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Topo Soft
1988
Arcade: Action
£8.99
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

25
Duncan MacDonald
Chris Bourne

"Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player." "Okay, bub, I guess I c'n letcha go. What's yer name by the way?" "Richard Clayderman, sir." "Oh dear, I'm going to have to shoot you after all." Bang.

Chicago in the thirties wasn't the place to be if you were a musician. (What are blithering on about? Ed). Especially if you were a violinist. Encountering a savage bunch of Al Capone's men on a dimly lit street corner wouldn't have been a barrel of laughs if the only protection you could pull from your violin case was... a violin! Lucky for you then, isn't it, that in this game you're not playing the part of Nigel Kennedy. The role you are taking on is that of Detective Elliot; a policeman with a mission - to boldly go where no man has gone before, to... (wrong mission. Ed). Erm, to clear Chicago's streets of gansters and put an end to the illicit alcohol trading of the Maffiosi organisations. Phew. Tall order. Let's have a decko at the game though, come this way, please.

Chicago 30's is a monochrome left/right, right/left scrolling shoot 'em-up, in which the golden rule is simple. Shoot or be shot. There are no innocent bystanders hanging around waiting to collect a stray piece of lead in the spleen, so you can go sprey crazy with your machine-gun.

The name starts with your Elliot sprite immediately under attack from all sides, so it's a good idea to leap onto your belly and let the mobsters shots fly over your head. In fact, it's a good idea to pend a lot of the game in this position as you can't be killed (unless you get sniped at from above, but I'll get back to that in a minute). However from this prone position you can't do much killing yourself, so you have to do loads of leaping to your feet, loosing off a couple of shots and jumping to the ground again. The most dangerous foes are those at windows, behind crates and on rooftops - they're difficult to spot most of the time and can shoot downwards at you and even throw grenades - but they're by no means impossible to dispose of - especially as you've got grenades yourself. If you get far enough, the scene fades then regenerates again and, lo and behold, you're inside a car where you're safe from the villains' fire (but can still shoot them. Ha, ha) The motor doesn't last forever though, so you soon find yourself pounding the beat again, but now there's the added difficulty of the gangsters car to contend with. It zooms in from the left and can only be dealt with by lobbing a grenade in its general direction. Then there's more of the same followed by more of the same again.

The presentation of the game is brilliant however - the action takes place on a cinema screen, with the curtains to either side and, well, take a look at the screenshot. The audience represents your lives - each time you lose one, one of the 'punters' leaves the pictures. Nice touch. The graphics in Chicago 30's are very good, as is the animation and addictiveness, but for my money the games a bit on the easy side. I get the feeling that a lot of you will get to see the final screen far too soon for your moneys worth. Still, it's a nice game to look at. Not bad really. Boing.

A nicely presented horizontally scrolling 'gangster' shoot 'em-up which may leave you unsatisfied due to its lack of difficulty.

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