The Spy from the North

Games for Spectrum, C64, Amstrad, Amiga, Apple ][ and the rest of the 8-bit and 16-bit platforms. Pleas for help, puzzles, bug reports etc.

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Garry
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The Spy from the North

#1 Post by Garry » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:04 am

I'm working through some old type-in adventures and am currently frustrated by The Spy from the North written by Steve W Lucas for the Amstrad CPC. It was originally published in Games Computing in an unknown issue from 1984 and reprinted in Personal Computing Today, vol. 3, no. 7, February 1985, pp. 14–18. The latter has an obvious bug in the location data that is easily fixed, but it appears to have other bugs, as well. For example, according to the source code, you're supposed to be able to go IN at the main entrance to the office block (S, UP, W, S from the starting location) if aa%=1, however aa% is never set. In fact, it's not referenced anywhere in the source code at all. So what is it that you're supposed to have done to set aa% so that you can get in? You need to get in to get access to a computer repair manual that you'll need later in the game.

This is a huge game. It has 158 locations and I've only found 39 so far (after cheating to get the computer repair manual). You can always SAY FIRE to get teleported to a random location, but it doesn't feel like you should have to resort to this, except in an emergency.

The reason for this long rant is a desperate plea for the original version of the game as published in Games Computing. There must surely be someone somewhere who has a copy of the magazine. If so, can I get a scan of the article at 300dpi so that I can compare the listings?

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Garry
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Re: The Spy from the North

#2 Post by Garry » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:05 pm

I've solved it. It's got a sprawling map with very few objects and very few puzzles. Most of the objects are red herrings and most of the puzzles don't need to be solved to complete the game. There are LOTS of vehicles - none very well implemented. (It could have been called "Planes, trains and automobiles". :)) Most importantly, the inaccessible area does not need to be accessed, because you don't need the computer repair manual as the broken computer doesn't need to be repaired. If you want to fix it, just put ":aa%=1" at the end of line 140.

Incidentally, lots of guess-the-verb and sudden-death scenarios.

I'd still like to find the Games Computing article if anyone has it.

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Garry
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Re: The Spy from the North

#3 Post by Garry » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:57 am

I've sent a map and solution to CASA.

It looks like Secret Agent for the BBC is essentially the same game. This was published in A&B Computing, issue 13, vol. 1, no. 13, February 1985, pp. 102–107. I haven't played it yet, but it has a very similar intro, the same number of rooms, the same jet pack for teleportation, the same aa% bug and so on. The only obvious difference at this stage is that it starts in a different room.

I've just realised that Alex did a map and solution for Secret Agent and these confirm that the games are almost identical. There's another forum thread on the BBC game here. It sounds like the BBC version can't be finished without fixing a couple of bugs, but the Amstrad version can be finished.

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jgerrie
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Re: The Spy from the North

#4 Post by jgerrie » Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:28 am

Any chance you have the CPC source code in text format?

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Garry
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Re: The Spy from the North

#5 Post by Garry » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:13 pm

Ask and ye shall receive. This is the version for the Amstrad CPC as published in Personal Computing Today, vol. 3, no. 7, February 1985, pp. 14–18 The magazine listing contained a bug in the location data, but this has been fixed. I haven't found the version published in Games Computing, but it's probably the same.
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jgerrie
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Re: The Spy from the North

#6 Post by jgerrie » Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:18 am

Thanks so much. It's pretty big for a type-in!

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