Operation Stealth

Title		Operation Stealth
Game Type       Adventure
Company         Delphine
Players         1
Compatibillity  A500, A1200 (needs kickstart 1.3 emulator)
Submission      RJP

This is a fairly early example of the point and click graphical adventure.
You play the part of John Glames, a secret agent dispatched to a South
American banana republic to recover a missing Stealth Bomber. Compared
with other specimens of similar vintage like Indiana Jones And The Last
Crusade, Operation Stealth is beautifully presented, with a great cartoon
intro and cut sequences, lovely 32 colour graphics (no EGA ports here) and
good music. The plot is absorbing too, recalling early Bond movies like
Dr. No. Overall, the "Cinematique" label is thoroughly deserved. Look
beyond the pretty exterior, however, and the gameplay exhibits all of the
most irritating traits of the genre

1)  The interface is far too fiddly. You have to click in exactly the
right place to get Glames to move where you want him to. Objects are often
only a few pixels across, so you have to spend ages scanning the screen
with the mouse. The pop-up menu system (with the usual general purpose
commands like "examine", "use", "operate") is also a bit unwieldy.

2)  The gameplay is unbendingly linear. There's only one way of doing
anything, and every puzzle has to be done in order. This contrasts poorly
with better designed adventures in the LucasFilm series where you can have
multiple puzzles on the go at once and find several ways round each

3)  Although solutions to puzzles are mostly logical, the game discourages
experimentation by being utterly unforgiving, forcing you to restart
whenever you make a tiny mistake. At the very beginning you have to
present your documentation to a customs official, so you hand over your US
passport. Whoops!  Game over, because although you weren't told, it just
so happens that Americans are personae non grata in this country. Worse
still, you can fail to pick up a critical object, find you need it several
locations later, but have no way of returning. For example, at the
airport you have to collect a suitcase containing an electric razor. Take
this to the washroom, plug it in and it plays a recorded message detailing
a rendezvous in town. But if you jump in the taxi first, there's no way
back to the airport. Or if you do collect the razor and fail to use it
straight away, you find that there's no power socket anywhere else!
Either way, it's unspeakably annoying, and there are countless other

Every so often you find yourself confronted with Rocket Ranger-style
arcade sub-games. These range from escaping baddies by jet ski to
negotiating rat-infested mazes. They're quite fun but it's doubtful that
the average adventure fan would want to be forced to undergo these tests
of manual dexterity. It goes without saying that the game ends if you
screw up.

With better design Operation Stealth could have been a winner. As it is,
you'd be better advised to check out Indiana Jones or Monkey Island to see
how a game like this should be done. (How many times has that been said?)

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