Prohibition (Infogrames) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

By Infogrames
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #48


Great, one of those Infogrames whodunnit strategy games. Break out the six pack and the family size Cheezy Munchees. Hang on, what's this? No whacky murder to solve? No clue hunting to do? What a bummer.

Prohibition is Infogrames' first outright shoot-'em-up. Why they should stray from the path that's brought them acclaim, I just don't know. Probably because the shoot-'em-up merchants are making more money.

The blurb goes something like this. The police have hired you to eliminate New York's criminal gangs because they can no longer cope with the crime rate - too busy watching Hill Street Blues. So you grab your trusty Tommy (not Tommy of Tips game) gun and make holes in as many pork pie hats as you can.


In reality, the game is even less of an exciting prospect. In front of you is a street of buildings with lots of windows. The aforementioned pork pie hats appear in them at intervals. So what do you do? Well, you simply shoot at them - no more, no less. It all has a more than passing resemblance to the rather dated coin-op Streetfight.

Shooting the villains is not as easy as it sounds. For a start, cine you're using a machine gun, your gunsight jerks all over the place, thus making accuracy difficult. Employing what's known as the Rambo technique simple pebbledashes walls, leaving the villains totally unscathed.

You have five seconds to find the villain and fill him fulla holes before he blasts back. In this, you're aided by an on-screen direction arrow and a countdown box. A few more seconds can be gained by pressing the spacebar - but you can't do that too often. Get blasted and you lose a life - I think. I say "I think" because there's no display of lives left, or ammo left, or strength left, or anything left. You simply carry on until the title screen pops up.

Anyway, so you carry on wasting mobsters. Predictably, villains get more difficult to hit. Some of them need a bucketful of bullets before they'll go down, whilst others crouch low just above a window ledge.

As you progress, you'll find villains in more unusual spots; one pops up from behind a wall, whilst another one makes a pretty good job of looking like a fire escape. When you've finished off all the villains in the street scene, you move into the building itself. I've never got this far, but I assume the strategy remains more or less the same.

I'm told that the Spectrum and Amstrad versions feature innocent victims and bystanders. These don't seem to have been implemented on the C64. Pity, shooting a few pedestrians might have been more fun than plugging mobsters.

Prohibition sets out to be a test of joystick rather than grey matter prowess. And when it's achieved this aim is questionable. It seems to me that no matter how well you line-up your target, hitting it is something arbitrary. This is annoying and doesn't inspire you with confidence to try harder next time, especially since the villains always appear in exactly the same sequence. How boring can you get?!

In mitigation, graphics are well up to Infogrames' standards and there's a reasonable tune that plays throughout. But none of this compensates for a game that's totally lacking in depth or sustained interest. We expect much more for the money - like a good murder.

Bohdan Buciak

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