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Spy vs. Spy was a game first published by First Star Software in 1984 for the Atari 8-bit family, Commodore 64 and Apple II computers. It was an innovative two-player, split-screen game, based on MAD Magazine's long running cartoon strip, Spy vs. Spy created by Antonio Prohías, about the slapstick antics of two spies trying to kill each other with improbably complex and elaborate traps and weapons.
It was later ported to a much wider range of platforms including the ZX Spectrum, Acorn Electron, Atari ST, BBC Micro, Commodore 16, MSX, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, Master System, Game Boy, Xbox, Game Boy Color and Nintendo Entertainment System, which was emulated on the Game Boy Advance. A remake with a retro version was also released on iOS in 2012.
Two sequels to the original 1984 game were produced. These were Spy vs. Spy - The Island Caper and Spy vs. Spy - Arctic Antics. The third game was also released for the IBM PC. These kept the basic gameplay, while tweaking some core features. Spy vs. Spy: The Island Caper (also known as Spy vs. Spy II: The Island Caper) introduced a side scrolling play area, which effectively allowed for a small number of very wide "rooms" (the action actually takes place outside, on a tropical island). It also introduced the idea of traps being built from the sticks and coconuts on the island, meaning that each spy no longer started with a fixed number of traps, but must compete to acquire the raw materials necessary to build their traps. Spy vs. Spy: Arctic Antics (also known as Spy vs. Spy III: Arctic Antics) was the third game in the series, and switched the location from a tropical island to the frozen wastes of the Arctic. The spies fought by means of throwing snowballs at each other and setting traps, which decreased their life bar. Tools the spies used included a saw which allowed a hole to be cut in the ice for the second player to fall into and lose health. Lost life could be restored by moving into an igloo with a heater inside.