Mean Streets

Critic Score User Score
Commodore 64
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Private detective Tex Murphy is hired to investigate the murder of a university professor. It turns out that he was one of eight scientists involved in Project Overlord, a mission to remotely control people. Tex soon learns of the deaths of other related figures. Suspects may include the British intelligence head, a surveillance company owner, and the professor's daughter.

Tex's first adventure takes the player through the seedy West Coast world of 2033, a setting that combines futuristic elements with film noir and "hardboiled" detective fiction styles. The game's main adventure portions are icon-driven, with object puzzles less significant than detective deduction and character interaction. Characters are represented by digitized photos.

Mean Streets features dozens of characters to interact with by asking questions or offering bribes. Fights often arise, but a diplomatic approach is more successful with characters whose guilt is unproven. Although it is largely an adventure game, travel between cities involves piloting Tex's Lotus Speeder in a flight simulation section. The game also contains side-scrolling action sequences where Tex has to eliminate a number of enemies before being able to proceed to the destination.


Mean Streets DOS Flying
Mean Streets Amiga Lola's apartment.
Mean Streets Atari ST Am I seeing things, or is that a big sign for US GOLD?
Mean Streets DOS main menu

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A very good entry to the Tex Murphy series, complete with some humor thrown in for good measure DOS *Katakis* (37914)
The early days of Tex Murphy, back when he had the slowest car in the galaxy... DOS Zovni (9321)
Interesting story with mostly tedious gameplay DOS Ingold (125)
An absolute classic. DOS Toka (16)

Critic Reviews

Techtite DOS 2000 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Atari ST Nov, 1990 85 out of 100 85
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Atari ST Nov, 1990 837 out of 1000 84
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Amiga Nov, 1990 83 out of 100 83
GameZebo DOS Jun 22, 2009 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
All Game Guide Commodore 64 1998 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
64'er Commodore 64 Feb, 1991 6 out of 10 60
Power Play Amiga Dec, 1990 58 out of 100 58
Power Play DOS May, 1990 53 out of 100 53
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Amiga Oct, 1990 6.4 out of 12 53


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Cover art

The US box art bears a striking resemblance to Blade Runner's original theatrical poster.


Mean Streets was the world's first popular PC game to fully support VGA graphics. Not content to stop there, it was also the world's first PC game to also support EGA, CGA, and Hercules graphics modes with real-time quantization and dithering. ("Real-time references the fact that they didn't include pre-converted graphics, which would have taken up twice the disk space, but rather they converted each graphic as it was loaded to fit the graphics mode being used.) Most games that supported VGA didn't support any lower standard at all because it was considered too difficult to convert graphics utilizing 256 colors down to 16 or even 4 for EGA or CGA.


The Mean Streets intro music is also used in a TV commercial. Access plagarised music in the past; see the trivia for Crime Wave for another example.


In 1998, Access released Overseer which is a remake of Mean Streets.


There are many references to TV shows and movies in Mean Streets. For example, turn on the TV in Ron Morgon's Cabin and the sound resembles Star Trek. The robot in Cal Davis's Secret Lab is a reference to Lost In Space. The scene where you meet Larry Hammond is a spoof of a joke in The Bob Newhart Show. Also, the president is called Michael J. Fox, and a final joke refers to the first Back to the Future film he starred in.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #139 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
  • ST Format
    • Issue 01/1991 – #4 Best Adventure Game in 1990
Information also contributed by Blood, Brolin Empey, hydra9 and Ricky Derocher

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Contributed to by Eurythmic (2581), Martin Smith (63028), lights out (6514) and *Katakis* (37914)