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Codename: ICEMAN

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Jim Walls

GAME DEVELOPER:Sierra On-Line

GAME PUBLISHER:Sierra On-Line

Copyright 1992, Sierra On-Line

Sierra’s only installment in a much-hyped series, Codename: ICEMAN is a fun adventure that combines political intrigue, submarine simulation, and even romance into an enjoyable romp that is worthy of a spy flick. You play John Westland, a navy officer who is assigned a mission of a lifetime: secretly pilot a submarine into Tunisia, then surface and rescue the U.S. ambassador.

The adventure portions of the game are not very difficult, especially if you read the manual carefully, especially since several “puzzles” seem more like obvious excuses to ask you copy protection questions (performing the CPR comes to mind). The most aggravating sequence in the game is the dice game you must play against a crewman to get the item you need. Here, in one of the worst design decisions I’ve seen, Sierra decided to make the game un-savable — even if you save during the dice game, restoring will always put you back to the point before the game starts (with taunting remarks from the game). Because the dice game is long, and there is a lot of luck involved, this design choice just makes the game very aggravating (I actually experienced a game-killing bug after I tried to save during the game too many times). Just grit your teeth and move on, though, as the rest of the game is pretty good.

As can be expected in a Jim Walls game (of Police Quest) fame, there are many “realistic” elements in the game, including a fully functional submarine simulator that you interact with using either standard parser or on-screen buttons. However, the sequences that require you to control the submarine are all “canned” without any randomness, thereby detracting from the play value. Still, with a great plot, many optional points to find, and a well-conceived simulator, Codename: ICEMAN is a must-play for all fans of spy movies. Thumbs up!



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