Friday, July 29, 2016

Chicago 90

Everyone played cops and robbers as a kid! Now we are all grown ups (aka BIG kids) we can do the same all over again using our favourite retro computer which is all thanks to Microïds and their 1989 hit, Chicago 90.

You are offered the option to play as the Police or a Gangster. As a cop, it's your job to do the chasing, however, I always prefer to be a bad guy with a car full of swag fleeing for my freedom beyond the city limits. Initially, the in-game user interface is rather complex, especially if you chose to be the police. Down the left are many icons of which, I have no idea what most are used for! Along the bottom of the screen are two very interesting windows, the first being an overhead city map which also displays the location of the fuzz. The other window is a first-person view, from inside your car, which should help avoid crashing into the law abiding citizens!

Visually, I really love the humble retro graphics of the city which are varied, interesting and very well detailed. Sadly the bland sound effects are the mirror opposite and I'm sure our YM chip could easily have produced better. Controls feel a little flaky at first but you will soon be rip-roaring around Chicago in your cool red car. There is some silly collision detection and going too fast can strangely make the car bounce high into the air! The cops are a little simple with naive AI that isn't exactly at an Einstein level but certainly good enough to give you a good chase and, if caught, you're presented with a rather dodgy looking image of the scene!

Chicago 90's downfall is its weak Police role which I found cumbersome and rather boring if I'm brutally honest. So that left me with the gangster role (which is what I would have chosen anyhow) and thankfully this is damn good fun. Driving through the city, avoiding cars and running from the cops is an early glimpse into a 16-bit GTA experience. The concept works well and I loved the isometric view of the city, complimented by a fantastic windscreen view of the world. Chicago 90 is also like an early Driver and would certainly have benefited with similar mission tasks...

With a little more thought into gameplay objectives, therefore giving the player more to do, this would easily have been a fantastic venture into a life of crime. So it's far from perfect, but Chicago 90 definitely entertained me today because running from the cops is always going to be a thrill. I highly recommend you take this vehicle for a spin.


 - 8bitchip have a fantastic hard drive installable version to download.
 - If you instead require the floppy disk image then take a look at Old Games Finder.
 - Atari Greenlog has a cool gameplay video to watch!