Crime City (If...) Review | Amiga Power - Everygamegoing

Amiga Power

Crime City
By If
Amiga 500

Published in Amiga Power #11

Crime City

Steve White is a crime writer who's frustrated by the fact that he's not living what he writes about. "It was fate's cruellest trick, to give me a job of sitting endlessly at home, doing nothing real, and yet forcing me to immerse myself in a world of vividly real actions and people and decisions," he bemoans in the manual's introductory story. Just think what tedious books he must write if his idea of 'vividly real actions' are anything like the humdrum real-life mystery he gets embroiled in Crime City.

The plot has it that Steve's old man has been stitched up like a kipper and is now doing porridge for the murder of his best mate, David Walker. This obviously isn't very fair, so Steve takes it into his hands to find out what really happened and present the evidence to the police.

Steve's dad's office is where the adventure begins, and it's a scene returned to time and time again, mainly because of the computer system used for the storage and retrieval of records, surveillance and telecommunications. (It also features a version of Pong, which turns out to be the most entertaining way of passing the time in Crime City.)

Crime City

Anyway, Steve's father's messages and diary offer some leads, with the latter revealing appointments and telephone numbers, so it's onto the telephone to see what anybody has to say for themselves. I thought dialling 999 might throw up some chucklesome dialogue. I wasn't wrong. I asked the police for the time, and their response was both believable and funny... "Is this a joke? It is an offence to waste police time, you know." Hahaha. Sorry, but that kills me every time.

Still, mustn't tarry, my old man's life's at stake here. A map of the city shows the locations uncovered during the investigation, the idea being to search them and talk to the residents for clues. Calling up the map - there's a little resistance from the fussy mouse-driven 'point and click' interface - you can pick a destination and then chose a means of transport. I could walk, which is free but takes ages, or take a cab, which always seems to cost twice as much and take a third as long as the bus. Visiting the hospital, I tried to make a date with the deformed nurse there, who turned out to be Ben Elton's witty sister. "I would love to go on a date with you, but I have to work 24 huors a day for the next two months because this is an NHS hospital." Titter.

It gets worse though. I next took Steve to see his girlfriend, who looks like Mr. Potatohead (I'd hate to think it was based on the artist's missus!) She's got a great personality though. When I chose to tell her that we ought to split up, all she could offer was: "Split up! Split up! How dare you suggest we split up?! Get out of here and only com eback when you have got some sense in that tiny brain of yours!" Oh dear. At least she's believably fickle - I phoned her up after the ruck and asked to see her and she says: "You know you can come around at any time you like." Chicks, eh?

There's a limited number of questions and answers on offer here, and the unbelievable and unbelievably unfunny dialogue doesn't help. Though the basic private eye mystery idea has potential for an adventure game, this version of it comes across as though it was written by a child, and fails to generate any emotion or even begin to suspend reality. To be honest, I couldn't care less who killed Dave Whatever.

The Bottom Line

Computerised interactive fiction lives or dies on its interface and its storyline, and Crime City's lousy in both respects. Need I say more?

Gary Penn

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