Miami Vice

Publisher: Ocean
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Computer & Video Games #60

Miami Vice

Bringing the slick, black Ferrari to a screeching halt, I drew my shiny .45 and kicked down the door. Dammit. The punks had obviously been wise to my subtle entrance and had blown out of the place. Back in the car, wise-ass Tubbs gave me a quizzical look. I donned my Ray Bans for the umpteenth time and drove off, looking as moody as possible.

The game has arrived. The ultimate game for would-be dudes, Miami Vice is about the hippest game to appear for a long, long time. Set - amazingly enough - in the blistering heat of Florida, the game features you (as Crockett or Tubbs) on the trail of a big, bad drug smuggler.

The screen has two main modes, the first is a bird's-eye view of the streets and buildings of Miami, showing your amazingly cool jet-black convertible and the other cars "crusin' the high streets" (man!). This is probably the most important part of the game to get to grips with. I mean, you can hardly catch the bad guys in a high-speed chase if you continually bash your car into any palm tree or building in sight.

Miami Vice

Driving the car is very difficult indeed. Travelling in straight lines is easy enough, but those flashy turns which Sonny manages to perform with such ease on TV are devilishly difficult.

You accelerate by pushing forward with the stick, and decelerate by pulling back. Right and left turns are achieved by moving the stick right and left respectively.

These movements remain the same no matter which way you are facing. This makes life more than somewhat complicated.

Miami Vice

For example, if you are travelling down the screen, moving the stick right will cause you to turn and head left. It's all very sensible if you can imagine being inside the car all the time, but at high speeds this isn't always possible.

Music is really quite good. The original theme plays when you are in the car (available in a record store near you!) and even plinks moodily away when you enter a building.

When you have decided to check out a particular building, you must drive to it, park and then decide if you want Sonny or Ricardo to enter. Once you've done this, the screen changes to reveal the inside of the joint. Subtlety goes straight out of the window, and you pace around the various rooms with your gun aloft and at arms length. Any evidence which is left lying around will be displayed as a sack on the floor. Thankfully, Ocean has refrained from writing "Swag" on it.

To help you get started, Ocean has included a schedule for Monday (it's played against the clock - one second real time equals one minute game time) showing where possible deals may be going down. On your trail to Mr J you will probably come across numerous punks who will need to spend some time in City Hall, in cuffs to "chill out".

Miami Vice isn't a mega-game. It will probably sell more on its name than its addictiveness, but it is a good program, professionally put together and fun to play.