The Clue


Title           The Clue
Game Type       Strategy
Company         Neo Software (1994)
Players         1
Compatibility   ECS/AGA versions
HD Installable  Yes
Submission      Kristian Hesketh (kristiangk@aol.com)

Review
The Clue was (and still is) a very original game when released in 1994.
Although there have been quite a few games involving the Police, I can't
remember any which you actually broke into people houses. Yes, that's
right, you are a nasty criminal who steals other's possesions and sells
them off to dodgy dealers.

The game is split into two main parts; one in which you navigate around
1950's London and the other where you plan and execute your robberies. The
navigation part is where you spend most of your time, taking taxis to and
from locations.

The whole game system is strange too. There is a big picture area in the
middle of the screen which does nothing except pretty the game. You can't
click on it or anything. All the interaction is done via text with
unconventional and hard to operate menus. This is the only
strategy/adventure I actually play just using the keyboard as it is so
much easier! The game graphics are not all that wonderful and I was not
sure if I had the AGA version initially until I compared the two and
discovered it was. There is a huge bubble in the top right hand corner
with the time displayed, and to it's left is where you select your speech.
At the very bottom is the navigation bar, where you choose what to do
(e.g. talk, look...etc..).

It takes a short while before you start breaking into houses while the
game lets you get to grips with the controls. First you need to find a
place to plan the robberies and buy the tools you need, then you
investigate the scene for a while, before finding associates to help for a
share of the profits. You always need someone to drive the getaway car for
a quick exit.

The planning is fun. You specify the routes you take and which tools you
use to smash in the doors. Crowbars are very useful early on, but later in
the game you discover needs for welding kit and explosives. There are loads
of things to consider; Police patrols, noise levels and what to take.
Alarm systems take a long time to deactivate, but if you ignore them the
whole station turn up after a while.

Even after the robbery there is tension as the Police try to solve the
crime, by looking for traces and fingerprints. Your comrades are very
important. They can have all sorts of different abilites, but you must
ensure that they are loyal as if the operation goes belly-up you don't
want them squealing to the cops.

Once you have got away you still have to sell your goods to the local
dealers. They all specialize in certain valuables, but you really should
stick to one as the dealers do not really like each other. Your car can be
taken by the Police, so re-sprays are useful to throw them off the scent.
Gloves and masks are useful and can prevent identification later on.

There is a fair share of humour in the game and if you stay out of jail
you can enjoy the attempts Inspector Gludo (sic) has trying to catch you
unawares. Visiting the local Police station is also good for a laugh.

Although the game is good the copy-protection system is pretty bad, and
crashed my computer a few times, until I got the hang of it.

The game is flawed, but most of the flaws lie in the interface which you
must use to play the game. It is almost a text adventure with fairly nice
still graphics. It was a nice breath of fresh air for me, although I do
think it would eventually become repetitive. It's original and fun. You
can't say that about every Amiga game, can you?




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