As special agent Maximilian (or Maxine) "Max" Remington, you are the premier anti-terror agent in the world. CIA have received tips and clues about some suspicious activities of some known bad guys. Gather enough evidence through house search, wiretaps, etc. Decode any messages you discover to unravel additional clues. Each operation will be handled by multiple people. Figure out the crime before it happens and get enough evidence to find the true mastermind behind the whole thing. Then chase down and arrest the suspects via car chases or go into the house arrest the suspect yourself. Can you arrest all the masterminds? Covert Action
is best described as a secret agent simulator, with a heavy dose of puzzle and some top-down shooter action. You'll follow the hints all over the world, surveil suspect safehouses, apply wiretaps (which is a puzzle sequence), even go inside and check each and every drawer without arousing suspicion (by keeping very quiet). If you're discovered, you'll need to avoid car chases or you'll end up shooting it out with the bad guys. You can also "tail" a suspect (with multiple cars) and see if you can find another safehouse or more headquarters to search for clues. You have a silenced pistol (or Uzi) and three different types of grenades, plus other high-tech toys. As you get closer to the mastermind, the plot gets more intricate, timeline gets shorter, code breaking is tougher, and enemies harder to take out.
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The set of faces you are shown before each case is actually the game's copy protection, not a gameplay element. It is cracked in most abandonware versions of the game.
Covert Action was first worked on by Bruce Shelley and Sid Meier">Sid Meier between the making of Railroad Tycoon and Civilization.
Sid Meier is quoted as having a rule of game design he calls "The Covert Action Rule," inspired by this game. He found that it was hard to keep track of the story in the midst of all the minigames, so he created this "rule" to prevent himself from making multiple games at once.
The Amiga version of Covert Action
had a much higher resolution picture of the CIA Director (see screenshots for the PC version). In addition to more facial detail, the Amiga Director had a large "jelly stain" birthmark on his bald head which made him look exactly like former General Secretary of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev.
A lot of nostalgic gamers are disappointed because Covert Action
seems to crash on modern computers when you want to break into a building, but don't worry: It doesn't. Because of bad programming, the code does hang when you try to enter a house - but only for a couple of seconds. After that, you can continue. This delay occurs only the first time after you run the program, so it's not a big deal. This technical issue can be fixed by running the game with DOSBox (http://dosbox.sourceforge.net). Be sure to set the "Cycles" value in DOSBox.conf to about 5500 for best gameplay.
Information also contributed by
- Computer Gaming World
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #12 Most Memorable Game Hero (Max Remington)