It is strange that
Spy vs Spy, a game that first hit our ancient screens around 30
years ago has been revived and has reached the iPad. The game
itself was popular at the time, but it would not have been a game
that I would have thought an obvious choice to remake, other than
for nostalgic purposes. The Spy vs Spy concept is originally from
Mad magazine fame and the constant one-upmanship and comedic traps
from the original comic have been somehwat captured in this
the game, two spies, Black Spy and White Spy are trying to collect
all the items to exit an embassy maze. The game is presented in a
top/bottom split screen, so both players are viewable at all times.
As a spy, you run from room to room, checking furniture to find the
items all while avoiding or disarming traps that the other spy may
have deviously laid.
You can only carry one item at a time, so you
need to cleverly hide the items you find, laying traps along the way
just in case the other spy finds your stash. Each trap can also be
disarmed by picking up specific items that counter each type of
trap. For example, a bucket on top of a door can be countered by
picking up an umbrella from a coat rack. In order to accurately
disarm traps, carefully observing the other playerís location and
movements is a necessity - also required is a good memory. Once all
items have been collected, you need to find the exit and run out of
you run into the same room as the other spy, hand to hand combat
takes place. The screen zooms up and three large buttons appear and
furious button-mashing takes place. The buttons are only enabled
when you are close to the other spy and it is difficult to see what
is going on, due to the the ludicrous amount of zoom that occurs.
Hand to hand combat is one of the least successful elements of the
game, requiring minimal skill and frustrating controls.
available is a retro mode, that reverts the game and graphics to
Commodore 64/Sinclair time. This allows gamers to revisit the
original version and to understand the original intent. Slightly
different tweaks in gameplay exist from the retro to the modern
version. All in all, I think the game has not aged particularly
well. As such, itís a reasonably well-executed conversion let down
by some frustrating controls and difficult-as-ever gameplay.