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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 ZX Spectrum ... and knives. There's a letter 'B' there to be picked up that's probably important
Red Heat ZX Spectrum This picture looks like it was taken from the film displays while the game loads
Red Heat ZX Spectrum Here's Arnie and its just possible to make out a knife flying in from the left off-screen
Red Heat ZX Spectrum Then they baddies come on so fast they have to form a queue

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Alternate Titles

  • "Double Détente" -- French title

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Critic Reviews

Your Sinclair Jul, 1989 85 out of 100 85
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Oct, 1991 79 out of 100 79
Sinclair User Jun, 1989 78 out of 100 78
Your Sinclair Aug, 1991 76 out of 100 76
Crash! Jun, 1989 74 out of 100 74
The Games Machine (UK) Aug, 1989 52 out of 100 52


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

PoliticallyCorrupt (2472) added Red Heat (ZX Spectrum) on Aug 29, 2008
Other platforms contributed by PoliticallyCorrupt (2472)