This game, unusually and (IMO) rather annoyingly for an Infocom game, is played in real time. As the introduction says, you can use the pause command to pause the clock; you can also switch between fast and slow modes.
Chapter One: The Train
After the American agent pins the carnation on your jacket, take note of the code phrase he says your contact will use and the response you should give. Look them both up in your phrasebook (part of the game feelies) and write down the Frobnian phrases. You need to be sure you hear the exact right one, and you do not have time to look up the response at the point when you need to use it.
Remove carnation, then drop everything and go into the corridor. Go south and west to the lavatory. Get the towel, turn on the water, and wet the towel. Turn off the water again. Go east, north and west back to your compartment. Clean the blood with the towel. Examine the bag. Get the camera and photograph the document. Rewind the film, open the camera, and get the color film. Get the old film, put it in the camera and close it. Get the carnation and document. Put the carnation and color film in the bag. Drop the camera. Open the window. Throw the document and then the towel out of the window.
Wait until the man in a trench coat whom you saw earlier arrives in your compartment (17:35). Tell him no when he asks if you've seen anyone. Wait some more until he returns with guards (17:45). They will search your compartment and confiscate the dummy roll of film in the camera, but ignore the carnation and color film in the bag.
After they leave, get the carnation and film and go east, south, and south. On the platform, wear the carnation. Start walking north. Wait until you hear the exact phrase you were told at the start of the game. Say the response phrase, then give the film to the contact. Type continue to go on to Chapter Two.
Chapter Two: The Border
In this chapter, you are the American agent who gave you the document and jumped off the train in the last chapter. Tear clothes and tie scrap around left arm. Go east three times and then enter the swamp. Go north, west, northeast, west, and north. Wait. When the game moves you west because you were afraid to be seen, simply go back to the clearing. Wait until the car leaves.
Go east to the door, then north. Look through the window until the man leaves the clearing, "continuing to the northeast and out of sight." Go east, open the door, enter the hut, and close the door. Get the work shoes and oil. Oil the hinges on the door. Wait a couple of turns until you warm up, then leave the hut. Go northwest and watch through the window again. Wait until the owner returns, drops some wood near his stove, and sits in his chair. Go southeast and open the door again. Go in, get the parka, and immediately leave. Wear the parka.
Go northwest, west, and northwest. Enter the shed. Examine the tools. Get the bolt cutter and rubber gloves. Remove your shoes and wear the work shoes. Leave the shed. Go north and northeast to Border Zone, Center. Save the game. Watch lights and a display of them will appear on the status line.
Type N but don't press Enter. Watch the east light. When it is pointing SSE, hit Enter. You should make it to the fence because none of the lights will be pointing at you. Watch guards and you will see the guards moving between their posts. You can only perform actions when both guards are at least halfway between you and the outside posts. You can wait for specific amounts of time (e.g. wait 30 seconds) to speed up the action.
When the guards are in the proper position, wear the rubber gloves, cut the fence with the cutters, and bend the fence. At this point you'll probably have to wait for the guards to make their round-trip back to the mid-way point going away from you to go north twice. Remove the cap from the pen, push the button three times, and replace the cap. Put the pen on the northwest post. Save again. Wait until the timer reads 2:15. Knock on the door and then trip the guard. Get off the brace and enter the tower. Close the door and lock it. Now all you have to do is wait a few seconds for the explosion, and your part of the tower will end up across the border.
Chapter 3: The Assassination
Go south four times, west to Riznik's Antiques, and south into the store. (If there is another customer in the store, return north and wait until he leaves.) Go south again. Riznik will tell you the assassination is going to take place at noon when the Ambassador is speaking to the crowd. He will also tell you the password to get near the sniper.
Go west out of the store, north, east twice, and north. Look at the windows surrounding the square and make note of the locations of the open windows in the apartment building to the east. Go west, north, and west into the lobby of the apartment building. Look at the directory. The only empty apartment that could be in the same position as an open window is 3D, so that must be where the assassin is. Go east out of the building and south twice to the Café.
Yell at Topaz to attract his attention, then go north to the cart. Upset the cart, then go west into the alley. Get the can and put it under the fire escape. Get on the can, then climb the ladder three times. Go into the building and north twice. Drop the matches, then knock on the east door. Say "Riznik" and the assassin will let you in. Stand behind the door and wait a turn or two. After Topaz kills the assassin, hit him with your gun. Congratulations! You have completed the assignment, and your double identity is safe.
For further entertainment, you may be interested in:
Lists of bugs in Border Zone: Nathan Simpson , Graeme Cree , XyzzyNews
Posts about this game at The Digital Antiquarian and SPAG
Source code , and for Checkpoint , an incomplete and unreleased game that is not directly related, though it had a similar theme and the same working title of "Spy"
Last updated 4/29/2021