The sweeping changes made by that nice Mr Major's government to the secret service should mean Floor 13 is now a bit of a historical curiosity. You see, we don't have secrecy in government any more. We certainly don't have hidden bodies controlling our destiny, according to Mr Major. We have defence of the realm and national security but not secrecy or conspiracy.
Floor 13, from dear old Virgin Games (didn't all of them go to Cambridge with Philby, Blunt and McClean?), does though. It forces you to become the unthinkable - a civil servant with less credibility than the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, a spymaster with more fingers in more pies than an octodigital Sainsbury's baker.
You are a minister without portfolio (officially). This means that you are assigned to a made-up ministry at the top of a tower somewhere in London. It is your task to ensure the integrity of this special country while making sure that the prime minister stays happy and retains the confidence of the electorate. Your power and influence are wide reaching; you can order kidnappings, frame-ups, even murders of anyone who your network of spooks, bobbies and narks are led to believe might compromise the gory that is the United Kingdom.
Yes, that's right, you are exactly that kind of well-mannered, public-school educated good chap that glories in seeing the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four and even the West Ham United 55,000 put behind bars for a few years - it looks great in the stats and keeps nice Mr Major/Smith/Gould/Ashdown/Porrit dead happy for weeks. However, thug-searching someone's apartment, arresting, interrogating and eventually killing their friends isn't all plain sailing.
You are deluged with information from all quarters about German terrorists entering the country, Oxbridge dons publishing books that might get up a few noses and sons of important could-be masons who might be drug-addicted filthy spies with possible homosexual tendencies (which, you would have thought, would have been a boon rather than a limitation in the world of security). But the prime minister and the rest of the Whitehall mandarins might not be too pleased if you arrest a friend of the family or are too obvious in your strong-arm tactics - this lowers the government's standing in they eyes of the public (if not the editorials of the tabloids).
So you have to use some finesse. This means negotiating the structure of the game itself. And this is where the going gets decidedly dull. As the world of Whitehall is considered by all but the saddest aspiring Sir Humphreys to be a grey, dull place, Virgin have decided to make the game match the environment. It's totally and utterly monochromatic.
You get to sit in your office waiting for communications to come in, examining records and generally gazing out of the window in a paper-clip bending, litter-bin basketball sort of way. To this extent the game bears a more than striking resemblance to the ancient and not very revered Yes Minister (again by Virgin).
Your forays out of the office entail visiting the various departments that fall under your control. These include the following, wonderfully cuddly options:
Removals - you get to send out hit squads to eliminate the less-than-acceptable members of society.
Heavy Assault - your informants have told you a certain restaurant might be a meeting place for subversives. So, quite simply, you send in some heavy types to kick the hell out of the place and arrest anyone in sight.
Pursuit - slightly more subtle in its effects, this just means that you follow a poor unsuspecting party around for a while instilling in them a sense of deep paranoia.
Disinformation - tell the papers what most of them want to hear - everything's going well except for those long-haired travelling folk or that intellectual who's stirring up trouble.
Search - if you have a squad pursuing some pinko-commie Nazi then why not send another squad around to ransack his )or her) house once you're sure that they're out?
Interrogation - once you've decided that a certain member of the public is a threat, pull them in for questioning. There are several levels to this - mist of which end up with the death of the suspect.
Infiltration - this is fun for training up your youngsters. Send them along to the nearest East End pub where the Revolutionary Reds Against Graham Taylor society is meeting and become part of the game. You can then shop them all afterwards.
Unfortunately the gameplay is not as exciting as these options. It's all about clicking on boxes and finding yourself with more boxes to click on, which in turn leave you with... The idea is great: intrigue and intelligence combined with off-screen violence and nasty dealings. It's just the way the whole things works that's so unsurprisingly dull and boring.
Brief respites from the clicking and keeping an eye on the records come in the form of visits to the PM's office. Every so often you are called up by nice Mr So 'n' So to be offered a knighthood and given lots of positive reinforcement (that's a management technique by the way) or he can give you a severe rollicking.
Get in too much trouble and you find yourself being pursued and removed from your office and the world in general. This only occurs when you return to your office at the end of a hard day's subversion. And that, as they say is that. It's intriguing for a few minutes and then dull, dull, dull.