Leaving the dire Bounty Bob Strikes Back hopefully far behind us, we look to the light and hope that around the corner in the Your Sinclair Top 100 something wonderful is waiting at Number #55, and I can tell you that something is. Out from the shadows steps Saboteur!
Saboteur was published back in 1985 by Durell Software; programmed by Clive Townsend this was the game that everybody was playing or if not playing seeking to own it and staring at the advert in the magazine until they did.
Taking on the role of a clad in black Ninja, you had to steal a computer disk and make your way through numerous rooms, filled with guards, lasers and dogs to the helicopter waiting for you on the roof – all before the time runs out.
This game was massive on the ZX Spectrum; it really felt like it didn’t belong on the machine you were playing. Clive Townsend had delivered a large playable character, one that you could drown on the opening screen if you were a bit of a sadist, in a huge complex of varied rooms with what seemed like a simple mission given; a map was needed and you were thankful when one appeared. With the ability to set the difficulty to prove how confident you were (I regularly return to Level 1), hidden weapons from daggers to the common building brick and the pang of guilt if you decide to remove a guard dog from this mortal coil. Saboteur was instant classic from the off.
Still today people sing the praises of this 31 year old game and still today people either play the original on the ZX Spectrum or play the web browser version over at www.clivetownsend.com. Nothing has been diminished from Saboteur and I don’t think it ever will be.