EMULATION OF THE MONTH SPECIAL
ALL OR NOTHING (Abbex, ZX Spectrum, 1984)
Sad that the mighty Goldeneye never made it
across to the PC? Casting an envious eyes at your PS2-owning chums
as they sit through the endless cutscenes of Metal Gear Solid 2?
Then get a grip of yourself, PC Zone reader. While console gamers
can play pale tenth-generation copies, you have at your disposal the
original action stealth game Ė All Or Nothing. More than a
decade before Goldeneye, All Or Nothing invented the entire stealth
genre on the humble 48K Speccy.
Set in a secret installation on a remote
island, your job was to infiltrate the base, steal some vital plans
and make good your escape. But what really made the game was the
groundbreaking AI, whereby the enemy guards (and dogs) actually
behaved in a believable manner that still puts some modern PC games
Blow something up to create a diversion while
you try to pick a door lock. Shoot a couple of guards and watch the
rest gather around in horror. Stun a man with knockout gas and steal
his ID card to wander around the camp unmolested Ė until you start
to do something suspicious, or another enemy discovers the body you
stole it from. Frantically try to crack a safe combination before
the booby trap goes off.
Run in terror as a pack of guard dogs swarms
around your feet to delay you until the soldiers arrive. Break into
a comms room to radio your base for extra mission time. Bribe guards
to turn a blind eye to your nefarious activities, with money stolen
from their dead comrades. And you only get one life. Itís just like
being a real spy, viewers. Just donít ask me how I know.
All Or Nothing got pretty mixed reviews when it
was released. It was a little sophisticated for its time, and even
18 years ago the graphics were pretty crude, and it disappeared
without ever troubling the chart compilers. But itís one of the most
accessible, atmospheric and addictive games ever created in 32K of
memory. If you think your brain can lower itself to playing a game
with less than 46 control keys (AON gets by on left, right, forward,
select and use), and if youíre not so used to lazy-coward
quicksaving that you canít handle the tension of a game where one
bullet can end it all, then sinister spy shenanigans donít come much
more fun than this.