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Publisher: Ambrosia Software    Genre: Simulation
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 300 MHz    RAM: 128 MB    Hard Disk: 30 MB

June 9, 2003 | Zack Lipowski

Click to enlarge

Good Evening IMG enthusiast 001,

We have a job for you. It has come to our attention that a certain individual (011024) has changed certain variables in his academic record. We will not tolerate this kind of behavior, and thus ask you to fix this situation. You must infiltrate the school's system and wreak havoc on the individual's profile. We do not want to know your means, just that you have resolved the issue. Government officers are watching us, so if your connection is compromised, we will deny any existence of this transaction. Upon completion of your objective, 3000 credits will be sent to an anonymous bank account in Singapore, along with its PAL code. Good luck.

The above letter is reminiscent of a typical mission in Uplink. If the above tickles your fancy, read on, and hope you don't get traced before you finish.

Gameplay: Cyper-Punk is "In" Again
First appearing on the PC over a year ago, Uplink finally makes its graceful appearance on the Mac platform. Quite unlike anything out right now, Uplink fills a much needed "cyber-cool" niche, formerly occupied by Deus Ex. Don't be fooled by its simple palette, however, as Uplink packs one mean addictive factor.

The year is a not too distant 2010, and you are a pathetic green hacker who has enlisted as an Uplink Agent. What is an Uplink Agent you ask? Well, it all depends on how you play. You can be honest and do simple jobs for major corporations, or be wickedly evil and frame individuals. The choice is yours, and that's the beauty of Uplink.

Once you start up the game, you are presented with a very slick interface in which you must choose a user name and password, these are used to login before you are "in" the main game. After the introductory formalities, you are plunked down into Uplink's main palette. Consisting of a setup of buttons, maps, and IP addresses, it can be daunting for gamer's used to more 3D-esque visuals.

Being the low-level hacker you are, the game gives you an optional 3 step tutorial which will run you through the game's interface, and which will help you complete the mandatory first hacking endeavor. Detailed yet simple to follow, the tutorial should be all you need to jump-start your hacking career.

For those who like a challenge and spit on tutorials or are just curious, I'll give a run-down of the game's interface. In the lower left corner is a button which accesses your software programs; Crackers, Hackers, Tracers etc. To the right of that is a series of buttons which display your current Gateway set up, your financial record, your hard-drive contents, your rating, and a button that allows to to send e-mails. Your rating is decided by what kinds of jobs you do. So, for instance, if you blackmail people and sabotage documents, chances are you will have a low rating. On the flipside, do "helpful" hacking and you will get a high rating. Depending on your rating, certain jobs may or may not be attainable.

In the upper right corner is a shrunken world map with squares representing the location of a particular server. When you connect to a server, a dotted line from your location to the server's will be displayed. This map also serves the purpose of scrambling your signal. You are able to connect through any number of servers in any pattern to provide a greater amount of time for you before you are traced.

To the left of that is your quick Gateway menu where you can quickly connect to a desired server. Upon selecting a server, a menu pops up that shows the desired IP address being dialed in, along with a sound bite of a phone being dialed. Little touches like this really immerse you in the game's interface.

Lastly, in the top right corner is the time bar, which shows, you guessed it, the time. If job pickings are slim, you can speed up the game's time. A nifty feature when you are waiting for an e-mail or job.

The first server you are able to connect to (and one of the most important) is the Uplink Internal Services System. Best described as a Home Depot for hackers, this is where you will upgrade your Gateway, buy new software, look for available jobs, and search the help volume for information on how to hack advanced systems.


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