Covert Action was a new Sid Meier game from back in the early days and following the success of Microprose’s earlier Pirates game. The game was announced as a title coming soon for the Commodore 64 back in 1988 in Power Play magazine.
Wikipedia describes the game as follows based on its Amiga and PC releases which did make it:
“In the game the player takes the role of Maximillian Remington (or his female counterpart, Maxine), a skilled and deadly free agent hired by CIA , investigating on-going criminal and terrorist activities.
The gameplay is similar to the 1987 release Pirates! , by the same developer, Sid Meier , in that the gameplay is made up of several self-directed, distinct, and unique modes of play. The controls are relatively simple and uniform, and the sound and graphics, for the period, are widely considered at or above par.
During the course of a game, the player will be tasked with installing wiretaps, infiltrating enemy safehouses, intercepting and decoding secret messages and interrogating prisoners. The plots are uniformly without distinction, as is to be expected with randomly generated text-based plot elements. This allows for a less structured story to unfold, and enhances the game’s replayability. ”
From a web interview with Sid, it was found that Sid started the game, but stopped to work on Railroad Tycoon – started the game again but then stopped to do Civilization. It seems that maybe the C64 version was certainly being done or was to be done, but after being sidetracked on another project, when Sid came back Microprose may have already sidelined the C64 as a publishing platform. The game eventually got a release in 1991, by then I don’t think Microprose had any interest left in the C64.
However, it has been found that Sid took over programming duties from Roy Gibson, as Roy confirmed that he started a conversion – but found it way too ambitious for the machine and couldn’t get it to work. Sid then had a go, but it seems Railroad Tycoon got in the way, and that was that.
Sadly it seems that nothing will ever be found – as Roy confirms he has nothing of the game, and it is unlikely that Sid kept anything. We hope to hear from Sid soon though and get more details.
Do you know anything about this game?…
Contributions: Cybergoth, Roy Gibson
16/04/15 – Roy Gibson confirmed as one of the original coders.