The King of Chicago

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Description official descriptions

With Al Capone out of the picture, Chicago's prohibition-era profit is up for grabs. Are you merciless and cunning enough to gain it by whatever means are required? Every action you take has complex long-term consequences which are not always obvious at the time.

You must keep your people on your side, watching what you say and do, knowing that an overthrow could be hatched at any moment. Look after your woman as well - who's going to respect a single mobster? The money has to be juggled in these ways, not forgetting to reach an 'understanding' with the Mayor to avoid any negative attentions.

Groups +



Credits (Amiga version)

11 People

Executive Producer
Associate Director
Graphics Artist
Additional Art
Original Music Composed by
Original Score
Sound Effects
Animation Effects
Dialogue Coach
Edited by
Manual and Quick Reference Card by



Average score: 66% (based on 10 ratings)


Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 31 ratings with 2 reviews)

An early example of interactive movies.

The Good
This game is a very interesting one. For one thing, despite having only 4-color CGA graphics, the art and characters of the game are extremely well-done. and given the DOS release date of 1988, it wasn't something easy to accomplish, though the graphics could have been done better, I think they were aiming to have more of an interactive movie than an actual game.

The other thing which makes it so interesting is that the style of game play, in which you choose from certain options and choices and just go with the action that occurs afterward is a style that greatly resembles the early CD-based games of the early 90's. During that era of CD games, those games were primarily about showcasing talking live-action characters in the game as opposed to the gameplay and story itself. They manage to accomplish this, and accomplish it well, with only 4-colors and two floppies.

The game also has a surprising depth to it. The description on the box brags over 1 billion (or million on the UK cover) combinations, and while I think it could be exaggerated, there ARE tons of ways you can play them time and time again and get mildly different results. This makes it interesting since a lot of things can turn out differently if you decide to experiment around every now and then.

The Bad
Nothing really struck me as wrong or bad in the game, but there was just one thing that I hated about the game was the 'bomb run' attack that you could launch on your enemies. This was extremely difficult and while there was a way to master it, it wasn't easy to figure exactly when to throw your bomb to blow up the building. Thankfully, there are no mandatory times when you need to do it, though the beginning part of the game could be slightly harder to finish if you don't go for it.

The Bottom Line
It's a quick, fun way to pass some time. Nothing ultra special save for an early example of early interactive movies, and a good example that 4-color graphics can be used to create some fairly impressive visuals.

DOS · by Salim Farhat (69) · 2009

Great fun: Become Al Capone's successor by managing your rackets, your mob, and your girl.

The Good
As with all Cinemaware titles, King of Chicago immerses you in the game; the idea is to lose yourself in the environment, "just like at the movies."

While the strategy sections (managing how much money to give to your mob hitmen, your girl, paying off the mayor, etc.) are simple, it makes it ideal for beginning gamers. One area where the game shines is how you manage your people--one wrong comment or remark and they could start plotting behind your back to take you out.

The graphics, even though they're 4-color CGA conversions from 32-color Amiga graphics, are excellent for the medium. The characters are well drawn, have a rich array of facial expressions, and are accented by dialogue authentic to the time period.

The Bad
The PC version is almost completely lacking sound (but then again, I had great fun imitating the voices myself ;-). The gameplay can be frustrating at times; there are supposed to be three completely different ways to win the game, but only one (the brute-force takeover) is self-evident. The strategy sections are simplistic for intermediate or advanced gamers.

The Bottom Line
King of Chicago, like all Cinemaware games, was way ahead of its time in terms of its gameplay and ideas. If you want to step into the shoes of a Chicago gangster and would-be mob boss, and you don't mind the weak strategy involved, King of Chicago is worth picking up.

DOS · by Trixter (8947) · 1999


Amiga copy protection

Unusually, disk 1 of the Amiga version was copy-protected, but disc two was not. Disc two's contents could be copied to and ran from Hard Drive (if you had at least 1Mb memory) or from memory (if you had at least 1.5Mb, as virtually no Amigas did in 1987). Machines with the full 1Mb memory but no hard drive still experienced faster gameplay than on 512K machines however, as graphics were stored in memory once loaded, meaning the game could put them back up near-instantly.


One of the manual pages lists the following as a FAQ:

If the sun's on fire, how come there isn't any smoke?



The King of Chicago was in development for over two years.


The different endings are triggered depending on how you overrun Chicago.

The obvious ending can be seen of course by taking over Chicago one by one, until you kill Santucci in the South Side.

Another way however is through Lola, your girl-friend! You can either treat her really bad or use her as a bait; in both cases, you'll end up finding her in Santucci's residence, where you get to kill him - regardless of what other parts of Chicago you already run. However, if you did treat Lola badly, you're in for a very bad surprise!

The third ending is still unknown.


The facial expressions in King of Chicago were manipulated by a system originally meant for animating computer actors called Dramaton, created by Doug Sharp.


  • ST Format
    • January 1990 (Issue #06) - Included in the list 50 Games of the Year. Category "Real Dogs"

Information also contributed by EboMike

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Trixter.

Amiga added by EboMike. Sharp X68000 added by Rola. Apple IIgs added by hoeksmas. iPad, iPhone, Android added by Kabushi. Atari ST added by Martin Smith. Macintosh added by Eli Tomlinson.

Additional contributors: Martin Smith, Zeppin, Patrick Bregger, Jo ST, ZeTomes.

Game added March 1st, 1999. Last modified August 14th, 2023.