SEGA Master System
Spy Vs Spy

The American satirical comic strip from MAD Magazine featuring Heckel, the white spy and Jackel, the black spy, is transformed into a computer game of strategy and sophistication. The two spies lock in a humorous rivalry staking their lives on destroying one another.

Originally released by First Star Software for the Commodore 64, Spy Vs Spy was ported to many platforms throughout the 80's including the NES, ZX Spectrum and Amiga. It is one of the first games to utilise the concept of split-screen simultaneous play.

Generally regarded as a classic game from the era, after many years the game and concept was revisited for Xbox and PS2.

Players who can perform like a real master spy showing creativeness and imagination will prosper.

Spy Vs Spy European Case Cartridge


You play as either Jackel or Heckel. Your mission is to collect 5 essential but hidden items and make your way to the airport and escape. The first spy to escape wins.

The other spy will be doing exactly the same. You can prevent him succeeding by means of setting booby traps (for which there are also counter devices) and good old fashioned physical violence.

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The game can be played as either a single player against the CPU or in a 2-Player Vs Mode.

The items you need to collect will be hidden in various items of furniture such as inside sets of drawers or behind framed pictures.

The items needed are:

Spy Vs Spy Winning Items






key Key
Confidential Documents

Confidential Documents

Initially, a spy can only hold 1 of these items at a time. When in possession of an item it will appear next to the spy on the screen and flash in the status window. You can carry this item around or hide it again.

If an item is displayed in the status window and NOT flashing it means you have located it but do not posses it. To carry all of the items (and therefore win the game) you must posses the carry bag.

Options are set on a per game basis. These are:

Game Options

Game Options

Options are set per game. These are:

Number of Players - 1 Player vs CPU or 2 Players

Rounds - Which round to play at. The higher the number the larger and more complex the area. There will also be a higher time limit.

Computer Level - Selects the difficulty (for 1 player games only).

1 = Computer does not attempt to trap you.
2 = Computer releases your traps.
3 = Computer sets traps and releases your traps.

and using kicks and punches:

1 = Weak.
2 = Strong.
3 = Stronger.

Hide Airport Till End - Toggle whether the airport is visible only when you have all 5 items.

Both spies' actions are shown on screen simultaneously. This allows you to plan strategy by watching the other spy.

Spy Action
Spy Vs Spy Spy Vs Spy

Timer - How much time is remaining to complete the round. With 1 minute remaining the alarm will begin to flash. Upon a time-out both spies die and the game is over.

Trapulator - What booby trap devices can be used against the other spy. More detail follows.

Items Collected (monitor) - Which items you are carrying.

The controls for the game are fixed. They are:

The D-Pad moves your spy about the rooms. All directions are used.

Button 1 activates the Trapulator. A cursor will be visible for selecting a booby trap device.

Button 2 moves/checks furniture and set a places items and a selected trap.

In hand to hand combat:

Button 1 is KICK

Button 2 is PUNCH

The Trapulator and Devices

Pressing Button 1 activates the Trapulator. Use the D-Pad to select which device to use and Button 2 to set. The Trapulator can not be used when the opposing spy is in the same room.

To set a trap move in front of the object you wish to booby trap and press Button 2. The use of the Time bomb is slightly different in that it can be placed anywhere in the room.

Beware that you can also fall victim your own traps.

Booby traps can be countered with other items found in the rooms. The following table describes them.

Spy Vs Spy Items




Time Bomb


Behind anything but doors

White bucket with water in firebox on left side wall



Behind anything but doors

Pliers in white toolbox on right side wall


Electric Bucket

Beside closed doors

Umbrella found on coat rack

Machine Gun

Machine Gun
(triggered when door is opened)

Beside closed doors

Scissors in first aid kit on the wall


Time Bomb
(explodes within 15 seconds)

Anywhere in a room

Nothing! Escape from the room!



Protective/Counter items can be used as often as you desire, however, pressing D-Pad LEFT will erase the item. (Manual Quote)



Map Screen

Selecting the bottom-right item in the Trapulator is the location map and rather essential in the larger areas.

*Map key*

X = Rooms where items are hidden.
Red = Rooms where a spy has not entered.
Yellow = Rooms where a spy has been.
Blinking Yellow = Room where are spy is currently lurking.

Inevitably spies will encounter each other. For this eventually both are adept in the art of hand to hand combat. A spy can usually take about 8 hits before being killed. You can not set traps when the other spy is in the same room as you are.

You can restore your spy's energy by leaving the room. There is no on screen display of how much energy your spy actually has.

When a spy is downed, all the items they have collected are hidden in that room. The other player (if the opportunist type) can then go and retrieve them. This can be quite irritating when you have all items in the bag next to the airport.

The spy who has died suffers a delay (and loss in time limit) before being able to return to the game. You can fight the other spy as many times as you like during a game.

There are a total of 8 Rounds in the game. Round 1 is the simplest whereas Round 8 is the most complex and has many rooms with multiple floors and more than 1 airport.

A game ends when time is up (resulting in death) or when the other guy has captured the essential items first and escaped.


Spy Vs Spy Screenshots (Cartridge Version)
Spy Vs Spy Spy Vs Spy
Spy Vs Spy Spy Vs Spy
Spy Vs Spy Spy Vs Spy

Updates and Sequels

This game was also released on a MyCard for the Master System.

For more information about the cards, see the Master System Main Area.

A version was also released on the Nintendo NES. This version has less impressive graphics.

The game also goes by the title "MAD Magazine's Official Spy vs. Spy".

There were 2 sequels produced; Spy Vs Spy 2: The Island Caper and Spy Vs Spy 3: Arctic Antics. These were ported to numerous platforms but not the Master System.

The remake of Spy Vs Spy was released in 2005 made by Vicious Circle. It is a budget title released for Xbox and PS2.

It is still easy to find on Ebay.

Spy Vs Spy Xbox Screenshots
Spy Vs Spy (XBox) Spy Vs Spy (XBox)
Spy Vs Spy (XBox) Spy Vs Spy (XBox)


Perfect! This game can be played with the Dega or KEGA Fusion Emulators which can be downloaded from the Master System Emulators page.


Play Spy Vs Spy Online

It is possible to play the game (plus many others) inside your browser!

Master System Version ROM

Link to Download the Master System version of the game and others such as Commodore and NES.

Review of the Latest Version for Xbox

Spy Vs Spy at Wiki

Lots of information about the original Comic Book series as well.

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