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Melbourne House
1986
Strategy: Management
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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28,29
Clare Edgeley
Chris Bourne

GEE BOSS, dis is it. With your 50 grand and my brains we can break into da seedy woild of smuggling.

So what if it is prohibition, Boss? Dere's a lotta money to be made. Yeah, well da foist thing is to hire da boys - hoodlums. Boss. Now how many ya want? Remember Mugsy, we gotta make wid the foldin' stuff. Five grand to Pat McGroin ? yeah, revolting name ? and two grand for Pickey Zitz.

Boss, Boss. I don't unnerstand ya. If you pay Pat McGroin two grand you'll have to pay foive grand to stop him squealing to da Feds. Now that's finished can we buy some liquor. Boss? How many barrels ya want? Take 40, Boss, we can buy at $700 a barrel and sell at $1400 a barrel.

Hey, Mugsy. How much you gonna pay to set up da smuggling net? ? I advoise 16 grand ? dey gotta good ring up there. Now how much you gonna give da police charity fund? Two grand ? very generous.

Boss, Pat McGroin squealed to da Feds. We got nothin' left. Gee, you're a turkey Mugsy, you couldn't even run a kindergarten. Hey Boss, you knowwha.. .(dat's enough, goil, dis Mugsyspeak is getting on my noives. Da Ed).

Well, having flunked the smuggling game, Mugsy and Co try again but this time with better results. By paying out a few more grand to the boys and the Feds they manage to make a profit. The Capo and the Italian mob haven't muscled in and Mugsy sets up a speakeasy to sell some of his liquor. At $3 a glass who wouldn't make a profit?

To add a little extra spice, Mugsy puts some goils in the clubs - they bring in the customers, the customers drink, Mugsy gets rich. And then after paying out vast back-handers to everyone in sight, something drastic nearly always happens. Like Matt Guano running off with all the clubs' takings, or the mob taking a third of the profits, or the Feds taking the lot.

When disaster strikes, and if you've got the cash, you can always take out a contract on whoever's causing the problem. However, if you don't pay the hitman enough, the contract might fail and it's the soup kitchens for you, Mugsy.

Of course, as you become more successful, so your empire expands. In gangsterspeak - the family grows as do your responsibilities. Your main worries are paying off those in authority - so always keep enough cash for those little emergencies, and enough liquor in stock to keep the speakeasies from running dry.

Gameplay is almost exactly the same as that in Mugsy, its predecessor. Mugsy's Revenge is a partially animated strategy game, with detailed and beautifully illustrated pictures of a 1930s gangster Chicago scene - shifty characters lurking on street corners with turned up collars and pulled down hats. As you progress into the game more backdrops appear, so that the buying and selling of liquor takes place on the dock and so on.

Instructions are carried out by single keypress. As Mugsy you are constantly being updated on your various rackets by a member of the family. He'll ask you to make decisions by asking questions in comic-style bubblespeak. You answer by Y, N or a number signifying dollars, barrels, goils or whatever.

Just occasionally you'll make an enormous error and find yourself in the game's only arcade sequence - the shootout with the Feds. It's helpful if Mugsy's got his shooter and you've got a joystick handy. It's a simple job to despatch the five or six Feds because they move like snails and have about as much intelligence.

At the end of each year you're treated to a short animated film sequence. Interesting the first time round, but by the fifth, it tends to lose its appeal. The clip is of Gino's Pool Hall and is accompanied by some atmospheric music. Peering through the windows you see a game taking place. Tempers start to rise and one of the three players leans over to pull the blinds. Your final glimpse, as the blinds are pulled, is of one of the players being thrown across the pool table. Hot stuff.

The game ends after a number of years when the law is repealed and prohibition is at an end. That is the most effective way of putting Mugsy out of business and you must leave everything clean and tidy, take your profits and run.

Mugsy's Revenge is relatively addictive and attempts to cater for all tastes with its arcade sequence. If you win it's as much by luck than good judgement as the amounts you have to pay out are selected at random. Sometimes you'll get off quite lightly, other times all your profits go in back-handers.

A complex and an enjoyable game - although I suspect it will begin to pall when you try for the seventh or eighth time to trade your way into year four.

However, there is a bonus - side B of the cassette contains a copy of the original Mugsy. For that reason, and because the package is such good value, we have awarded it four stars.

Clare Edgeley

Programmer: William Pang

Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor

****

4/5