Sly Spy, known in Japan as Secret Agent (シークレット・エージェント) and known in Europe as Sly Spy: Secret Agent, is an arcade game developed and published by Data East in 1989. After Data East became defunct due to their bankruptcy back in 2003, G-Mode bought the intellectual rights to the arcade game as well as most other Data East games and licenses them globally.
The plot resembles the James Bond series and takes place in the U.S.. During the beginning, the president and his wife wave at the crowd next to a limousine at the White House in Washington D.C., while terrorists (some flying in using jetpacks) approach the president and his wife armed and dangerous while the screen turns red and black. Later, a secret agent known as Sly Spy flies in a plane towards Washington D.C. to prevent the terrorists from infiltrating the city, and must also prevent a nuclear missile from launching.
Players control the secret agent name Sly Spy through nine different stages. Some stages have their own gameplay. In the first stage, players shoot enemies horizontally while sky-diving. The second, forth, sixth, seventh and ninth stages are played in a run and gun format similar to Namco's Rolling Thunder and its sequels, but it lacks the ability to jump between the top and bottom floors while grabbing rails. Also, when out of ammo or attacked by a boss with one hit, Sly Spy drops his firearm while the game becomes a beat'em up in 2D platform manner, much like Shinobi, or Data East's own Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja. Players can't make Sly Spy do punches, but can only make him do three different kicks: high kicks, low kicks and jump kicks. The third stage shows Sly Spy riding on his motorcycle with a built-in machine gun, which makes this stage a combination of run-and-gun and vehicular combat game formats, much like Moon Patrol. The fifth and eighth stages are in marine-based, side-scrolling shooter format. Minor enemies will drop several different items when defeated, such as extra ammo, cans of Coca-Cola-esque soda and machine guns. Sometimes enemies will drop a jetpack when on land or a DPV when underwater to make transportation easier.
James Bond references
Enemies also drop parts of the ultimate weapon in the game called the Golden Gun, which is based on the weapon of the same name from the novel and the film titled The Man with the Golden Gun; however, instead of shooting Golden Bullets like in the James Bond series, Sly Spy's version functions nearly the same way as the Cobra Gun in Data East's 1988 RoboCop arcade game and the Heavy Barrel energy cannon from the arcade game of the same name. It is also shaped like a rifle instead of a pistol; however, when the Golden Gun is equipped along with either the motorcycle or a DPV, their built-in firearms will shoot the same energy bolts shot from the Golden Gun itself.
Besides the protagonist and the Golden Gun being references of the James Bond series, several bosses and stages in the game are based on villains and settings in the James Bond series. The second boss is based on Jaws from the films titled The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, the third boss is based on Oddjob from the film titled Goldfinger, and the ninth and final stage is based on the launch base seen in the Moonraker film.
The game was ported to several home systems for personal use. Data East ported it to the Commodore C64 and released it in Europe and North America in 1989, while Ocean Software ported it to the Amiga (with completely different background music), Amstrad CPC, Atari ST and Sinclair ZX Spectrum in 1990 exclusively in Europe.
Several references from Data East's other arcade games made cameo appearances in Sly Spy. A poster showing Chelnov (a.k.a. Atomic Runner) can be seen at the beginning of Stage 4, the logo for the aforementioned Bad Dudes can be seen at the end of Stage 4, and a poster showing Karnov can be seen at the beginning of Stage 6. In the 1990 movie RoboCop 2, Officer Duffy gets pushed by RoboCop into a Bad Dudes Vs. DragonNinja arcade cabinet (also by Data East), but with Sly Spy, another Data East arcade game, built into it. Along with a few other Data East arcade games, they appeared in the film due to licensing and advertising agreements between Orion Pictures, Data East and Ocean Software after the release of two video games based on the RoboCop property.