by Clive Townsend, Tim Hayward
Durell Software Ltd
Crash Issue 24, Jan 1986   page(s) 30,31

Producer: Durell
Retail Price: £8.95
Language: Machine code
Author: Clive Townsend

As a gun for hire you've been hired to liberate a computer disk held within a high security fortress cunningly disguised as a warehouse. The disk holds the names of a number of rebel leaders and you're up against the clock. The idea is to find a bomb, hidden somewhere within the complex, get the disk and leave the bomb behind, ticking down to detonation. All this before the time limit expires and the information stored on the disk is sent to outlying terminals. Being a sensible sort of chap, you want to escape and there's a helicopter lurking on the warehouse roof, just waiting to be stolen.

The trouble is that the headquarters are heavily guarded by a number of armed guards and watchdogs as well as automatic defence systems which monitor your position in a room and then start zapping you with a laser. Your mission starts in a rubber dinghy moored just off a small pier leading to one of the warehouse entrances. Clad totally in SAS attire, black jumpsuit and bootpolish all over your face, you are initially equipped with a throwing star. As you wander through the security complex various other weapons can be found, picked up and used - each weapon can be used once only, but can be aimed at your target. Trained to a very high degree in various martial arts, you can also partake in a bit of physical baddie bashing rather than just lobbing the odd throwing star or brick about. You have a choice too: a killer punch or a ninja style dropkick are both equally deadly to any guards you may find.

The security complex is split among three different sections. The first is the warehouse front, containing the helicopter and primary defence force. If you get down into the sewers then you can link up to the underground train taking you into the first part of the computer centre. From here the second underground train has to be found to get you into the second computer centre. This is where the disk and bomb are held. Once the disk has been rescued and the bomb primed a countdown starts showing the remaining time in which to reach. the helicopter. A quick dash back through the sewers and train systems is required unless you like having dead mercenary smeared all over the walls.

Whilst bashing your way through various adversaries your progress is charted via two screens, the main screen shows a sideview of the room you are in. Your saboteur is about a quarter of the screen high and sproings and cavorts about in full animation. As well as running and fighting he can also perform a nifty tuck jump for bouncing over chasms and gaps. Using the ladders, platforms or steps provided, your hero travels around the complex of colour coded levels.

The bottom quarter of the screen is used to display your status. Only one object can be held at a time, the object you're holding appearing in a window on the left hand corner of the status area, while objects close by and available for collection are shown in the window to the right side of this screen. Pressing fire uses the object within your grasp, or if another object is within reach it'll be transferred into your possession.

An energy bar along the bottom of the screen shows how your energy level is faring. Your lifeforce is sapped by contact with fighting guards, who fire rubber bullets, guard dogs, which bite, and the laser defence system which is generally bad for your health. Standing about doing nothing for a while, however, allows ebbing energy force to return.

The game isn't played for points - what self respecting mercenary works for points? Money's the name of the game; and a paymeter clocks up a few hundred dollars each time you do for a guard. The big money is only picked up for collecting the disk in the time limit, planting the bomb, and escaping. The programmer's obviously a dog lover, though. There's no money in killing dogs - "so why bother?' the inlay reminds you.


Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Interface II
Keyboard play: extremely responsive, adds to the excitement
Use of colour: mostly monochromatic, but still effective
Graphics: lovely animation, though backgrounds could do with some more detail
Sound: pretty neat two channel tune once loaded, and effective white noise during the game
Skill levels: 9
Screens: 118

Though bearing some initial resemblance to Impossible Mission, Saboteur holds a lot more upon further inspection. The game is absolutely great, it's like playing a part in a Bond movie. Maybe this is the sort of game that should have been used by Domark. Level one is quite easily solved, given a bit of time and thought, but there are nine different levels each subtly harder than the last. The animation of the man is great and he's very responsive indeed. Overall a this deserves to be a hit and should have pride of place on many a Spectrum users shelf.

After Critical Mass I was expecting great things from Durell and they've certainly come up with the goods. Saboteur must be one of the most original games of '85. The drawing point of this type of game is that it puts you in the shoes of a hero/spy just like Spy vs Spy and when you walk you crouch down just as if you were an intruder. The overall game is very addictive due to the variety of routes you have to take on the higher levels. Great use is made of colour - the characters are huge, with no attribute problems at all. One thing that made me laugh was the so called 'underground train', it really does look like a brilliant picture of a holiday caravan. I hope Durell gets a CRASH Smash for this 'cos it certainly deserves it.

Durell Software really have pulled their act together this year. After a couple of years of mundane releases they're now producing classics like Saboteur. The game concept is fairly original, and as such the game is quite fun to play but what really put Saboteur up in my esteem was its sheer playability. Graphically the main sprite is a bit similar to the one in Impossible Mission but his range of movement is far greater. Overall the best release yet from Durell and one of the better releases for the Spectrum this year.

Use of Computer: 84%
Graphics: 92%
Playability: 92%
Getting Started: 91%
Addictive Qualities: 94%
Value For Money: 92%
Overall: 93%

Summary: General Rating: Very imaginative: deserves star status.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 56, Sep 1988   page(s) 85


Practically every software shop now sports row upon row of irresistibly shiny, incredibly tempting re-releases. If this array of gorgeous goodies leaves you breathless and confused (even £1.99 is a waste if it's spent on something truly bad), never fear. With years of experience on their side, a metaphorical teacup soothingly poised and plenty of calming advice, MARK CASWELL and KATI HAMZA are about to cool your troubled brow. Pause before you squander all your silver pennies. Collapse into a comfortable chair and peruse our guide to a few of the better re-releases...

Producer: Encore
Price: £1.99
Original Rating: 93%

Originally released by Durell and reviewed in Issue 24, Saboteur followed in the footsteps of the company's previous hit Critical Mass (90%, Issue 23). Your job, as a mercenary highly trained in the martial arts, is to infiltrate the enemy's central security budding, which is cunningly disguised as a warehouse.

Guard dogs, as well as enemy soldiers and anti-personnel weapons stand in the way of your ultimate goal - to blow up the central computer, steal a vital computer disk, and (hopefully) escape. Guard dogs and anti-personnel weapons can be dodged but guards themselves must be despatched with a judicious punch or an accurately aimed weapon. It's not as easy as it sounds - the enemy is armed with knives and guns, and gives as good as it gets.

Saboteur first appeared over two and a half years ago and, though it looks slightly dated in comparison with some martial arts games that have been released since, it's still very playable. You can't help feeling a touch of the old angst as your character races against the clock to complete his mission and collect his hard-earned pay. Overall, it's a pleasant beat-'em-up-cum-strategy game that isn't quite as good as some of the more recent 'bash all that moves' offerings, but still worth a look.

Overall: 75%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 34, Oct 1988   page(s) 94


Make a mug of cocoa and stick yer tired feet on the coffee table ("Get them off" oo-er- mum), as Duncan MacDonald guides you through the spooky world of budget games.

Reviewer: Duncan MacDonald

I imagine that a hell of a lot of you will already have this one, cos it did pretty well when it first came out. It was megagamed, actually.

It's a flip-screen platforms, ladders and tunnels affair in which you get to play a ninja warrior. You've got to infiltrate a security building and steal a computer disk. Out to stop you are guards trained in the martial arts. They also have knives and shurikens and things, but then so can you (if you pick them up - they're scattered around all over the place.)

You start off in a river and have to climb a jetty to gain access to the building. Once inside it's 'oh dear, which way now' dilemma time. There are ladders going up, ladders going down and further rooms leading off to the left and right. Walking into some rooms an result in a birrova shock, as you might suddenly find yourself being attacked by a guard (or indeed a guard dog). Hold down the fire-button and keep that joystick moving if you want to kick someone's light out. Fights are best avoided, unless you really can't help it or you have a throwing weapon, as they sap your energy - you can see the bar plummet.

Anyway, if you ever manage to find the disk, you still have to locate your helicopter to make good your escape.

Saboteur has nice big, well animated sprites, a modicum of colour and gameplay which is 384% more absorbing than a J-Cloth.

Re-release/Original score 9

Overall: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 1, Jan 1986   page(s) 66,67


It's a race against the clock, as you take on some of the fiercest Kung Fu fighting Ninjas the Spectrum has ever seen. Would-be anarchist Sue Denham dons her fighting togs and battles through the endless maze of Durell Software's smash game Saboteur.

Game: Saboteur
Publisher: Durell Software Ltd
Price: £8.95
Joystick: Protek/Kempston
Keys: Up/down/left/right/fire - definable.

There have been a fair few martial arts games released or due for imminent release on the Spectrum of late - System 3's International Karate, Melbourne House's The Way Of The Exploding Fist, Imagine's Yie Ar Kung Fu and US Gold's Bruce Lee to name but a few! But none is quite like the latest offering from Durell Software.

The scenario for Saboteur thrusts you into the part of a sabotaging Ninja warrior, sneaking around an enemy warehouse that's much more than it seems at first sight. Your task is to search out a floppy disk from one of the many computer terminals scattered around the computer complex and escape with it. But before you go, you've got to leave a little present for your pursuers - a time bomb. Which doesn't leave you too much room to negotiate a safe path home!

The game itself comprises 118 different screens, which all go to make up the four-level warehouse - there is the warehouse itself, a computer complex, and two layers of labyrinth-like sewers; the latter areas have a tendency to look the same, which can be a great problem for those who have an aversion to making maps of the best route to safety. All the weapons a self-respecting Ninja could want, can be found by stumbling across them on your adventures. But you can only hold one weapon at a time and, once you've used it, you'll have to search round for another. Points are awarded for killing the guards - by weapons or skilful use of martial arts - but your real adversary is time... and the final objective of stealing the floppy disk and getting clear of the warehouse before the fuse burns down.

Overall, the game is addictive and great fun. There are nine levels of difficulty - but on the easiest level, you can work out the structure of the game and prepare yourself for the terrors of playing at the higher levels. Map-makers will be in their element when they first start playing the game, but it will be the rugged Kung Fu fighters who will out in the end.

Saboteur manages to combine the good graphical representations of the other Kung Fu games with the solid background of an action-packed story. One to be recommended.

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 10/10
Overall: 9/10

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 38, Feb 1989   page(s) 55


Honest guv! Sounds well dodgy dunnit? That's what we thought so we sent David 'Miserly' McCandless out with a crisp new tenner to boldly go where no stingebag had gone before (shopping) and not to come back until he'd found four YS megagames. We didn't think he'd be back. He didn't think he'd be back. We were wrong.

Talk about Mission Impossible, this was flamin' Mission Inconceivable. Four megagames for under a tenner? There's no such thing. Well at least there wasn't until a cunning lobe at the back of my brain remembered that a load of old ripsnorters were being released on budget labels. Mind you, by today's standards these games may be a molecule less than kosher but - hey! a megagame's a megagame no matter what epoque you're living in.

But there was a problem.

There were mounds, piles and heaps of past corkers to be had in the shops. All the companies had realised the potential market in resurrecting games, jumped on the exact same bandwagon and nearly toppled over. So I, being what I am, (insert your own joke here) picked out the top four blasts from the ghost of the past, the best four raves from the grave, and then rounded the rest up for you to delight over during the post-turkey blues.

Reviewer: David McCandless

Saboteur is an ancient game which stunned when it first attacked the market way back in June '86. The realistic figure graphics, the sheer size of the map and fast gameplay add up into an arcade adventure that still impresses to this day.

The idea is to control your mean, moody muscular ninja as he penetrates a massive warehouse complex, recover some stolen computer disks, kill the multitude of ninja guards, and naturally blow the entire warehouse into yesterday. No hassle!

You infiltrate the building by swimming in under cover of night, padding across the wharf and pouncing through a window. Crates and fuel drums lie piled here and there and you use them as cover to sneak up on the guards. The tapes are hidden somewhere below ground while your escape helicopter is on the roof. You use ladders to climb between the floors, but there are dogs and security cameras out there to stop you. And time is counting down...

This is a game to be reckoned with if you like your beat 'em ups to have purpose, intricacy and addictiveness as well as the habitual death, blood and bruises. And you Saboteur fans out there should be interested to hear that Saboteur II is on its way from Elite soon!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 46, Jan 1986   page(s) 20

Publisher: Durrell
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston, Protek

Death is only a footstep away as your black-clad saboteur, expertly trained in the martial arts, flits through dingy warehouse corridors in search of the secret information disc.

The disc contains the names of rebel leaders who must be located and eliminated by government forces. Your mission is simply to enter the warehouse, avoid the rabid-looking dogs, kill the guards who get in your way and find the helicopter in which the information is stored.

When you arrive on the scene you have only one weapon - a Shuriken - a star-shaped metal device which you can throw. When that has been used you will have to discover more weapons. Those include hand grenades, knives, bricks and stones.

On occasion you can use your fists and feet, although close combat is the most risky to your survival rating.

In the best traditions of mercenary achievement, your pay depends on how many dogs and guards you kill. The largest incentive is £10,000 if you manage to steal the disc and escape.

Time is also an important factor. It's no use having the muscle if you haven't got the sense to find the information disc.

The game is very realistic, the graphics are outstandingly smooth and there is no colour clash or flicker to speak of. There are nine levels of play, ranging from extremely easy to extremely difficult.

Overall: 5/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 51, Jan 1986   page(s) 23

MACHINE: Spectrum
PRICE: £8.95

This is what View to a Kill should have turned out like! Saboteur is the best game from Durell for an age.

Your mission - as an ace, Ninja trained, special agent - is to infiltrate a high security headquarters, pick up a secret computer disc, blow up the building and escape.

Saboteur is a real time all action arcade adventure. Your Ninja mercenary can locate and pick up weapons as he explores the corridors and tunnels - but don't take too long or your time will be up.

The best way to start the game is to rush to the computer centre and get the secret disc.

Saboteur is an addictive, exciting and challenging game. A mixture of Exploding Fist and Impossible Mission. It's a winner - watch it climb the charts!

Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 9/10
Value: 9/10
Playability: 10/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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