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Red Heat is based on the Walter Hill film of the same name, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Belushi. You take control of Soviet detective Ivan Danko (played by Schwarzenegger), who travels to Chicago in pursuit of the fearsome Georgian drug lord Victor Rosta.

The game is essentially a side-scrolling beat'em up in the vein of Vigilante. As Danko, you proceed across four levels which follow the movie's original setting, where you are constantly attacked by members of the Cleanheads, a group of drug-dealers who are in business with Victor Rosta. To eliminate hostiles you can either punch them (slow but long-ranged) or head-butt them (close-ranged but faster). The only defensive move available is crouching, so as to avoid being hit - there is no jumping or any other evasive tactics. Occasionally, you can get hold of a handgun and fire six shots at the villains. Other items you can pick up will boost your health, grant you access to bonus levels, or cause you to lose control of Danko for a few seconds.

One peculiarity of Red Heat is its widescreen-like game area, and the fact that all characters are drawn from the waist up. This may find partial explanation in the first level, set in a Russian sauna where, as in the original movie scene, all characters are not wearing clothes.


Red Heat Commodore 64 The motel shootout. These damn villains won't even give Danko the time to put some clothes on!
Red Heat Amstrad CPC Level 1
Red Heat ZX Spectrum There's more to this beat-em-up than fighting, it seems there are puzzles too
Red Heat Atari ST Second title screen

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Alternate Titles

  • "Double D├ętente" -- French title

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Critic Reviews

Commodore User Commodore 64 Jul, 1989 82 out of 100 82
Sinclair User ZX Spectrum Jun, 1989 78 out of 100 78
Your Sinclair ZX Spectrum Aug, 1991 76 out of 100 76
Crash! ZX Spectrum Jun, 1989 74 out of 100 74
The Games Machine (UK) Amiga Oct, 1989 69 out of 100 69
Zzap! Amiga Sep, 1989 62 out of 100 62
The Games Machine (UK) Commodore 64 Aug, 1989 50 out of 100 50
Lemon64 Commodore 64 Mar 18, 2002 4 out of 10 40
Commodore Format Commodore 64 Aug, 1991 38 out of 100 38
Power Play Amiga Sep, 1989 27 out of 100 27


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

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