Apollo was one of the first third party companies to make games for the 2600 (only being beaten to the punch by Activision). And although Apollo may not be known as one of the better third-party companies, they’re far from the worst. Many of their games were fun, if a bit on the simplistic side. Infiltrate falls squarely into this category, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The goal of Infiltrate is to move your secret agent (who oddly appears to have a top hat) along each level of the ‘top secret fortress’ and retrieve the stolen documents that appear at the top and bottom of the screen (which oddly look like a tall multi-colored pole). Frustrating your infiltration are two robot assassins (which oddly look like McDonalds Fry Guys) who will chase you around each level, trying to touch and/or shoot you. If either assassin shoots or catches your agent, you will lose a life. Thankfully your agent is armed with a shiny new laser pistol which he can use to blast an assassin to bits. Once an assassin is destroyed it will immediately appear in another part of the fortress so be careful. In addition to shooting assassins, you can duck their shots by pulling down on the joystick. This becomes essential at the higher difficulties as the assassins have an unlimited range with their shots.
The fortress is made up of six levels and six piston looking elevators. To move up and down to another level your agent must ride these elevators while avoiding being captured. Unfortunately for you, the assassins can use these elevators too to move around the complex. Most elevators can move you up one or two floors, but some only go up one so choose carefully. Once you retrieve the document on either the top or the bottom of the screen, it will reappear on the opposite floor forcing you to traverse the entire fortress to get to it.
Beyond the standard speed and intelligence
options for the assassins, Infiltrate offers an interesting
‘invisible assassin’ variation. In this variation the
assassins are completely invisible except when they are riding
the elevators. Although it might seem difficult at first,
this is actually one of the best ways to play and adds some
longevity to an otherwise simple game. A two player
variant is also available, but each player takes alternating
turns rather than playing simultaneously.
Infiltrate is a fun game, but due to the simplistic nature of the gameplay it can get boring quickly. Even at the higher difficulties (invisible assassins aside) the game tends to be a bit on the easier side. The game also has some odd graphical glitches which causes your character to distort a bit when riding up and down the elevators and occasionally the screen seems to jump a bit. Although this doesn’t hurt the gameplay, it makes the game seem much less polished than the efforts that were being put out by companies like Activision and Imagic. Still, Infiltrate is one of the better games that Apollo put out, so put on your secret agent top hat, grab your gun, and ride those elevators. Just watch out for the fry guys.