Beverly Hills Cop (the film, that is) is so old now I reckon Eddie Murphy must have been wearing flares at the time. Then again, I'm wearing flares (they're the height of fashion these days, y'know), so who's complaining?
Actually, somebody will be complaining, and unfortunately it might be you, because BHC isn't really all that good. As with most film tie-ins, it's very tricky trying to come up with something that both works as a game and bears a reasonable resemblance to the film in question - especially when it's a blooming comedy! At least with The Untouchables, Robocop and Batman there were loads of action sequences which were important parts of the film, and so lent themselves to shoot-'em-up type game sequences - in Beverly Hills Cop there were action sequences alright, but who can remember them? No, it's Eddie Murphy's laugh that counted, and how do you reproduce that on a Speccy? This is a classic case of 'attempting too much and so completely naffing everything up in the process'.
You play Eddie's character Axel Foley, a cop in, yup you guessed it, Beverly Hills. Load up the game and a digitised play of his face greets you with a beepy rendition of that curt classic, Axel F (which is really rather good, especially on the 128 version). You can then practice either of the four sub-games, or play the whole thing together as one.
In the first you get to strut your funky firepower in a warehouse. One day, whilst quietly strolling home from a hard day's work at the office, you accidently take a wrong turn and end up by the supposedly disused building where you notice two or three people innocently clambering into a van. Luckily you're pretty quick on the uptake, and conclude that these people are, in fact, working for the notorious Mr Big and are pulling off a major arms scandal! The background scrolls nicely as you walk through the warehouse killing anyone who gets in your way and attempting to reach the dispatch bay to prevent any more shipments leaving. Unfortunately though, everyone is less than helpful, shooting at you from all directions. Pieces of killer cheese also roll towards you, as well as exploding sticks of rhubarb which fly at your head. (Are you sure about this? Ed) Well. that's what it looks like.
This bit of the game is really a tad boring due to the lack of variety in the background and the gameplay. There're also a lot of annoying gripes, like the fact that it's all too easy to become trapped between the baddies and die, but the real problem is 'who remembers this bit from the film?' Not me - wasn't Eddie hanging off the back of a truck for the first ten minutes instead?
In the next game you're on your way home after successfully killing everyone in sight when you catch a glimpse of three vans in the distance. Realising that they're crammed to the brim with weapons, you put your foot full-down on the accelerator and speed off to stop them. Basically this all boils down to an excuse for a car chase, although not a particularly inspiring one. The five minutes in which you have to catch up with, and stop, the vans is far too long and lacking in action. You can't crash into any of the few roadside objects and there are no other vehicles or anything to drive around - or into. In fact, crashing into the vans is far more effective than shooting at them, which is what you're meant to do!
As a driving game, it's not much cop (if you'll excuse the expression) 'cos there isn't really enough to do. Mind you, it has got its good points - the scrolling's quite good and fast, but with a little more thought it would have been much better. (It still wasn't in the film though.)
And so onto the third game. Here you're trying to find your way to Mr Big's mansion. Fortunately, a passing taxi driver lets you into the whereabouts of the hide-out (so it can't really be that much of a secret, can it?) and off you trundle into his grounds. On arrival, you discover that his garden is actually a large maze, heavily guarded by lots more of his heinous minions. This level is severely crap, and and once you've worked out the correct route to take you'll have no probs completing it. The screen scrolls along in awful great jumps and the men are really easy to bump off. But it does have one saving grace! I can actually remember this bit from the film (more or less)!
And in the last game, well, you get completely lost scuttling around the mansion. Arriving at Big's front door, you find a note informing you that he's planning to blow up his house, with everybody in it including an innocent hostage. Concluding that he has gone completely mad, you smartly decide the only solution is to kill him, rescue the hostage and escape before the bomb goes off. You charge around the building, everything viewed from the front, while baddies leap out at you from all directions, your best bet being to position your cursor on their heads and fire. I have to admit, this bits in the film too. It's also quite good - very fast and packed with more action than the rest put together. Hurrah!
So, seeing how the movie was so good Beverly Hills Cop is a bit of a let-down. On the plus side, you've got four very different games here, catering for a variety of tastes, and linked together quite well. On the minus, it's all got that very rushed, unfinished 'budgety' feel to it (even though it can't have been rushed, because they've been harping on about it for ages). But, worst of all, there's simply too much of it that has zilcho to do with the film. What a disappointment.
I haven't seen such a poor conversion in a very long time. It's as atmospheric as a vacuum and funny in all the wrong places.
There are four stages, each loosely representing some action in the film. The first; the warehouse level is a pale imitation of stage 1 in the Untouchables. Eddie waddles around like a plank using apparently inexhaustable supply of bullets to plug hundreds of baddies. Once you've guided Eddie to the right hand side of the screen, you progress to the next level.
Stage two is a road chase in the Outrun mould. Pursuing the trucks laden with arms from the warehouse, you've got to stop them from reaching Bruno Bardolino's mansion (why he's no longer called Victor Maitland I don't know).
The mechanics of this section are quite good; the 3D road shifts at a respectable speed and you've got reasonably precise control over the car you're driving. The bad guys sling boxes of ammo out of the back of the trucks. Should you run them over, a devastatingly terrifying 'Splat' flashes onto the screen. I guess Tyne Soft have suffered at the hands of a restrictive contract prohibiting Axel Foley from being killed or blown up.
Stage 3 (Storming the mansion) is a migraine-inducingly tedious maze-cum shoot-out. Remember Outlaw, the prehistoric cowboy shoot-out involving two cowboys and some badly drawn cactii? Well this stage has strong similarities. Although viewed top-down, the objects are viewed from the side. This tell whether large expanses of stone are walls or pavement. The crooks are littered around the grounds of the mansion and take apathetic pot-shots at you.
Stage 4 is a 3D maze game inside the mansion. You've got to track down a hostage, shoot some more crooks and finally nick Mr Big. Considering the movie came out about five years ago, the wait for the game really hasn't been worth it.
Label: Tyne Soft
Author: Subway Software
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
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