Sometimes you just need to bust out an old DOS action-platformer! This is another fine classic title by the legendary Apogee games and it’s no coincidence that it all looks more than a little bit similar to the original Duke Nukem. This (as well as the also very similar looking Crystal Caves) were both made by the same designer of the Duke Nukem series, though oddly enough, they both came out after Duke Nukem. I guess they didn’t expect Duke Nukem to take off the way it did!
Anyway, it’s all very similar to Duke Nukem in gameplay too. You need to search through the levels to find a bunch of key items and perform a bunch of key actions in order to open the exit. You’ll need destroy the radar dish and find the dynamite to open the exit door before you can leave, but of course it isn’t going to be that simple. You’ll need to find various colored keys to open locked doors and find a computer disk and a computer to use it on to disable deadly laser fields too.
Unlike Duke Nukem, there’s an overworld screen where you can walk around and pick different levels to go to, though the order makes no difference at all. The biggest difference though is the greater emphasis on platforming over shooting. Secret Agent isn’t quite the action hero Duke was, in fact you even have a limited supply of ammo, forcing you to be a little more careful in your combat encounters.
The levels can be pretty complicated and aside from the enemies there are a lot of traps, some instantly deadly. You also only get 3 hits and 1 life, but you have unlimited continues so it’s not so bad.
While Secret Agent may not have gotten the fame and recognition of Duke Nukem, it still serves as an example of the same fine talent that went into Duke Nukem and so many other memorable Apogee games. It’s a fun little game and still holds up quite well for its age.
Playing this again after all these years really gave me an itch for more old DOS games like this. Stuff like Dangerous Dave, Bio Menace, or Clyde’s Adventure. I’ll have to try to fit some of those in sometime soon…