This is local copy of a review of Uplink, origionally posted on gamer.no
The original article can be found here.
Translated by Arne Martin Wik.
This section was written over five years ago, and is the concept behind what has now become Uplink. The game was developed by Introversion, a small UK based company, with no help from large distribution systems or gigantic developer teams. In May 1999 the development of Uplink began, and the project was meant as a counterweight to the large corporations ruthless production of games meant for nothing else than reaching high sales numbers. In a business dominated by large developer[houses?] Uplink became the ultimate contrast. Today the game has become a success, and Introversion is making good money on their bedroom project.
Uplink is in the beginning described as a hacker game. The happenings are not real, or in any way based on the truth. Uplink follows in the spirit of the "romantic" part of the hacker myth that we all know. You log on, steal some stuff, and everything is done in an OK GUI with programs explaining everything on the screen. It's no surprise that you don't have to read through text documents for hours, while blindly going at the target system fumbling at the keys. The game tries to create excitement without being circumstantial and meticulous. The Uplink universe is so thorough and stylish in all ways that you forget the fact that it is in fact only a game you've logged onto.
The game relies solely on the creation of an illusion that you actually are hacking fancy systems around the globe. A good looking interface, that is able to maintain the thin red line between user friendliness and the necessary console-"look" is by all accounts very successful. Now would be the time to mention that the graphic isn't very groundbreaking, in fact, it's not even 3D. But with this game, it actually doesn't matter, since the simple look is conductive in pulling you into the Uplink universe.
To enjoy Uplink you have to accept the facts. You'll have to accept the games premises, or rather the laws of the world. These are not the same as other places, like the ones you have seen in "Antitrust" or "Hackers". If you find the simplified, but intensely cool way of being a hacker represented in movies like the above, you're going to like Uplink. If you find the above concept lame, log out immediately. Uplink is nothing for you. The thrill you get from logging onto a computer you are not allowed to, though, is also given to you in Uplink, when you're bouncing through servers, hunting for the decisive seconds of being traced and to doomsday. Or while you watch your progress bar creeping closer to completion while the frantic beeping of your trace-tracker grows ever faster.
Beep, beep, beep...
After the this you connect to the target. Starting the program Trace Tracker, you get an indicator of how close you are to being busted. When you're almost out of time, the beeping grows faster and louder until it becomes totally silent, in which case your days as a hacker is over. As you can see it's important to log out as fast as possible after the job is done, and as the missions get tougher, the margin for error gets smaller and smaller. After successful completion of the mission it's important to break the chain of logs left behind by your actions. If you can do this you're home safe, and ready to take on another mission.
The problem with this game is that the mission you get are very repetitive. After solving quite a few missions where you break in at firm A and stolen file B, you feel finished with this kind of activity. Then you go on to break into the International Academic Database to change the grades of some guy. After a few times this too becomes routine. To last until you reach the highest rank in the game you need extraordinary patience, something I believe few of the gamers out there possess. Still, the missions are there, and if you feel like logging in and taking a few missions every now and then this is a game that'll last for months.
Under the surface
Since Introversion has put so much effort into not limiting the game world, the whish of a MMORPG-version has arisen. The developers are on this account shrouded in secrecy, but they have admitted that the game universe is made for just this sort of version. With a relatively large fan base, we should not discount the possibility of such a game being released in the future.
I addition to there being no other such game available today, Uplink is unique in only being available online. The game can only be bought on Introversions homepages. The developers packs and ships the games themselves, and you can count on about a week's delivery time to Norway. Buying it online might seem a like a hard way to do it, but it also has a very nice advantage: the game is cheap. Bought and shipped the price was a mere 27.99€, about NKr 215,-
Uplink is a trademark of Introversion Software