Secret Agent HD – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle Platformer
Developer: Emberheart Games
Publisher: Apogee Entertainment
Platform: PC, Linux
Tested on: PC

Secret Agent HD – Review

Site Score
Good: Still very good level design with fun puzzles
Bad: Getting stuck end-level with trail-and-error feels outdated
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

There are plenty of games from our childhood that left some type of residue. A vague notion of something we used to marvel at, looking at rows of pixels or perhaps some early 3D models depending on how old you are by now. Secret Agent is definitely one of those games that is old enough to originally be released on a floppy disk. It’s a game from when Apogee (Rise of the Triad, Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior) ruled a part of the game market with good games. In 2020 they released Crystal Caverns HD, and now it’s Secret Agent’s to be revived.


In Secret Agent HD you play as 006. While the game doesn’t explain much with text or cutscenes, you will get the gist of it as you play further along. Basically, each level tells the story of you trying to sabotage an organization by blowing up a satellite dish after which you need to use dynamite to blow open the door to your escape. Secret Agent HD offers all episodes of the original game, where in the first two your eventual goal is to steal a blueprint for a superweapon. While there isn’t much story besides this, Secret Agent HD also offers a level editor with the option to add a short story/level description for those who will play your level. This is a nice little addition that definitely adds something new to the old-school nostalgia, making it more than “just another HD remake”.


One of the reasons why Apogee did so well back in the day is that the company had its own unique style. Especially in short pixel art animations, the graphics generally had something gritty in them, with high contrast explosions and such. While Secret Agent HD is more of an all-ages-appropriate game, the style from the past is still very recognizable. The enemies feel unique, as well as the traps and most of the buildings. Stuff such as enemies with five lives, that change into something else with every life they lose, perhaps doesn’t make much sense, but it’s definitely unique and recognizable through the ages. In that aspect, Secret Agent HD survived the test of time.


The sound effects are just the simple bleeps and bloops that you would expect from an old game like this. There’s not much to say about it except that they still sound the same as in the past, made with minimalistic technology. The music is way more interesting though because Secret Agent HD actually has what’s essentially a whole soundtrack album. Every level sounds like it has its own background music, and while they are not the most memorable melodies, they do add something special to each level. One track can be more of a thriller, or perhaps a reference to the James Bond theme(s), while the other is quite upbeat.


The gameplay in Secret Agent HD is as straightforward as you can have it, but it does also have a few extra twists. The game offers platforming as well as puzzle gameplay, where you need to find your way to generally destroy a satellite dish, disable lasers, and find the exit. To disable the lasers you need to find a floppy disk and insert it into a computer though, and to blow up the exit you first need to find the dynamite in a level. You’ll have to do all of this while there are multiple doors that require keys in the matching color to unlock them. While doing all of these things, you can try to pick up all the extra items, shoot all the enemies, and finish the game in the best way possible. The extra twists this game has are i.e. the letters S, P, and Y that you should try to pick up in that order to get the most points. This is somewhat the ‘arcade’ gameplay that many modern platform games are missing.

In all these ways, the game still works quite well. The puzzles are nice and rewarding to finish, the level layout is well made, and that this HD version has a level editor just adds to the fun. The only issue that makes the game feel slightly outdated is that you can easily get stuck with trial-and-error types of puzzles. The latter may even force you to restart the level, as you can literally get stuck by doing the ‘wrong’ thing. By our modern standards, this design type is often avoided. Luckily, the levels only take roughly five to ten minutes.


Secret Agent is still very relevant it seems, as Secret Agent HD still has the puzzles, gameplay, graphics, and sound that make it recognizable and fun enough to play. The fact that there’s a level editor added just makes the game worth its current price tag. We very much enjoyed this blast of the past, despite the tiny ”design flaw” that you will sometimes need to restart the level when you get stuck in a puzzle.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Secret Agent HD - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

I'm a game designer, developer, and reviewer. I've been reviewing for since 2017.

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