SummaryWinning combination of driving and side-scrolling shoot-em’ up action with gore galore presented by Gremlin Graphics.
The GoodI can’t exactly put my finger on why I like this one so much, because it’s not particularly inspired, or a technical masterpiece. But even since I played it all those years ago, I still think it’s a top game.
The driving sections see you take control of a sleek red Ferrari fitted out with a mounted machine-gun for taking out those bothersome cars and motor cycles trying to impede you getting to the scene of the crime. This is a simple Road Blasters type affair, where you view your machine from the back, and oncoming vehicles appear on the horizon, and simple scaling routines give you the illusion of just how close they are. Bumping into them causes visible damage to your car, and if you get too damaged your rig will blow up.
You do get some sense of speed from the various trees and bushes that zip by on the sides of the road. If you manage to spin out of the road, you will automatically be returned safely to the road. Your speccy car has an onboard computer system, and you receive information on the dashboard that is below the main display. This gives you information like distance to the destination, and also a photograph of the prime suspect, and whether or not to terminate or apprehend.
When you reach your destination, you will automatically pull over and proceed on foot. Now the game switches to a horizontally scrolling caper, set to a gritty urban backdrop, with graffiti tagged walls, scattered trash and unwholesome punk character’s with guns and makeshift whips sneaking about. But it’s all in a day’s work for your everyday Technocop, as you’ll soon have em’ down to size with a few blasts from your handgun, which renders the scum’s a bloody twitching pile of gibs. You have to watch out for innocents like kids skipping rope, and old ladies’ on walkers, as the game allows you to shoot them also, but is discouraged by penalising your score. All statistics, necessary information and other read out are given through your rather elaborate HUD, which is a computerized wrist band (with visible hand), shown on the lower part of the display. This is easy to read, and was a very solid concept in design.
A rather neat feature is that you can search the villains bodies for contraband, by kneeling against the remains. If you find something, it will make a particularly gooey sound effect, and you will gain some extra points.
Your main goal is to search the seedy locale’s for your target, and you normally have to negotiate a series of elevators, and pitfalls of various sizes from destroyed flooring. You have a time limit running against you, so you have to get moving. Once you have found your man, you either kill him in the usual way, or switch to your net gun, which will incarcerate your target, whilst keeping him alive.
The seedy environments here are very detailed and well realised. You will see various hotel residents and hookers that have been tied up by the criminals, homeless people taking shelter within the derelict establishments warming their hands over barrels, various dead bodies strewn about the floors, blood splattered walls. The pixel painting here sports a lot of finite details, like being able to see inside various open rooms, that were typically in disarray. This was probably the most graphically detailed, and obscene title of the day.
The sound effects in the car sections are quite good, with squeaking tire sound effects when you skid out, and other gun and explosion samples help draw you into the action.
In the scrolling sections, I always liked the charismatic screams from the punks when you snuffed them out, which sort of had a faint echo as the sample concluded. The sound of your foot steps, moving elevators, and creaking doors opening and closing, and other incidental effects compliment the game nicely.
The BadWell, I don’t have any genuine niggles with this game. I think this game originated on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, so this does feel a bit like an 8-bit game with a face-lift, but I can’t really hold this against it.
I suppose the formula does get repetitive as the game goes on, but the same could be said of most other games.
The Bottom LineThis is a very daring, and risque’ outing from Gremlin Graphics, but because it was so shocking and visually graphic, and nothing like anything else out at the time, it is a very unique milestone piece of software that is perhaps a precursor to modern games that frequently lean in this unpleasant urban decay type of visual onslaught that is seemingly so appealing in a gaming context today.