Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 117 / FEBRUARY 1990 / PAGE 89


Game players get a peek into the future of computer games with David Wolf: Seem Agent Billed as an interactive movie, this spy adventure has the look and feel of a James Bond film, from opening titles to closing credits. In fact, it lacks only the Bond music to complete the mood.

The plot is developed by a series of still-frame digitized images rather than by computer-drawn cartoon-style characters. Real actors, costumes, and sets were used to create the images, and cinematic techniques such as cuts and fades help bring them to life. The EGA graphics offer rich detail and texture.

The story opens on the cliffs of Dover as David Wolf, agent for Peregrine, an international crime-fighting organization, tests an armed hang glider. He's immediately pounced on by hang-gliding Viper bad guys, and the fight is on. Once the action starts, you're in control of the hang glider, and it's up to you to win the sky battle.

This is the first of six mini simulation games that pop up from time to time. All done in polygon-filled graphics, the games are easy to learn but a little jerky at 10 MHz. And although the graphics are good vector graphics, they look primitive between the digitized photos.

If Wolf survives the glider scene, he'll be assigned to recover a top-secret stealth aircraft, which a defecting pilot has delivered to Viper, In any spy adventure, there has to be a beautiful girl. Missing along with the plane is the brilliant and gorgeous Dr. Kelly O'Neal, chief engineer for the S-2 project.

Wolfs pursuit of the S-2 (and Dr. O'Neal) takes him through a couple of car chases near Monte Carlo, where, again, you're given control of the vehicle. This is followed by a well-done free fall-and-parachute sequence and finally by the big stealth-fighter dog-fight at the end.

Dynamix has gone out of its way to make things easy for the player. Its Smart Sun system automatically sets the game to match your computer at the beginning so you don't have to answer a long list of questions about your graphics, sound cards, joysticks, and disk drives. And the VCR-style interface lets you fast-forward through parts of the game or skip parts you've already completed. It also lets you adjust the level of difficulty at any time during play.

The game has a lot going for it, but it has some problems that can't be ignored. First, its movielike quality works against it: Most of the time you just sit there watching pretty screens and dialogue go by. Except during the simulation scenes, there's no interaction with the game. Because of this passive stance, you never get that "reality shift"; you never feel like you are David Wolf

Second, it doesn't last long enough. I played the entire game, including some of the simulation sequences several times, in a just over two hours. I applaud Activision for not punishing the user by killing off the character every five minutes and requiring you to put in 50 hours of game time. But 2–3 hours is just too short, especially considering the $49.95 price tag.

Pilot your hang glider and shot down the Viper in David Wolf: Secret Agent.

Dynamix certainly is on the right track, but this look at the future is just that—a hint of things to come. Game players are looking for more substance behind the flashy graphics. But if future Dynamix releases offer more control over the character and have a more entertaining plot, I'll be first in line to buy them.


IBM PC and compatibles—$49.95


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