MAME WR Attempt No. 19 – Elevator Action

Elevator Action is next in the line of fire for Ten Pence Arcade‘s crack team of retro score smashers. A popular action platformer, developed and released in 1983, you play as Agent 17 a.k.a Otto, a secret agent with one helluva quiff and a penchant for elevators.  The objective is to guide Agent Otto down through 30 storeys, avoiding enemy spies, collecting secret documents, reach the basement and escape in your getaway car.  Simple really. James Bond would do it in his sleep after seducing several glamorous ladies and downing 15 martinis, shaken not stirred.  The martinis, not the ladies.

Over on Twin Galaxies the Arcade high score held by Steve Wagner currently stands at 156,550 whilst the M.A.M.E. version we’re attempting currently stands at 92,500 and is held by Simon Leitch.  Lets get spying…

5000 – Secret Agent 17 rappels onto the roof where the elevator conveniently awaits for immediate entry into the building at level 30 (Not Level 42 thereby denying me the chance to make any 80s pop reference) Now I’m no spy but I’d start to question the ease of entry here.  Spies traditionally have to access via methods of high ingenuity.  Think Ethan Hunt of Mission Impossible lowering himself through a laser filled shaft.  Or being propelled from sky scraper to sky scraper to avoid detection.  If I was gifted with an open elevator, I’d smell a rat.  Also, no Spy I’ve ever seen had bright red pixie boots on.  That’s not incognito dressing.  And don’t get me stated on that quiff.  Whoa. Perhaps he’s on a night out and this is a little stop off on the way to Mecca Bingo?

Pompadour Spy on a night out.

The main objective is to descend to the basement, using the titular elevators, collecting all secret documents from behind the specially coloured red doors and killing all enemy agents along the way.  Shooting an enemy bags you 100 points.  Jumping at them with your feet in a super spy flying kick take down move, nets you 150 points.  Time the shooting of a light fitting so that it drops on a bad guy’s noggin and that will accrue 300 points.   Oddly though, this temporarily knocks all the lights out in the building.  One can only assume it’s tripped at the fuse box and the intervening seconds is how long it takes for spy caretaker to flick it back on.  Either than or it’s a proper bodge job by the electrical contractors at the time of construction.  They need to get onto that fella who is always on a motorbike on Rough Traders.  Failing that try Dom Littlewood.  He’ll sort them out.   DON’T GET DONE, GET DOM!

Don’t Get Done!

You control the elevators by pushing up and down on the joystick but I see a lack of buttons in the elevator so maybe that quiff is not a quiff after all.  Is it possible that he has an oversized frontal lobe and he’s psychically controlling the elevators with his mind.  Uri Gellevator…

14850 – At the 20th floor, escalators are introduced.  Elevator & Escalator Action clearly a clunky title but kudos for sticking with them anyway.  You cannot harm or be harmed whilst on these but be warned you can’t change direction whilst on them either so be prepared for spies or bullets waiting for you at the end.  Over half way down the building, at level 15 the following few floors are shrouded in darkness.  It does nothing to mask the enemies as they continue to be visible as silhouettes, however you can no longer see the doors or how many doors there are on the floor.  As such the enemies can catch easily you off guard at any point along the floors.  Following the darkened hallways I make it all the way to the basement collecting all secret documents on the way.  In the basement awaits your getaway car that looks somewhat like a Reliant Scimitar with ‘shot’ painted on the side…  Shot?  It’s oddly reminiscent of Alan Partridge’s graffitti correction… You wouldn’t see James Bond pootling around in an average 2 door hatchback that’s for sure.   I make it down the first few levels of the second building but I lose my final life answering my phone.  Not in the game I might add.  In real life. Oh hum.  One thing to note though.  He might be a super psychic spy sporting the latest in fashionable boots but he can’t crouch in a lift.  When the elevator goes as far as it can in that section of the building, further pushes down on the joystick will not result in a crouch.  I’ve lost many lives to this design quirk.  Always be prepared to jump the bullets when in a lift. (Sull Tip #1265)

A spy and his average hatchback.

16850 – I make it to the bottom of the second building with all three lives intact. However, I’ve missed a door!!  I’m swiftly transported back to the 2nd floor.  (2nd floor for chrissakes!) where the missed door awaits.  However, I’ve spent too much time in on this level, not point pressing either, and I discover that a hidden time limit exists.  the music changes and the bad guys get a bit more aggro so don’t hang about.  The task of descending all the way from the 2nd floor to the basement proves too much and it’s hasta la vista quiff head…

25700 – Midway through the third building and I bite the dust.  By trying to crouch in a lift…

40200 – A hairs breadth from the basement of the third building and I succumbed to a hail of bullets and powered by boxing day cheese and wine this turned out to be my best overall score before the score submission deadline.  Placing me at what would be a lowly 33rd position over on the Twin Galaxies M.A.M.E. scoreboard.

I don’t remember playing this back in the day in the arcades and it’s not at Arcade Club so my only memories of playing Elevator Action is playing it back in the day on the Amstrad CPC 464.  I seem to recall enjoying it thoroughly until I started digging around and it turned out it wasn’t Elevator Action at all but Mission Elevator which bore more than a passing resemblance…

Not Elevator Action

Judging by the #10pScore response on Twitter Elevator Action certainly has its detractors.  “It is sooo slow”, “It is boring” “Elevator Inaction” and simply “Awful AWFUL” was the jist of the comments but it’s not without it’s charms.  Yes the crouching in a lift is a design flaw but other than that all the deaths are only yours to blame.  There’s no cheap deaths.  No Donkey Kong wild barrels insta death moments of which you cannot control.  Granted we’re not talking Dark Souls level of sheer culpability but in the main it’s a fair mistress.  Of course, the pacing might be a bit slow and the levels too long for some but I found the pace calming.  Even the shooting is done at half speed.  All in all, if Elevator Action was a car it would be an average hatchback and you know what, Ford sells shit loads of Fiestas…

Keep blasting you buggers.

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