In the absence of Ocean's soon-to-appear conversion of The Untouchables, US Gold, ever keen to jump on any passing bandwagons, have released their latest signing from Spanish Spectrum software supremos, Toposoft. Chicago 30's has one real claim to fame. It has a lot of realism and historically accurate features (fnar). Your character is a member of the Untouchables themselves. He wears a herringbone raincoat. He walks along dark and damp docks and alleyways. He drives a VW Beetle. He packs a pistol that caries infinite ammo. There are lots of bad guys hidden in barrels and things. These bad guys shoot at you. And you can't see the bullets.
Set over two sections, the first on foot and the second stage in your car (provided you can get far enough), you have to travel from left to right along a variety of screens, each set in a dark decaying area of 1930's Chicago, the first being a deserted dockyard. As the screen scrolls along, enemies in the form of Mafia thugs appear from all directions. The most popular place to make your debut appearance in a computer game is from the leftand right-hand edges of the screen, and thus they come. Dozens swarm on, all armed, and all willing to blow you away. More appear from inside barrels or from behind doors. Even more pop up from under manholes.
Now, with all those enemies running about, there are going to be a lot of bullets flying, and this is where the game really falls down. The backdrops are very detailed, with a lot of heavy shading. Even though, he said looking at a screen shot, the bullets are the size of footballs, it's very hard to spot them. If logic serves me right, if it's hard to spot them, it's equally hard to avoid them. Mr Unplayable comes to town.
You can fight back with your (t)rusty pistol, and what's more, you can fire in all eight directions, just by pressing fire and moving the joystick in that particular direction. The graphics are decent enough, though the backdrops are far too complicated for their own good. Scrolling is quite good and the animation is 'standard'. As with more and more games of late, it's monochrome too.
Chicago 30's could have been a very good game. As it stands, playability and visual problems aside, it isn't terrible. It just isn't great. Please put the baseball bat away, Mr Capone.
Label: US Gold
Price: £8.99 cass, £12.99 disc
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
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