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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2002 1:38 pm
by davidw
Alias Undercover Agent by Rainbowscape

The majority of small games tend to be poor, mainly as a result of the fact that they've had so little effort expended on them as to make them virtually unplayable. Generally, seeing a game with a file size listed as 9 KB would send shivers of horror through me and I'd start playing the game fully expecting to hate it. Fortunately Alias: Undercover Agent is one game that bucks the this trend and does so quite successfully. Small it may well be, but there's a very good game here nonetheless.

Based on the TV series Alias, in this game you play the part of an undercover agent assigned to rescue CIA operative, Sydney Bristowe, and her mission handler, Michael Vaughn, both of whom have gone missing. There is quite a good intro which sets the feel for the game well enough, and then you're on your own…

Though a small game, it is clear from just a casual glance that a fair amount of work has been put into Alias: Undercover Agent. Static objects are examinable, tasks are nice and straightforward with guess-the-verb (the bane of most adventures) being at a minimal, and the characters are believable. But this is not a particularly easy game despite its relative small size. The puzzle involving sending a message to Sydney via the napkin was one that had me stumped for a while although when I finally managed to figure out what was required I was intrigued at what an ingenious puzzle it was - straightforward, logical and possible if you only thought about it.

As perhaps goes without saying in such a small game, it won't take an age to complete. No matter how difficult the puzzles, sooner or later you will reason them all out (or maybe just try everything and through sheer dumb persistence manage to complete them) and solve the game. I'd imagine replay value is at a minimum here because the majority of the game is given over to the essential storyline and there is very little leeway to experiment. This is a shame as this is a clever game with a couple of very well thought out puzzles and an extra few tasks might well have turned it into a great game - although in hindsight as this was written with the unregistered version of ADRIFT maybe the game is as physically big as it could be.

All in all, Alias: Undercover Agent is a great example of just how small games can be good if enough effort is put into them. The ending hints that more games are to come and I, for one, will be looking forward to them.


Logic: 8 out of 10
Without a single illogical moment in the game, Alias: Undercover Agent comes across as a winner.

Problems: 10 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
None.

Story: 7 out of 10
I'd never watched Alias at the time I first played the game but the story had me hooked from the start.

Characters: 6 out of 10
Unfortunately, little room has been given over to character development and while the characters themselves seem nicely believable there isn't a whole lot of depth to them.

Writing: 7 out of 10
Very well written.

Game: 7 out of 10
Certainly the best short game I've ever played and it's a pity there aren't a few more like this out there.

Overall: 45 out of 60