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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [03.24.02]
Category: Hacker Simulation
Developer: Introversion
Publisher: Introversion
Price: $24.99

Get the demo!


First Impressions:

There's no fancy box here, and no instruction book. Just a pressed CD, which surprised me until I found out how much they're selling. They found out their sales were so high that they could make a profit by getting the CDs professionally pressed. Also there is a black-on-black code card as an anti-piracy measure. It's nearly impossible to photocopy, photograph, or scan, and is definitely a simple yet effective measure, which harkens back to when games would ask for a certain word on a certain page in the manual to make sure you actually bought the game. A printed quick-start guide would be nice for installation purposes, but there are "readme" files on the CD for both the Windows and Linux versions of the game. And yes, both versions are on the same CD. Very appropriate, since Linux is considered the main "hacker" OS of today.

You didn't expect us to actually show the codes, did you?

After installing, I noticed another interesting don't need the CD in the drive to play. Everything is installed locally, and the game doesn't even check for the presence of the CD. Very nice in case you lose it. Just don't lose the card.

Score: 8/10


There isn't one. That's the bad side. The good side is that a manual would be completely unnecessary, because there are extensive and detailed tutorials and help built right into the game...not only that, but they are an actual part of the game. The game teaches you how to play itself step by step, and tells you where in the game to look for further information about certain things. At first, I thought it might be a bad thing, or maybe they had put PDF or HTML manuals on the CD (which I hate) but this is a great way to not need a manual. Techniques like this may actually make a manual obsolete.

Score: 10/10


Well, the plot is an interesting one. You're a hacker, yes...but you work for a corporation? Ok, that got my attention. Basically, you're a special agent for a big company, and it's your job to steal information from one company and give it to another. This definitely makes it a lot more organized than just being some generic independent hacker. Beyond that, the jobs you choose to take are completely your choice. Your objective is twofold. One, you want to make money, and hey, who doesn't? Two, and this is the hook for most techie-types, you want to upgrade your gateway system as far as you can.

Ever want your own supercomputer?

The missions span a large area. You can make viruses...intercept large money-transfers...frame innocent people. You can even take a mission to track down another hacker. However, these missions aren't available to get to the "good stuff" you have to prove that you are "3133t" (hacker-speak for elite) enough to handle it. That means doing simple missions and worming your way up. Of course, anyone who wants to skip directly to the really hard stuff deserves whatever jail sentence they get.

I can think of only one improvement they might make to this system, which basically reminds me of the way one would play Privateer or the old Elite. They had a similar structure where you could basically choose whichever way you wanted to go, but they also has a certain couple of missions which would take you into an interesting storyline of linked missions and objectives. Uplink would be pretty good with something like this. Then again, maybe it's already in there. I'm not going to spoil it...Most of the plot in Uplink is actually finding out what the plot IS.

Score: 9/10


Expecting whizz-bang 3D graphics and millions of polygons? Cinematics? Explosions? Special effects? A fully 3D environment? Get over it. Uplink's graphics are intended to simulate an OPERATING SYSTEM. And unless you work for one of Microsoft's madder "mad scientists," or some crazy person with a new Linux X-Window manager that no one's going to want, then an OS interface should be clean, simple and easy to operate. Oh, and it should use as few computer resources as possible, in order to reserve those resources for actual computing. Well, that's what Uplink looks like. Not only is it an OS interface, but it's a pretty clean one. It's easy on the eyes, and everything is within easy mouse-pointer reach. While it won't win any graphical awards, it's simply not meant to. It's meant to look EXACTLY the way it looks. After all, this was mainly intended to portray "movie hacking" which is about as far from reality as you can get. While it doesn't look as eye-candyish as the movie "Hackers" (which really goes WAY beyond believability) it does give the same exciting feel of it.

The one complaint I ALMOST have is the resolution of your OS tops out at 640x480. The display can get a bit crowded at that resolution, with everything you have going on. Then I thought about it. The machine you're running is at the other end of a network connection. You're accessing it on a terminal program, similar to the way Windows Terminal Services or X-Windows operates. And these chew up a lot of network bandwidth...the higher the resolution, the more bandwidth gets chewed up. SO limiting it to 640x480 makes sense. That's the way I see it done in a lot of corporations these days.

There is another drawback of the game's graphics though...they're not really configurable. You get blue. Period. They're working on a color-change patch, but until then, it's blue.

Score: 18/20


The sounds, as with the graphics, are designed to mimic an OS. There's a nice little background ditty for music, which can be disabled. And the various programs can generate audible alerts. Again, they're simple, functional, and effective, and go well with the barebones hacker-OS motif. Not flashy at all, but as perfectly appropriate as can be.

Score: 15/15

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