Contact Sam Cruise is a highly-regarded and entertaining action adventure game designed by Dave Reidy, the guy who created the classic Skool Daze. It was published by Microsphere in 1986.
Just like in Skool Daze you control a small 2D character who explores a scrolling landscape, this time an urban cityscape rather than a schoolyard, and the result is an atmospheric and often humorous ‘film noir’ type ‘whodunnit’ game, where you play private detective Sam Cruise trying to solve the mystery of “The Bali Budgie” (a play on the title of the film The Maltese Falcon).
Sam can walk around the city, talk to people, get into fights, wear disguises, make telephone calls, turn light switches on and off, open and close window blinds, look for clues, and generally get himself into a variety of scrapes. Sam can even get himself arrested, and being carried away by a police officer to the cells is quite funny.
Sam can somersault and roll to avoid gunfire, but unfortunately can’t fire back. Contact Sam Cruise is more about stealth and using your noggin, than blasting things.
The game ends when you run out of health and have no first aid kits left, or when you run out of money.
Like Skool Daze, Contact Sam Cruise is not an easy game to play properly. It’s an easy game to mess around with, but if you want to start solving cases you might need a walkthrough. The instructions don’t explain much. Everything in this game seems to stem from the phone call Sam receives at the start of the game.
While it’s not a game for everyone, Contact Sam Cruise is another Spectrum classic from Reidy, who seemed to excel at making miniature, virtual worlds out of stick men… And I mean that with the greatest respect. 🙂
As far as I know this game only ever came out on the Spectrum. Which makes it something of an exclusive gem on the system.
Contact Sam Cruise keyboard controls:
Q = Up, A = Down, O = Left, P = Right
Press Q, A, O, P + CAPS SHIFT to move faster
B = Pull/draw blind (when standing next to a blind)
D = Change disguise
F = Fuse
G = Get/pick up object (objects flash when you stand over them)
I = Information – slows the speed of on-screen messages
K = Knock/use key (when at a door) – also opens a door from the inside
L = Light switch on/off (when standing next to a switch)
R = Forward roll
S = Somersault
T = Use telephone
H = Hang up telephone