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Sinclair Programs
P.J. Irwin
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 16K

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Chris Bourne

As their name suggests, Cases Computer Simulations (CCS) specialise in simulation and strategy games. They had two hits with Dallas and Corn Cropper during 1983, and are now following up with a number of original ideas based around the notion of turning some money into lots of money. Gangsters! is set in the heyday of Al Capone, but the Windy City is now called Spectral City.

After a lively title page of splattered gunshots you are shown a grid of the city with the various joints of four rival gangs marked on it. The gangs, identified by the colours blue, red, magenta and green, each have a selection of Speakeasies, Distilleries, Casinos and Brothels. They also have gangsters in varying numbers, and the gang as a whole has a morale value which dips or rises, as the gang's fortunes go up and down.

After selecting a skill level (which dictates how much money you will be given at the start), you're shown the Gang Strengths_ Summary. This tells you how many joints they own and how much money they have banked. Depending on the level of play chosen, your money appears at the bottom. You may then buy up casinos, distilleries etc., followed by the number of gangsters you want and a personal protection factor to help prevent anyone bumping you off. It's worth setting this quite high!

Now the game really starts, following the customary pattern of strategy games, where you are offered a stream of unenviable decisions; there's The Thorny Question of Bribes, which lets you keep the risk of arrest to a minimum, or have a go at shopping a rival gang member; there's Raid Rivals assets in which you select the gang to be raided and then use the cursor keys on the map to select the gang to be raided and their particular joint, and the number of gangsters you are going to take. The report shows the percentage of damage done and the cost of the repairs to the rival gang. Of course if you do raid someone, they're as likely to raid back and cost you. You can also opt to murder a gang leader, in which case a menu of five killers and their rate for the job appear (avoid Bugsy Spitoone-he's expensive and incompetent!) Now and again the law has a goat you by arresting one of the gang.

You can have a go at bribing the Attorney or the Jury if you have the money left. In the end it's a question of taking over the other gangs by killing off their leaders, or one of them taking you out. Income is earned monthly from your various operations.


'Gangsters! makes a nice change from lasering aliens, and it's the sort of game several people can join in. I had a go at shopping all my rival gang bosses but the trial results were all Innocent! The inlay suggests you should be ruthless-so perhaps it's no different from zapping aliens after all. '

'There seems to be more detail in this game than in their previous Dallas. The responses are quite fast too, although I can't help thinking that some machine code would speed up the city map. Interesting to play.'

'The Moral Majority are hardly likely to approve of this game what with teaching people how to run brothels and what else! Having said that, it is a pretty good.family game, though I can't see these sort of strategies as very addictive.'

Keyboard play: slow
Use of colour: good
Graphics: slow to build up but very clear
Sound: useful
Skill levels: 9

General Rating: Good.


Screenshot Text

I think I'm about to lose a Brothel...

Spectral City, divided up between the GANGSTERS.