Untouchables, The


by James Higgins, Martin McDonald, Jonathan Dunn
Ocean Software Ltd
1989
Crash Issue 70, November 1989   (1989-10-21)   page(s) 46

We're back back in Twenties America under the iron heel of prohibition. This doesn't stop gangster Al Capone producing and distributing illegal booze. Bribery and corruption rules a police force well paid to look the other way. But one Federal Agent is determined to form a group of officers above bribery, he's Elliot Ness, they are... The Untouchables. Their mission: Get Capone.

The six level game is a belated tie-in of the movie that's long done the rounds in video shops. Never mind, it's great in its own right. Ness opens the game with an abortive raid on a Chicago warehouse suspected of holding illegal booze. A police department mole has tipped off the mob, and they're waiting guns at the ready.

As you blast the baddies amongst the scattered crates, arrows appear which lead to one of ten white-suited men who possess useful information, shoot them to gain the info, but watch it: if one of the other guys gets it he turns white, and the chase is on again. Ten percent of the information is collected with each successful hit, but 100% is needed to complete the section. You start the game with a rifle, so pick up violin cases for machine guns; and roses for energy - you need as much as you can get.

Level two sees Ness and team at the US/Canadian border to stop a band of bootleggers from escaping. You start with Ness on the ground amidst parked trucks, avoiding the hiding gangsters' bullets. His rifle with telescopic sights can pick off targets as they pop their heads round the trucks, using the cross hairs on screen upper right. He dodges bullets by rolling to the left or right. Alternatively, roll off the edge of the screen to select one of the other three Untouchables. Victory on this level gains the documents Ness needs to convict Capone.

Only Capone's accountant can decipher them however. To stop Ness getting his hands on him, Capone bundles his hapless minion off to the station to catch a train out of town. In hot pursuit, Ness and Co are ambushed in an alleyway: Tommy gun blasting hoods in windows and cars. The usual shoot-out occurs to clear the scene for a race to the station. Switch from Ness to team members as before, but watch out: your double barreled shotgun needs constant reloading.

Survive this and it's time get Ness down the station stairs while blasting the opposition and (to make things trickier) preventing an innocent baby in a pram from crashing to death.

Ness finally gets face to with Capone's accountant. But one last cowardly hood is using him as a shield. It's first person perspective shoot out time: kill the gangster without harming the accountant.

Capone is caught and charged with tax evasion. The trial sets off the final level with one of Capone's henchmen making a bid for freedom. A good old-fashioned chase ensues, ending on the rooftop. Will Ness get his man? It's up to you.

Great stuff. Ocean have brought Chicago to life. Atmospheric title tune (128K), beautifully detailed graphics and challenging gameplay add up to one addictive mean game!

MARK ... 95%


You dirty rat, buy this game or it's the big sleep for you, blue eyes. The Untouchables is graphically and sonically great and really gives you the impression of being there as Ness and his Untouchables run around shooting hoods, saving babies and above all putting Capone away for a very long time. With six sections the game is certainly large, and in all of them you blast away at villains with a variety of portable artillery (vicious swine). If you enjoyed the film take a look at the game, if not get it anyway!
NICK ... 92%

Presentation: 90%
Graphics: 83%
Sound: 91%
Playability: 91%
Addictivity: 88%
Overall: 94%

Summary: A winning, large, action-packed shoot-out in an Untouchable class of its own.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 92, September 1991   (1991-08-15)   page(s) 60

Okay, blue eyes, it's the big sleep for you, you're on a one-way trip to concrete boots land.

The 1920s were a tough time: prohibition was in full swing and Al Capone was the king of the underworld. In The Untouchables, you play Elliot Ness and his fearless band of 'Untouchables' (try it and you get a slap round the face) who must bust Capone's lucrative liquor distribution network.

The game follows the excellent film very closely, six levels packed with action, from collecting evidence damning Capone to killing his top hitman at the end of level six. Like the film there's never a let up in the pace: it's slam-bang action all the way as the player's thrown from one situation to the next. It was this that attracted me to the game when it was first reviewed. So with The Untouchables now available for four quid, if it isn't in your software library soon you're completely hatstand.

MARK


Presentation: 90%
Graphics: 91%
Sound: 80%
Playability: 89%
Addictivity: 90%
Overall: 92%

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 47, November 1989   page(s) 70,71

Jackie: Well, I wanted to do this and Matt wanted to do this so we had a bit of a fight and it ended up with us both doing it. Ho hum.

Matt: It's not that surprising really - The Untouchables is an absolute corker of a game. In fact, it might even be the best Speccy game anyone's released this year!!

Jackie: Now don't get carried away, Matt. It is good though - and so it should be! Every time I've been up at Ocean this year it's been adding this bit here and perfecting that bit there! I can't quite believe it's finished!

Anyway, it's a six level, five load arcade adventure based very closely on various original scenes. The packaging will sort of explain that, but you'll be better off having seen the movie or you'll find yourself a bit lost.

Matt: It's not as simple as that though. They've added a few strategy elements as well just to complicate things. For instance, instead of playing just one character, you play four different ones at once. Eh? How can that work then? Well, the thing is, you've got all the main characters from the movie (Elliot Ness, the Sean Connery character Malone, the Italian sharpshooter Stone, and the toad-like accountant bloke) and can switch between them at any time. A couple of them you'll have to keep alive at all costs or you won't be able to finish the game, but the other two poor chaps are expendable, so if you're in a tricky spot and losing a lot of energy fast make sure it's from one that you don't need! The game doesn't tell you which ones are expendable, but if you've seen the film you should get a good idea.

Jackie: But enough of all that. Let's look at the individual levels and see how they work...

Level One THE WAREHOUSE
Jackie: This is based on the movie s opening scenes. It's an eight way scrolling platform and ladders jump-about. The play area is fairly large - about three screens tall by eight or so wide - and is packed with hoodlums leaping and bounding and shooting all over the place. You play Ness in this one, and it's your task to catch up with the ten mob accountants you'll find lurking around the place and collect evidence off them. You'll spot them easily enough. Not only do they skulk around looking suspicious in long coats, but the computer provides a handy arrow that points out where the next one's lurking! They're the only ones who don't take pot shots at you too 'cos throughout this level the air is literally heavy with lead!

Matt: This really is a very smooth and playable level. Look out for violin cases. They contain extra weapons (shotgun, machine gun and more ammo). Check out the bottom of the screen - you've not collected much evidence have you, and the little picture changing from Ness to Al Capone (indicating your life running out) is nearly in full Capone mode (in other words, nearly dead). Must be because Jackie's playing it! (Slap!) Ouch.

Level Two THE BRIDGE
Matt: This is a different pot of pickled herrings altogether. In fact it probably qualifies as Ocean's third variation on the Op Wolf theme this Christmas. You can see yourself at the bottom of the screen - you're the one rolling around on the floor at the bottom. getting your coat all dirty. There is a point to this though. You're faced with a wall of trucks and hoodlums swarming all over them! The scene is about three screens wide, and you must roll around, trying to take as few shots as possible, at the same time as shooting out the liquor kegs scattered about. You get half a bottle for each one you hit but since you need to make up 32 bottles (if I remember right) it does take some doing.

Jackie: The way you see where you're shooting is interesting. Instead of having a crosshairs on the screen you see through the little binocular shape at the bottom, so you have to keep flicking your eyes from there to the main screen.

Level Three THE ALLEYWAY
Matt: This one's a bit Op Wolf-ish too. That's you on the right of the picture - you're equipped with a double barrelled shotgun and have to pop out into the open (where you're vulnerable), take your shots then nip back again to reload. Of course, the alleys are absolutely jam-packed with Capone's henchmen - leaning out of the windows and so on - which can cause a few problems. You're collecting liquor again by the way, which you get if you bag any bad buys.

Jackie: Oh dear. Matt didn't explain that very well did he? He started in the middle again. What he forgot to mention is why you're in the alleys in the first place. You're on your way to the train station where you're trying to catch Capone's main accountant before he flees the country. There are six similar screens to work your way through before you reach it. There. Why didn't you tell 'em that. Matt? Slap! (Whimper.)

Level Four THE RAILWAY STATION
Jackie: Yo! This is the best bit, no doubt about it! Check out the bottom of the screen. There are two power doobries down there. Why's that, d'you suppose? Well, it's because they're doing the old 'you play two characters at once' trick again of course (well, sort of). Only this time one of them's a baby! So you've got two lives to keep an eye on here. That's the pram in the middle of the screen. What's happening is that it's rattling down the long, long staircase to the train station while you run up, down and round about it, shooting all the baddies that're bouncing about all over the place. Extra energy icons appear which you can either grab yourself or push the baby over to keep him alive too.

Matt: It may seem a little sick having a game where not only is a baby caught in a crossfire of bullets but it's used as a shield to protect your own life with, and it probably is (a bit). But other than that this section is blooming ace - the best bit from the film and, rather fittingly, the best bit in the game.

Level Five THE TRAIN PLATFORM
Matt: This is a mini-level with a very tight time limit. One of Capone's men has got the escaping accountant chappie and is about to blow him away to stop him testifying. (The poor dear!) And you've only got one chance to stop him! Basically, you need to position the barrel of your gun over his head (his body won't do) and fire.

Jackie: Yuck! This is a little too bloodthirsty for my liking. Where's the conclusion bit?

THE END
Jackie: Ah, here it is! We're at the end of the game. Well, sort of. I, um, didn't manage to get that far, but apparently you've got to shoot this guy off a rooftop with your six shooter pistol, nipping behind a wall and reloading every so often (rather like Level Three, in fact). You'll have to get him four times to push him back, but all the time he'll be taking pot shots at you. shoving you backwards! It's a bit like a tug of war.

Matt: And that's it! What a little cracker of a game. Everything is as smooth and polished as you can get on a Speccy, and it's jam-packed full of things to do. The monochrome blue graphics are very nice and clear the animation is top notch and to cap it off the 30's style music is very atmospheric. All in all, very playable indeed. A hit!


Life Expectancy: 85%
Instant Appeal: 95%
Graphics: 93%
Addictiveness: 89%
Overall: 94%

Summary: A brilliant multiload film conversion, as good as anything released this year.

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 69, September 1991   page(s) 57

The game of the film of the series of the book of the period I never got to do in History pits you against countless gangsters over six meaty levels (four Op Wolf variants, a vertical scroller and a platform jobbie). The idea is to blast away at loads of minions and close in on Al Capone. Graphics throughout are splendidly detailed and atmospheric (although the hyperactive jumping gangsters of Level One do jar a bit) and the gameplay reflects all those months of design and tweaking that went into it. The bit when you're blazing away with a shotgun in Level Three and have to keep ducking out of the way to reload is great stuff!

It isn't all manic action and gratuitous violence though. Well, yes it is, but you've also got to remember to grab the vital evidence as you go - in Level Four you've got to protect a baby in a runaway pram as well. So it's a good job you can swop to another Untouchable if one's feeling a bit under the weather.

As regards special features, 128K owners get ragtime tunes to tap their feet to, while 48Kers benefit from not having to load another level until they've finished the present one.

All told, this is one heck of a barg. It's big, slick and addictive, so snap it up and go deal out some justice - the Chicago way.


Overall: 92%

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 92, November 1989   page(s) 30,31,32

The movie licence is a funny creature. Capturing the excitement of a multi-million dollar film extravaganza for computer presentation is hardly an unambitious task. There have been winners and there have been stinkers. Ocean's Untouchables is a fine example of how to do the job properly.

Chicago. 1930's. Chicago is cracking under the mobster rule of Al Capone. Capone's men are running roughshod over the police and mayor's office. Indeed, he has agents in top positions in government and no-one is beyond his reach. Everyone can be "touched".

So serious is the problem that Treasury Agent Eliot Ness has been sent from Washington into Chicago to clean up the town.

Since Capone employs an army of henchmen to carry out his dirty work and the police department is thoroughly riddled with bent rozzers, the chances of getting a conviction for murder, robbery or extortion are slim. Instead, the route to Capone's conviction is through exposing his tax frauds.

The game follows the plot of the film closely, and there are six stages of cinematic action which have been reproduced, masterfully, by the Ocean programmers.

THE WAREHOUSE

After receiving a tip regarding an illegal liquor store, you have to make a raid and capture as many of Capone's men as possible. The screen is shown side on and - as is the whole game - in cyan and black. And you have to run and jump across a stack of packing cases, following the direction indicating arrows and apprehending the crooks.

The animation is simply superb as Eliot leaps around in pursuit of the baddies. Once you've captured enough villains, you find yourself on...

THE BRIDGE

Ka-boom! Shotgun justice! You've managed to ambush a bunch of gangsters on the US/Canadian border. You need to blast them into submission. You take up a position lying at the mass of trucks and barrels. By rolling left and right, you can get a view of the different areas on the bridge. All the time the lower half of the screen contains a magnified representation of what you would see if you looked down the barrel of your shotgun. This obviously helps to aim and gives a close-up of objects in the distance.

Unfortunately, I found the shotgun sighting a bit tricky to make out. The size of the picture inside the gunbarrel wasn't especially clear, since the pixels inside are pretty big. When you're trying to survey the scene, aim and shoot at the necessary speed, there isn't really enough time to puzzle out what you're looking at.

The rest of this stage, though, is excellent. Smooth scrolling and fast action and the baddies buy it in fantastic Op Wolf style splendour. Each time you blow away a goon, you'll grab a crate of booze; all vital evidence in the campaign.

THE ALLEYS

If you thought you'd had a treat with the bridge section, this stage will simply blow you away. Ness stands to the right of the screen, shotgun in hand, shielded by wall. Ahead, into the screen stretches a grimy, dimly lit alley. Shuttered windows, trashcans, litter. Occasionally cars pass at the end. He's been lead here on the trail of Capone's accountant, who now holds the key to a successful conviction.

You've got to make your way along the alleys, toward a train station. Unfortunately, Capone's men have been tipped off and are hiding in every alley. If you fail to take one out, he'll blast you.

The graphics here continue to impress. Ness loads another shell into his shotgun, turns into the alley, and then fires, then turns back into his safe niche again.

Once you've worked your way down the alleys, you'll finally arrive at the station, probably the climax of the film.

THE TRAIN STATION

You're waiting to ambush the accountant when a woman with a pram enters the station. Helpfully, she lets the baby tumble down the huge stairway in it's pram, and it threatens to ruin your ambush plans.

As the bad guys run in from all sides, you're presented with a top-down view of the stairs. You've got to nudge the pram away from the side of the stairs, and away from Capone's men. At the same time, you've got to ice as many crooks as possible.

I may be completely wrong, but this strikes me as - gawk! - a new game concept. It hangs together really well too. You have to split your time between shooting criminals, keeping the baby on course and not getting shot yourself.

THE HOSTAGE

You've blown away all but one of Capone's men. The last man, realizing his perilous position takes the accountant hostage, Stone - the film's crack shot - must make a miracle shot, killing the bad guy before he panics and blows the accountant's brains all over the station.

This stage is very much like a shooting gallery, with the moving targets at the end and an excellently drawn image of Stone's gunhand in the foreground.

THE ROOFTOP

The final stage. Frank Nitty, the psychopath henchman who has dogged Ness's men throughout is cornered up on the roof of the court where Capone is facing trial. As in the film, you must ensure Nitty doesn't leave the roof in one piece.

A little like the alley scene earlier in the game, you have to use the cover of the rooftop as best you can, ducking behind air ducts etc.

The Untouchables is a cracking conversion. Easily one of the most successful and accurate movie licences to date. If this is a standard Ocean can maintain, who knows what next year will bring.

Label: Ocean
Author: In House
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: Various
Reviewer: ?


Graphics: 95%
Sound: 80%
Playability: 87%
Lastability: 88%
Overall: 95%

Summary: Fantastic and thoroughly excellent.

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 115, September 1991   page(s) 55

What is an Untouchable? The yuckky yellow bit in the centre of a Cadbury's cream egg? A pair of three week old suede underpants belonging to hippy Steve?

No. It's two year old Ocean game that originally scored a stonkin' great 95% when it was originally reviewed and therefore rates as one of the all-time greatest marks ever given out by SU.

There are six stages to the game each one involving a part of the original film where you play the gun totin' role of Treasury Agent Elliot Ness. Your mission, bring Al Capone to justice by collecting evidence that will expose his tax frauds and thereby put him behind bars (the bloody bounder!)

Each stage is totally dependant upon your prowess with a gun and you'll have five different types of shooting scene, from leaping around boxes and following the arrows towards the evidence on level one, through good old shotgun shootouts, to having a six shooter and having to duck and dive in and out of cover as you take out the higher echelons of the gang.

The action is pacey, the graphics are great and sound is spot on. The only problem you'll have with Untouchables is taking your hands off it long enough to grab some social life!

Label: Hit Squad
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter


Graphics: 95%
Sound: 85%
Playability: 90%
Lastability: 87%
Overall: 90%

Summary: Untouchables was one of the best blasters on the market when it first appeared on Spectrum screens nearly two years ago. And it stands as a testament to greatness that it's still one of the best shoot 'em ups on the Spectrum today!

Award: Sinclair User Best Budget

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 96, November 1989   page(s) 58

Ocean
Spectrum/C64 £9.99

When the cost of a prohibition racket is the lives of innocent people, it's time for the law to get tough Enter, please, Mr Elliot Ness and his team of Untouchables, a group of guys who have the power to do whatever they want in the cause of civilian safety (so long as what they do is vaguely legal, that is). Untouchables, the game, deals with Ness's battle against that most famous of Godfathers, Al Capone.

Based around the critically-acclaimed film starring Sean Connery and Kevin Costner, The Untouchables puts you through six levels of hoodlum hassling.

Stage One, a multi-directionally scrolling platform shoot 'em up sees you in the derelict warehouse which Capone's gang use as their base. Here, you must gather together the evidence required to move in for the kill and break up Capone's empire. It's just you against the best (or worst!) of Chicago's villains.

Further levels, all of which are taken directly from scenes from the movie, include a second-person perspective 3D shootout in a dark, city alleyway; another second-person perspective shootout, but this time set on a bridge, with your team rolling around the floor, wasting baddies and trying desperately not to be shot; a madcap chase down a long flight of stairs as Ness attempts to rescue a runaway baby, complete with pram, while removing any threat from hoodlums, and finally a gun battle across the rooftops with a pistol-packing bad-lad.

Ocean seem to enjoy producing multi-event film licenses, what with Robocop, Batman and now this. As with the other two, The Untouchables is a cut above the usual movie-based guff which we're constantly subjected to, combining relatively simple gameplay with a high level of presentation to produce a great game.

Perhaps the programmers have gone just a little too far on the aesthetic side of the 64 version though; sometimes, because of the large quantity of colour on screen, it's difficult to make out who's shooting at who. Apart from that one minor gripe (don't worry, it's more an annoyance that a detriment to the game's enjoyment), The Untouchables is a well thought out package which will find a niche in most people's software collections. It won't be as big a hit as Ocean's two earlier movie games, but those who buy it won't be disappointed.


Overall: 85%

Summary: While the gameplay is virtually identical to the C64 version, monochrome graphics ensure that the on-screen action is easier on the eye, as well as giving the player the feeling of watching a 50s black and white film. Brilliant.

Award: C+VG Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 24, November 1989   page(s) 84,85

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99

ELLIOT NESS BEATS THE BOOZE RACKET

Back in the Twenties America was under the iron heel of prohibition, but this didn't stop men like Al Capone producing and distributing illegal booze. Bribery and corruption ruled the police force, with cops well paid by gangsters to turn a blind eye. Federal Agent Elliot Ness was determined to form a group of officers who were above bribery, they were... The Untouchables.

Ocean's six-level game closely follows the plot of the film set in Chicago, and concerns the four FBI agents who became untouchable. Elliot Ness their leader, Stone a young Italian cop, Oscar Wallace a nerdy looking accountant and finally Mallone a wise old Irish cop. Scene one is set in a warehouse suspected of holding illegal booze. But a informer in the police department tips off the mob, so all Ness finds is a band of gun-toting hoodlums.

Some of them do possess information however, so as Ness leaps about on the crates scattered around blasting, the baddies' arrows appear. These lead to one of ten white-suited men who carry the information - shoot them to gain the information, but if one of the baddies grabs it, the man turns white and the chase is on again. Ten percent of the information is collected with each successful 'hit', but a hundred percent is needed to complete the section. Also up for grabs are the occasional violin case and roses; the cases represent collectible machine guns, and roses replenish energy.

Next Ness takes his Untouchables to the US/Canadian border to stop a band of bootleggers escaping. The level starts with Ness lying on the ground in front of a fleet of trucks. The gangsters, surprised by the cops' appearance, take pot shots. With a rifle and telescopic sights he picks off targets as they pop their heads around the trucks. You can dodge the bullets by rolling either to the left or right; or - by rolling off the edge of the screen - one of the other three characters can be selected. Success here gains the documents Ness needs to convict Capone, but only his accountant can decipher them. So Ness decides to get the guy safely out of the city, but on the way to the station Ness is ambushed in an alleyway. Armed with only a pump-action shotgun you must peek round the corner, pick your target, and let fly. Against you are tommy-gun-wielding hoods leaning out of windows and cars blasting away at your energy level. As your shotgun is double-barrelled, you must cluck back to the entrance to reload. Again, you can switch between the surviving members of the group, and only when all the alleyways are clear, can you continue to the station.

In the next section Ness races down a flight of stairs blasting hoods, and preventing a pram from crashing and bringing the Untouchables' names into disrepute. At the bottom Ness finds that the accountant is being held hostage, and in a first-person perspective shoot out, you as Stone must kill the hood without harming the accountant (rather like the hostage scene in RoboCop). Capone is finally caught, but beats the murder rap and gets charged with tax evasion. During the trial the final level begins as one of Capone's hoods runs out of the court closely followed by Ness. He's tracked up onto the roof where Ness must continuously shoot the hoodlum until he falls off the roof, and thus end the game.

Special FX (they did Batman - The Caped Crusader, among others) and Ocean bring the Windy City excellently to life on the computer screen. The six levels are all trigger-pumping fun, with suitable graphics to give an authentic Twenties feel, and some nice touches like the flapping of the hood's coat on the final section and the gun reloading in the alley scene. It all makes The Untouchables a winner.


Overall: 95%

Summary: Again graphical excellence and good tunes (on the 128K version) make the Spectrum version of The Untouchables as much of a must-buy as the C64 game. If you loved the movie and the ancient TV show this is for you.

Award: The Games Machine Top Score

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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