Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Wild Streets (Amstrad CPC review)

Developer: Titus
Publisher: Titus
Released: 1989

Wild Streets is a beat-em-up that was later ported to the Amstrad GX4000 console (1990).

There's five levels and your job is to take down the organised crime gangs and rescue John Steven, head of the C.I.A. The fire button in conjunction with a d-pad direction allows for various attacks (such as kicks, punches and head butts) and you can also use your 357 Magnum gun (six bullets per level). By your side is a panther called Black Virgin that works independently to fight bad guys. The multi-use d-pad attacks work in a similar fashion to Ninja (1986, Atari 8-bit) and while the controls are fairly responsive they suffer from dodgy collision detection where your fist will clearly overlap with an opponent's sprite. The A.I. is atrocious and most of the time they prefer to punch thin air or stare into space! When you are actually taking a beating, your panther is useless and never seems to react. Enemies constantly respawn anyway so the best method is to exit the right-hand-side of the screen as quickly as possible. The easiest way is to avoid combat entirely by jumping over their heads but in some levels they also have no issue with you walking right past them! These are both cheap techniques but there's really no benefit in hanging around! At the tenth screen of every level you face a boss who must be defeated to progress. Due to the lack of combat so far you can easily defeat them by firing your unused gun; however, activating it is an exercise in frustration as it only works intermittently. Once you've rescued John Steven (who has no walking animation by the way!) you must then protect him by heading back through every single screen in the game; it's a mundane mission and this unnecessary repetition seems like an artificial way to extend the game's short length.
Wild Streets has zero redeeming qualities and there's nothing here that's even remotely entertaining or challenging. It's littered with inexcusable bugs and the glaring gameplay issues and broken combat system show that it wasn't play-tested prior to release.
Random trivia: This version at least has an ending screen which is lacking in the GX4000 port.

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