£9.99 cass/£14.99 disk
Reviewer: Jackie Ryan, Matt Bielby
Jackie: Well, I wanted to do this and Matt wanted to do this so we had a bit of a fight and it ended up with us both doing it. Ho hum.
Matt: It's not that surprising really - The Untouchables is an absolute corker of a game. In fact, it might even be the best Speccy game anyone's released this year!!
Jackie: Now don't get carried away, Matt. It is good though - and so it should be! Every time I've been up at Ocean this year it's been adding this bit here and perfecting that bit there! I can't quite believe it's finished!
Anyway, it's a six level, five load arcade adventure based very closely on various original scenes. The packaging will sort of explain that, but you'll be better off having seen the movie or you'll find yourself a bit lost.
Matt: It's not as simple as that though. They've added a few strategy elements as well just to complicate things. For instance, instead of playing just one character, you play four different ones at once. Eh? How can that work then? Well, the thing is, you've got all the main characters from the movie (Elliot Ness, the Sean Connery character Malone, the Italian sharpshooter Stone, and the toad-like accountant bloke) and can switch between them at any time. A couple of them you'll have to keep alive at all costs or you won't be able to finish the game, but the other two poor chaps are expendable, so if you're in a tricky spot and losing a lot of energy fast make sure it's from one that you don't need! The game doesn't tell you which ones are expendable, but if you've seen the film you should get a good idea.
Jackie: But enough of all that. Let's look at the individual levels and see how they work...
Level One THE WAREHOUSE
Jackie: This is based on the movi's opening scenes. It's an eight way scrolling platform and ladders jump-about. The play area is fairly large - about three screens tall by eight or so wide - and is packed with hoodlums leaping and bounding and shooting all over the place. You play Ness in this one, and it's your task to catch up with the ten mob accountants you'll find lurking around the place and collect evidence off them. You'll spot them easily enough. Not only do they skulk around looking suspicious in long coats, but the computer provides a handy arrow that points out where the next one's lurking! They're the only ones who don't take pot shots at you too 'cos throughout this level the air is literally heavy with lead!
Matt: This really is a very smooth and playable level. Look out for violin cases. They contain extra weapons (shotgun, machine gun and more ammo). Check out the bottom of the screen - you've not collected much evidence have you, and the little picture changing from Ness to Al Capone (indicating your life running out) is nearly in full Capone mode (in other words, nearly dead). Must be because Jackie's playing it! (Slap!) Ouch.
Level Two THE BRIDGE
Matt: This is a different pot of pickled herrings altogether. In fact it probably qualifies as Ocean's third variation on the Op Wolf theme this Christmas. You can see yourself at the bottom of the screen - you're the one rolling around on the floor at the bottom. getting your coat all dirty. There is a point to this though. You're faced with a wall of trucks and hoodlums swarming all over them! The scene is about three screens wide, and you must roll around, trying to take as few shots as possible, at the same time as shooting out the liquor kegs scattered about. You get half a bottle for each one you hit but since you need to make up 32 bottles (if I remember right) it does take some doing.
Jackie: The way you see where you're shooting is interesting. Instead of having a crosshairs on the screen you see through the little binocular shape at the bottom, so you have to keep flicking your eyes from there to the main screen.
Level Three THE ALLEYWAY
Matt: This one's a bit Op Wolf-ish too. That's you on the right of the picture - you're equipped with a double barrelled shotgun and have to pop out into the open (where you're vulnerable), take your shots then nip back again to reload. Of course, the alleys are absolutely jam-packed with Capone's henchmen - leaning out of the windows and so on - which can cause a few problems. You're collecting liquor again by the way, which you get if you bag any bad buys.
Jackie: Oh dear. Matt didn't explain that very well did he? He started in the middle again. What he forgot to mention is why you're in the alleys in the first place. You're on your way to the train station where you're trying to catch Capone's main accountant before he flees the country. There are six similar screens to work your way through before you reach it. There. Why didn't you tell 'em that. Matt? Slap! (Whimper.)
Level Four THE RAILWAY STATION
Jackie: Yo! This is the best bit, no doubt about it! Check out the bottom of the screen. There are two power doobries down there. Why's that, d'you suppose? Well, it's because they're doing the old 'you play two characters at once' trick again of course (well, sort of). Only this time one of them's a baby! So you've got two lives to keep an eye on here. That's the pram in the middle of the screen. What's happening is that it's rattling down the long, long staircase to the train station while you run up, down and round about it, shooting all the baddies that're bouncing about all over the place. Extra energy icons appear which you can either grab yourself or push the baby over to keep him alive too.
Matt: It may seem a little sick having a game where not only is a baby caught in a crossfire of bullets but it's used as a shield to protect your own life with, and it probably is (a bit). But other than that this section is blooming ace - the best bit from the film and, rather fittingly, the best bit in the game.
Level Five THE TRAIN PLATFORM
Matt: This is a mini-level with a very tight time limit. One of Capone's men has got the escaping accountant chappie and is about to blow him away to stop him testifying. (The poor dear!) And you've only got one chance to stop him! Basically, you need to position the barrel of your gun over his head (his body won't do) and fire.
Jackie: Yuck! This is a little too bloodthirsty for my liking. Where's the conclusion bit?
Jackie: Ah, here it is! We're at the end of the game. Well, sort of. I, um, didn't manage to get that far, but apparently you've got to shoot this guy off a rooftop with your six shooter pistol, nipping behind a wall and reloading every so often (rather like Level Three, in fact). You'll have to get him four times to push him back, but all the time he'll be taking pot shots at you, shoving you backwards! It's a bit like a tug of war.
Matt: And that's it! What a little cracker of a game. Everything is as smooth and polished as you can get on a Speccy, and it's jam-packed full of things to do. The monochrome blue graphics are very nice and clear the animation is top notch and to cap it off the 30's style music is very atmospheric. All in all, very playable indeed. A hit!
Old games never die. They just sit around for years doing nothing, then come back in a smaller box. JON PILLAR inspects...
The Hit Squad
Reviewer: Jon Pillar
The game of the film of the series of the book of the period I never got to do in History pits you against countless gangsters over six meaty levels (four Op Wolf variants, a vertical scroller and a platform jobbie). The idea is to blast away at loads of minions and close in on Al Capone. Graphics throughout are splendidly detailed and atmospheric (although the hyperactive jumping gangsters of Level One do jar a bit) and the gameplay reflects all those months of design and tweaking that went into it. The bit when you're blazing away with a shotgun in Level Three and have to keep ducking out of the way to reload is great stuff!
It isn't all manic action and gratuitous violence though. Well, yes it is, but you've also got to remember to grab the vital evidence as you go - in Level Four you've got to protect a baby in a runaway pram as well. So it's a good job you can swop to another Untouchable if one's feeling a bit under the weather.
As regards special features, 128K owners get ragtime tunes to tap their feet to, while 48Kers benefit from not having to load another level until they've finished the present one.
All told, this is one heck of a barg. It's big, slick and addictive, so snap it up and go deal out some justice - the Chicago way.
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