Third Courier, The

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RAM Requirement: 768k RAM

Control: Mouse and Keyboard

Release Status: Abandonware

Year: 1989

Publisher: Accolade

Developers: Manley & Associates

System 6 Compatible: Yes

Hard Drive Installable: Yes

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The Third Courier made a departure in IIGS gaming by Accolade, as an adventure/role playing game as opposed to a sports game. It was released in 1989.

Manley and Associates, who had converted several IIGS games, designed The Third Courier but they didn't program the IIGS version. That credit belongs to Robert Clardy of Synergistic Software, whose previous IIGS titles tended to run a little bit slowly; and unfortunately the Third Courier is no exception.

You are a spy, codenamed Moondancer. You are sent to Berlin to track down the Third Courier, who has part of the NATO defense plans and went missing after the first two couriers travelling with different parts of the plan were assassinated. Mission: Recover the three critical components of the plans (a computer chip, floppy disk and CPU) before they become the property of unwanted third parties.

The game itself has a mixture of role playing elements (with use of character attributes and combat) and graphic adventure. You begin by creating a character and filling out an electronic dossier that includes personality attribute alternatives. To actually begin a game, you need to select and activate an agent. The game first resembles a graphic adventure, with the usual mouse driven interface (with keyboard short cuts), compass points and pull down menus. You begin in your apartment and it's wise to use your computer and Mission Support will brief you further of your mission. The computer will also give you dossiers on the people you meet, and some you will need to meet. For the computer to give you dossiers on the people you meet, you must use your Photo-Fax, an item available, among many others, from Mission Support.

When out on the street, you can walk the city of Berlin (travel to the East side by subway) or catch a cab. Drop in on Mission Support first, then go exploring the city on foot. To save time, you will later be able to travel to special locations you have visited already by cab instead of walking there. On the street you can encounter panhandlers, muggers, police and assassins. To protect you, however, it's not often a good thing to carry a gun, as the German police, who are very well armed, don't take too kindly to it. There are special locales to visit amongst all the unimportant buildings, where you will converse and maybe give, take or buy items. Don't forget to use your Photo-Fax for everyone you encounter. Day turns to night and it's not a bad idea to sleep through it to avoid the darker streets.

The graphics of the game are rather well drawn and varied, but sound is sparse and music will actually slow the gameplay further, despite it being slow enough already. The game has a lot of depth and sets a mood quite suitable for that of the cloak and dagger scenario at hand. I bought this game quite some time ago but have never finished it. It may well be worth finishing, I think, despite its slow speed. Emulate it quick as you can or don't hold back on that Transwarp GS or ZipGS!