS game and fight out the battle, you just resolve it and move on with the Civilization game. To Sid Meier I would say: "You overestimate this 'flaw'!" Look at how popular the Total War series is, which does exactly what he describes! Personally, I don't think the combat game detracts from the 'solving mystery' game at all. It wouldn't feel like a real spy game if you couldn't break into hideouts, photograph evidence, and capture criminal masterminds.
If you can stand playing old DOS games and have free time to commit to learning the game, I wholeheartedly recommend it. I wouldn't expect a remake to ever happen: we're just too far away from Cold War politics for a game like this to work in the modern Global War on Terror-era.. A true classic. Spent hours as a kid playing this, and still as fun as I remember.. this game is perfect. an update probably wouldn't help. Wow this game is surprising really good.. And obtuse puzzle game. Want to like it, but it's a game for someone with a ton of patience.
Cryptography is not exactly the part of spy stuff I'm interested in.
. It's Carmen Sandiego for grown-ups. Awesome.. It's an old game, of course...no mouse support, no tooltips, you need to remember a lot of buttons...but its still a lot of fun. However, be aware that, expecially on higher levels, you are always operating on a very strict time limit.If you just waste a little time on observing the wrong groups, your target group will be gone. It's a shame that the game forces you to be so straight-forward.. This game demands a keyboard numpad. With a ton of practice you can manage to play it on a laptop but that's really tough. That caveat aside, this game was a huge part of my childhood and honestly, it holds up amazingly well to the test of time.
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