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Private Eye by Activision: Tips, Tricks, Hints, and Strategies

The minimum score required in Private Eye by Activision for the Atari 2600 to earn a patch was: Complete Game 3. The best advice in Private Eye is to read the manual, so that you know all of the nuances of the game. The manual gives some really good tips. Make sure both difficulty switches are set to A. Difficulty A in the game of Private Eye actually makes things a bit easier. The car moves faster, and you can control the height of your jumps, making them lower to save time and avoid potential collisions. Activision Private Eye was designed by Bob Whitehead.

Private Eye is a hide and seek style of game that offers you more than you would normally expect. The sleuth “Pierre Touche” and the thief “Henri Le Fiend” are the main stars of all this action. And you are the one that’s in charge of Touche’s successful performance.

The controls are much the same as any normal four way controlled game. Up, down, left, right, and the button to jump. The A/B difficulty buttons control the speed of the car and the level of height your player jumps when the button is pushed, one being static (B) and the other being dynamic (A). If you hold the stick to either direction left or right, the “1935 Model A” car will go faster. When the stick is released, it will go slower. There are five difficulty “levels or cases” from which you can choose. Each higher numbered case has a harder level of difficulty for you to complete, and is more complex in its number of tasks. Each case has a set amount of time to complete all objectives.

The first case being the easiest at three minutes to complete, and the hardest case, number 5, being twenty minutes. Each case has a theme of what that case is about. Be well informed on what the end goal is to finish that case by reading the manual to be more thorough and on time. It is ideal to make maps of where the objects of interest, buildings, and destinations are while advancing in the game. It is important to know where and when to take an “alley way” or a “short cut”. This is to reduce the amount of time that it takes you to get to those specific items for completing the case.

Normally there are solid colored “roadblocks” that you can jump over, but then there are specially placed striped barricades “detours” that you cannot jump over. That means it’s time to turn around and find another path to acquire the needed item.

You start the “game” or “case” at the police station with 1000 merit points. The case that you select appears above the timer that is allocated for each case. Each item that you need to find appears on the upper right side. You gain “merits” by finding the items that are stolen and for each person of interest that is secured. You will lose points if you are hit by any of the obstacles or enemies, such as flying birds, potholes, falling bricks, and flower pots. So avoid them at all costs.

All of the stolen items and evidence from each case must be found and returned to the rightful owner for inspection at their place of business. Once all the items are returned properly, only then can you capture “Le Fiend” and book him into jail at the police headquarters.


Here are maps of all of the 5 cases in Private Eye and one possible solution for each case:

Case 1 Safecracker Suite

There are only two alleys and no dead ends. Get all questionable characters for a perfect score.
1. Get the Gun. Return it to the Gun Shop. (use Alley B for fastest time)
2. Get the Money Bag. Return it to the Bank. (use Alley A for fastest time)
3. Get Le Fiend in the forest and return to HQ (use Alley B for fastest time)


Case 2 Closed on Mondays

This case has a very strict time limit of only 2 minutes. You must use the alley twice due to the time restraint. Get all questionable characters for a perfect score. All of your timing, steering, and jumps must be perfect or you will run out of time at the end.
1. Get the Vase (start out going to the right)
2. Use Alley D to get to the Museum to return the Vase.
3. Pick up the Button on next screen.
4. Return the Button to the Tailor shop using Alley D.
5. Get Le Fiend only two screens to the left.
6. Go back to HQ to complete the case.


Case 3 Dealing in Diamonds

Case 3 can be just as tough as case 2 if you aren’t careful. It has a short timer too. This is also your first taste of ONE WAY alleys. The main problem here is the city layout. The Gem store is on a side-street. The city is about twice as big as in the first two cases.
1. Get the Necklace (Use Alley C to get there quickly. Come back to Alley E.)
2. Use Alley E and Alley G to return the Necklace to the Gem store.
3. Get the Comb (Use Alley H to save some time.)
4. Return the Comb to the Hair Salon (Use Alley B and Alley D save some time.)
5. Get Le Fiend in the forest (Use Alley H and Alley B to save some time.)
6. Take Le Fiend to HQ (Use Alley H and Alley B.)


Case 4 Rare Stamp Roulette

Now the city layout is the real obstacle and the enemies are tougher to avoid like the dagger throwers! Time is not as much of a problem in this case, by you cannot dawdle. There are many one-way alleys and dead ends to waste time and expose you to additional unnecessary dangers.  The city is much larger. Luckily, you won’t even have to go into a quarter of the city if you map it the best way.
1. Start out going right and use Alley A.
2. Get the Shoe (Alley C, Alley T, and Alley Q will save some time.)
3. Return Shoe to the Shoe Store (Use the one-way Alley AA on street 4. It seems out of the way, but will actually save you some time.)
4. Get the Stamp and return it to the Stamp Store (Use Alley A to save some time). This is a tough part with lots of dagger throwers.
5. Get Le Fiend and take him to HQ. Use this sequence — Alley P to Alley V. Alley Q and Alley T save some time. Alley V to Alley W. Alley W to Alley Z. Alley Z to Alley DD. Alley DD to Le Fiend. Once captured just retrace your steps to Street 4. Use Alley AA to get back to Street 1. Take Le Fiend to HQ. Alley A will save some time.


Case 5 The Big Sweep


This is simply all 4 pervious cases combined and the map is linked together. You will be familiar with the city layout. There are lots of Dagger Throwers to contend with and time can be a factor. Not many people have successfully completed this case. It was once thought that it could not be done, but that has been proven otherwise by 2 Super Sleuths.

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