Today we are going back in time to review some games that may have slipped by you in the past. These titles are worth a revisit if you have played them and if you missed them as many did you should go back and give them a go.
#5 Spy Vs Spy
Originally released on the Apple II and the Commodore 64 the version I played the most was the NES cartridge. The game was based on the Mad Magazines popular long running spy battle of the White spy vs the Black spy, and this game really captured the essence of the comic strip. The game was made for multiplayer and used a split screen to do so. Each spy had to explore a building and the players could adjust just how big the playing location was, through exploration the spys had to uncover different items that would help them ultimately escape the facility. The games highlight of course came in the traps that one spy could set for the other, hand to hand combat was also involved but never as satisfying as setting a bucket of paint on top of a door, or placing a large spring behind a picture on the wall that when set off in Classic Spy Vs Spy style would launch the opposing colored spy across the room to their untimely death and thus allowing free exploration for a period of time. In the end only one spy could find the briefcase that allowed them to exit the level and thus win the round! Extremely fun and a game that gave me some early video game adrenaline rushes!
#4 Secret of Evermore
I am always surprised that few people recall this game, it was fantastic! Released in October of 1995 for the SNES this was an action RPG that had a great combat system, interesting storyline and great mechanics such as changing equipment and useful leveling. Perhaps even more interesting was the currency system, as new worlds were found, new currency must also be uncovered, just as the US wouldn’t accept a peso, the worlds within Evermore wouldn’t accept foreign currency! The game also contained a playable sidekick in the main characters dog, that when not being played had very good AI. The highlight however came in the form of the Alchemy system, new spells had to be discovered throughout the game, then ingredients had to be uncovered in order to cast said spells, with each new worlds spells becoming harder to cast and the spell system itself had a great leveling device in that the more a spell is cast the more proficient it becomes. Add to all the above some great graphics and you have a title that is worthy of playing but often overlooked!
#3 North & South
released in 1990 on the NES this game is a mixed bag of action and strategy that really was a ton of fun! You begin by choosing a side in the civil war, obviously Confederates, or Yankees, then the player gets to choose what year they are going to begin the action in. The game then opens on a board game style map of the US with strategic locations marked out, tho gaol is to overwhelm the opposition by controlling important ports, railway yards and cities. Armies are built and when two collide the game goes into an action screen where the battle is fought. Cannons blast, calvaries charge and soldiers march, this gave the game a great sense of diversity as now you were watching the units you had built on the aforementioned map actually battle it out, and you had control! Then there was an almost spy type level that had an individual assaulting train stations, and with the use of knives and punches the soldier must battle through the level in order to capture key outposts. The game had weather elements and was rather detailed for an 8bit title, I highly recommend giving this game a go!
#2 Bloody Wolf
The Turbo Graphics 16 had a short but wonderful lifespan in my opinion. It unfortunately never had the backing of the Nintendo or Genesis systems by developers however there were some amazing games that came out exclusive to this console that many people missed simply because they never owned one. Great titles include the original Bonk and splatterhouse, but for my money Bloody Wolf was the systems shining moment. This two player gem had some of the best graphics of the day and in similar fashion to Ikari Warriors you had to battle (hopefully side by side) through countless waves of enemies, a variety of weapons could be uncovered and many of them resembled weapons we have come to love through Contra like the ever so useful spread gun and if a baddy got to close the ever useful knife to the neck would suffice. The bosses were epic and controls were sharp, and with secrets galore and a great storyline, just lost to a dead system, Bloody Wolf is a must play!
#1 Covert Action
Still one of my favorite games of all time, from the genius Sid Meier the PC only game from Microprose that I still play religiously today. Covert Action had it all, elements of action, spy thriller, strategy, puzzle, car chases, moles, grenade/gun battles and a story that involves some of the major players and locations that still today threaten national security. As Maximillian Remington or Maxine, your choice you are briefed by the head of the CIA that some heinous crime is about to go down, it is your job to uncover who the players are and what they are up to. Could it be the KGB is involved with Mafia, or perhaps the Haitian Junta is in bed with the Marxist regime in Cairo! The beauty of the game lies in its open endedness. You can approach cases in any manner you see fit, perhaps you want to be low-key, well you can go to a building that may have had some suspicious activity and place a wire tap, then either follow or bug cars leaving the building to see if they lead anywhere, often times they are just dead ends, or you could go guns blazing into a suspects hideout, and with your spy camera hope to find some incriminating evidence, but beware because every action takes time off the clock and the bad guys are always in motion, and if you show your hand to early the baddies will simply go into hiding knowing that you are hot on their trail thus ruin any chance you had to capture them. Each case you solve leads you one step closer to the mastermind, which is basically the boss of one of the organizations you are after and each succesful bust will get you promoted a few ranks higher in the CIA. At the end of each case you will get a step by step breakdown of what the bad guys were doing at the same time you made your moves, it really is quite interesting to see their reactions to your actions and visa versa. The game provides so much depth and has so much replayablity its a shame that this game is lost to the masses. Please do yourself a favor and track down a copy of this title today!