He's big. He's mean. He's got a spikey haircut. But that's enough about Jim - what about the game he commanded me to review, Red Heat?
The latest in a long line of Arnie Schwarzenegger movie conversions - remember Predator, Running Man, and, er, that's it really - Red Heat sticks pretty closely to the plot of the fillum. In which a Russian cop (Red Heat, geddit?) comes to America to track down a ruthless gang of drug smugglers who've offed his partner. Arnie's character is SO HARD that he can juggle hot coals, punch thousands of people and shoot his huge pistol dozens of times without ruffling his startling spikey haircut, and this aspect of the film is well represented in the game.
Oh, we forgot to mention, Arnie's American liaison is played by James Belushi, less funny brother of the dead John, and he pops up between levels doing some sort of song-and-dance routine. Weird.
The actual action of the game largely involves Arnie PUNCHING people with unerring accuracy. As you move across the screen - right to left on the first stage, left to right later on - attackers swarm towards you from the far side. This ill-assorted bunch of thugs and hoodlums try to knock you down with an assortment of chops and jabs; you have to time your punches correctly to knock them across the screen, or duck under their blows. If you take a knock, an energy meter shows your falling energy. You have the traditional three lives to complete the game.
As you progress, the scenery changes from the opening scene in the bath-house to a Moscow winter, then to the interior of a hospital. By this time you're armed with an enormous GUN, which certainly makes life easier.
The main punching action is interrupted by sub-games based on sections of the film. Each time you pick up a Bonus token you have a chance to score extra points by completing a sub-game. There are several different types of sub-game; in one, you have to re-arrange the jumbled sections of a key. To do this you move a cursor over a piece, and press fire to swap it with the adjacent piece. In another sub-game you're shown a dollar bill divided into blue and green squares. By moving the joystick in different directions you can make different selections of squares change colour. The aim is to make them all turn green.
For joystick-wagglers there's a sub-game in which Arnie's fist squeezes a hot coal - waggle like mad to get the waggleometer up to the top.
My favourite sub-game shows a selection of three doors, which pop open in turn to reveal either gun-toting thugs, or innocent bystanders such as doggies. schoolgirls and naked women (?!?) The aim is to gun down the thugs and avoid shooting the bystanders, but the temptation is to shoot the lot. Each sub-game is, of course, played against a time limit.
The final aim is to confront and eliminate the arch baddie in a scene of such awesome wonderfulness that we haven't actually seen it. After all, completing all the sub-games to finish the game is a mammoth task.
Red Heat is most notable for its excellent comic-style graphics. Though they're monochrome, the animation and design are excellent, and because you're only shown Arnie's top half, it gives an impression of great size.
Author: Special FX
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
Hooray for Arnold! You can usually rely on good old Schwartzie to provide a decent punch-up on either big screen or small and Red Heat provides ample proof of this - even for those who've had their heads buried in a swamp for the last ten years or so.
In Red Heat, the big man plays the part of a pre-glasnost Soviet special cop who must travel to America to intercept the head of an international drug ring (what ever happened to drug squares, oh yes, that was the Rolling Stones the seventies).
Joe Danko, the Commie super cop must survive four levels of frantic fighting action with both fists and firearms, proving, while you're on the job that the battling bulgie is not to be trifled with. The fracas begins in a Soviet sauna where, because of a complete lack of clothes to conceal a weapon, the combat is naturally hand to hand (Oo-er). The action then proceeds to Chicago for the next three levels during which Arnie can pick up a gun and increase his offensive firepower and collect bonus objects. He finally meets the end of game baddie in a tough, life draining duel.
Graphics and gameplay are good. The monochrome-only main screen and sprites are reasonably well defined and scroll, if not quite smoothly, continuously across the screen. The graphic presentation of the muscle man himself is well done and as the screen displays only the top half of everyone's body, most figures, especialy Arnie's, are larger and more visual. Control is good if a little slow and requires some practice.
Red Heat combines action with good graphics - as in the full price game. As a budget it still packs the same punch without knocking the wind out of your piggybank.
Label: Hit Squad
Price: £3.99 Tape, N/A Disk
Reviewer: Alan Dykes
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