Saboteur II: Avenging Angel

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Saboteur II: Avenging Angel
Saboteur II Spectrum Inlay.jpg
Publisher(s) Durell Software
Distributor(s) Hit-Pak
Encore
Designer(s) Clive Townsend
Composer(s) Rob Hubbard
Platform(s) Amstrad CPC, DOS, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
Release date(s) 1987
Genre(s) Action-adventure game
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution Cassette, floppy disk

Saboteur II: Avenging Angel, also known as just Saboteur 2, is an action-adventure game created by Clive Townsend and released by Durell Software in 1987 for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 platforms. It is a sequel to the 1985 video game Saboteur. Saboteur II was one of the first action-adventure games to feature a female protagonist.

Gameplay[edit]

A screenshot from the ZX Spectrum version of the game

The game starts with a drop into the building from a hang glider. Then, while watching out for pumas and guards, the player has to search through the command center for boxes of supplies. Some of the boxes contain one of 14 pieces of punched tape, which on all but the first level must be collected and taken to the computer terminal. Once this has been achieved, the player must make their way to the bottom centre of the underground caves, and escape using the motorcycle which can be found there.[1][2] In all, the site covers over 700 computer screens.[3] There are nine missions of increasing difficulty level (codenamed Rin, Kyo, Toh, Sha, Kai, Jin, Retsu, Zai and Zen), each with more objectives (such as collecting more pieces of punched tape, or having to disable an electrified perimeter fence protecting the tunnel).

Map of Saboteur II on the ZX Spectrum loading screen

The game offers two subtle ways to assist the player. The loading screen shows the compound and a building in the background, which included a pixel dot representing each screen. There is also a hidden screen containing a glowing crate which if touched would reward the player with infinite energy. This screen is so well hidden it was missed off several maps printed in computer magazines of the time.[4][5][6][7] World of Spectrum holds a Saboteur 2 map from Sinclair User which shows the secret room having been drawn on by the magazine owner.[8]

Plot[edit]

The player takes control of a female ninja named Nina (a sister of Ninja, the deceased hero of the original Saboteur), who must break into a dictator's high-security compound to alter the course of a nuclear ballistic missile and then escape. The enemy’s command centre and office complex is being built on top of a mountain filled with underground tunnels and caverns. An armoury building is on the top left of the mountain, a missile silo is on the top right, while the central top area is still being developed; there is only one way out of the mountain, which is the long entrance tunnel on the bottom left.

Development and release[edit]

Saboteur was the only Durell Software game to get a sequel. Saboteur II itself was supposed to be further followed by the cancelled Saboteur 3D for the ZX Spectrum, which would feature isometric perspective graphics.[9]

Saboteur II was noted as one of the first games to feature a female protagonist;[10] according to Luke Plunkett of Kotaku, "for a serious game released in 1987, that was kind of a big deal, especially since she wasn't a princess or cartoon character. She was a ninja."[11] The game's designer Clive Townsend said it was a conscious decision: "I wanted something original, and it seemed quite different to most other games. It’s become acceptable now after Tomb Raider, but at the time it was a bit strange. Why shouldn’t ninja characters be female?"[9] Nevertheless, the PC version features a male ninja on the cover.[12] Townsend traced the character art for the game's loading screen from an erotic magazine.[9]

Despite the four released formats being very different in hardware and programming (the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC notwithstanding), the different versions all looked and played almost identically. Usually, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between CPC, PC and Commodore 64 versions (colour clash being the giveaway for the ZX Spectrum version). The game was re-released by Hit-Pak in 1988[13] and by Encore in 1989.[14]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Your Sinclair 9/10[2]
80% (re-release)[15]
CRASH 83%[1]
CU Amiga-64 81% (re-release)[16]
Zzap! 52% (re-release)[17]

Initial reviews of the game were positive, with Your Sinclair rating it at 9/10,[2] and CRASH giving it 83%.[1] Phil South from Your Sinclair said that the game was ".a fine sequel, but possibly more important, it's a fine game in its own right. Saboteur was an original twist on an old platform riff, so that makes Sab II a double twist with a backflip and a lager chaser!",[2] while CRASH compared the game to its predecessor and decided that "playability has increased greatly with keyboard response being improved."[1]

When the game was re-released in 1989, Your Sinclair gave it 80%. The reviewer wrote that "if it doesn't perhaps hold up too well now, it's still an entertaining enough chase-and-kick 'em up with the novelty of a female hero."[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Saboteur II Review", CRASH, June 1987 
  2. ^ a b c d South, Phil (May 1987), "Saboteur II Review", Your Sinclair 
  3. ^ Saboteur II Inlay, Durell Software 
  4. ^ [1] CRASH map showing secret screen.
  5. ^ [2] Sinclair User map missing secret screen.
  6. ^ [3] Your Sinclair map missing secret screen.
  7. ^ [4] Contemporary (2002) map showing secret screen.
  8. ^ [5] Owner modified Sinclair User map showing secret screen.
  9. ^ a b c Retro Gamer 11, pages 92-93.
  10. ^ "ZZap!64 Magazine Issue 93 (Commodore Force Issue 03)". Archive.org. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  11. ^ Luke Plunkett. "What's Cooler Than Sam Fisher? Lady Ninjas, Motorbikes and Pumas". Kotaku.com. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  12. ^ "Page 4 - Totally '80s box art!". GamesRadar. 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  13. ^ "Computer and Videogames Magazine Issue 077". Archive.org. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  14. ^ "ZZap!64 Magazine Issue 052". Archive.org. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  15. ^ a b Berkmann, Marcus (September 1989), "Saboteur II Re-release Review", Your Sinclair 
  16. ^ CU Amiga-64 (Oct 1989)
  17. ^ Zzap! 52 (Aug 1989)

External links[edit]