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Ocean Software Ltd
Arcade: Gang beat-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Nick Roberts, Richard Eddy
Chris Bourne

Are you well 'ard?! (gnuk!!) I mean real 'ard? So 'ard it takes a herd of stampeding rhinos to even make you consider thinking about worrying? then you're the man/woman/small cute animal for the job! Because in Red Heatyou have to be as hard as the star - ex-Mr Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger!

You're tough Russian detective Danko (Arnie), out to smash an evil drugs ring run by Viktor Rostavili. The game's split over lour levels of combat action, with a subgame in each, taking Danko through different scenes. The first is set in one of Moscow's hot houses (a sauna).

Danko enters to be set upon instantly by a barrage of Rostavili's thugs. But without a weapon you've got to deal with them in hand-to-hand combat (ie: bashing the living daylights out of them!). The only two really useful moves are thump and duck. And every time you're bashed, which happens very often, energy is lost from your stregnth bar at the top of the screen.

As you progress through each of the four episodes, the graphic backdrops scroll horizontally. Now, you may be thinking from the screen shots, that the oblong playing area is such an odd shape. Well, yes it is! However this also gives an effectively-wider playing area and a cinematic feel to the game. Get used to it and the effect works well.

On each level there are bonus stages, indicated by a floating 'B' icon onscreen. Entering these takes you into a sub-game to play for extra points. On the first level it's a mega-waggle to crush a hot rock, on the second a puzzle as you attempt to rebuild a broken key.

Each level is loaded individually and on the second, third and fourth levels you have a gun to blast the thugs to smitherines, though there's a limited supply of ammo. The action goes on from the sauna into a hospital, crawling with vicious nurses, then onto a hotel and finally into a goods yard where, alter bashing Rostavili's entire army of reprobates, you meet the man himself. If you want to complete the game you have to finish him off - and this, crimebusters, is no easy task at all!

The graphics throughout Red Heat are incredibly detailed and work really well. The only let down is the serious lack of colour - it's white on black the whole way through - even a splash of colour around the border of the playing area would have brightened up the proceedings.

If lack of colour doesn't worry you and you're just in it for the furious addictive action - and even with three lives, it's a real toughie - Red Heat is well worth spending some time on.



'Has Arnie Schwarzenegger ever thought of setting up his own software company to cope with all the games he stars in? Red Heat's presentation is unusual and really quite good: a large Red Heat logo scrolls across the screen with some groovy border effects on either side to make it look a bit more flashy. But it's such a pity the rest of the game is pretty darn naff. The main game consists of a waist up sprite of Arnie and various scrolling backgrounds that vaguely resemble the film. Nasty people with guns and very hard fists walk along and hit you a lot. Red Heat could provide some fun if you are a wiz at beat-'em-ups, but the lack of gameplay prevents it from being a 'great'.' NICK

Several sub-games add to the furious addictive action but doubtful gameplay.