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Fällt Euch auf Anhieb irgendein Kinoerfolg der lezten Zeit ein, der noch nicht versoftet würde? Aha. Und wieviele Filmumsetzungen kennt Ihr, von denen man behaupten kann, daß sich der ganze Aufwand auch wirklich gelohnt hat?

Über den Film schrieben die Kritiker "Außen hui, innen pfui". Nun, so gesehen ist die Konvertierung wirklich 1:1 gelungen. Bereits im ersten Bild wird man von stimmungsvoller Barmusik und farbenprächtiger, aber ziemlich grober Grafik in Comic-Manier empfangen. Am linken Screenrand steht ein riesiges Sprite - Dick Tracy.

Laut Packungsaufschrift soll man den Jungen durch 60 Level voller Action begleiten, doch sobald er sich in Bewegung setzt, kommen einem daran erste Zweifel. Wie soll ein solcher Zappelphilipp bloß mit all den bösen Gangstern fertigwerden?

Anfangs klappt es noch bestaunlich gut, da beim eindlosen Marsch von links nach rechts zunächst nur vereinzelt auf Gegner stößt, die sich auch recht willig umhauen bzw. -ballern lassen. Doch mit der Zahl der Feinde wachsen auch die Probleme: Wenn Mr. Tracy beschossen wird, läßt er sich nicht mehr steuern, kann also auch nicht ausweichen; gerät er gar zwischen zwei Gegner, hat er kaum noch eine Überlebenschance.

Dazu ist die Kollisionsabfrage alles andere als optimal, wenn man z.B. zu nahe bei einem Feind oder "zwischen den Screens" steht (gescrollt wird nicht), ignorieren die Verbrecher die Kugeln unseres Helden. Daß die einfallslose Gangsterhatz mit der heißen Nadel gestrickt wurde, merkt man auch daran, daß die Continue-Option nur dan auftaucht, wenn dem Rechner zufälligerweise gerade danach ist... (od)

Dick Tracy logo

Like Good Morning Vietnam, Dick Tracy was one of those Disney films released through its 'maturer' offspring, Touchstone Pictures. The game marks the debut for Disney on an own-name label. Mark Patterson looks at program number one...

Dick Tracy the movie was an accurate and clever adaptation of Chester Gould's classic comic strip. The game couldn't be more different. Gone is the kind, sensitive, intelligent Dick of the comics and movie: in its place is a trigger-happy yellow-coated Robocop whose only aim ist to shoot anyone who gets in his way - in fact, the cop-out gameplay in this simple horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up could have been used for any character, whether it be Robin Hood, Alien, or Superman.

The graphics are as weak and as thin as Dick's objectives. Tracy looks almost passable, until he moves. Utilising four fames of animation every two steps, our yellow-coated hero starts his arresting mission on the left side of the screen and has to cut his way through enemy ranks to leave on the right side, and a flick-screen system is used to depict the levels. Unfortunately, though, the favourite hideout for the bad guys seems to be in each border - an area which allows them to shoot you, without you being able to retaliate. Likewise, if Dick is standing too close to a character when he fires, his gun will shoot past them, even though they can still sap your energy.

Every time Dick is shot you temporarily lose control as he recoils. Your energy is subsequently reduced and when this expires it is game over. However, one of the game's biggest faults is that avoiding enemy bullets is a very hit and miss affair, and this means that skill isn't needed to complete the game, only luck.

I can appreciate that the programmers were trying to keep the seven colour style of the film, but the Amstrad-style colours used are just too gaudy and give the game a bland appearance. The end-of-level bosses are only recognisable thanks to the addition of a small piccy at the bottom of the screen.

Film tie-ins should take key scenes from the movie they are based on - as seen in Robocop II or Batman - and use different game styles to depict the action. Thanks to the lack of this variety and the quality of its graphics, sound and playability, Dick Tracy rates as something of a disappointment for first 'true Disney' game. There's bags of potential from this stable so let's hope that the next one's better.

Dick Tracy logo

Empire, C64 £10.99 cassette, £15.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

Warren Beatty's extravagant film version of the comic strip legend featured Madonna, Al Pacino and some spectacular cinematography.

Unfortunately however good Tracy looked, the plot was a bit limp -a basic 'bad guys trying to take over New York' effort.

The computer game represents the bit in the film where Tracy's sweetheart, Tess Trueheart, has been kidnapped and Dick comes to the rescue.

The action takes the form of a flickscreen shoot-'em-up with five levels of a dozen or so screens each. Initially unarmed Tracy can pick up guns and grenades from hoods who he punched to the ground. As the game progresses the hoods get sneakier, sniping from windows and throwing petrol bombs from speeding cars.

Phil King Look, I know this is meant to be a period piece, but did that have to extend to prehistoric programming?! It's astonishingly bad. Both versions suffer from feature-length multiloads and pathetic gameplay: keep running along, shooting any baddies in your way. The Amiga game is ridiculously easy: even the end-of-level gangsters are total wimps - just shoot at them for a couple of seconds and they surrender! It also features an ear-wrenching soundtrack and primitive animation. On the C64 the backdrops are deadly dull and the sprites so blocky it looks like the villains have already been set in concrete!
Stuart Wynne Tracy is an even worse game than film, with incredibly simplistic gameplay consisting simply of walking right and shooting baddies. The execution of this idea is abominable with flickscreen scrolling on both versions and some very poor animation. The C64 suffers atrocious graphics, but all the Amiga's fancy presentation screens mean its multiloading is almost irritaring on the C64. Warren should sue.