C64 Red Heat

Based on the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Jim Belushi action movie, you play as Arnie's character, a Russian policeman tracking down a brutal fugitive from Pinko justice, and .. zzzzzz. It wasn't a particularly good or interesting movie, and it certainly got the game it deserved.

The game itself is a beat 'em up, somewhat like Kung Fu Master, but the layout of the graphics is more reminiscent of The Ninja Warriors. The playable area takes up a third of the screen, and you only see the top half of each character - the character graphics are nicely detailed - inexplicably, your own Arnie character never has a shirt on, even though only the first level makes any sense for him to be topless - but that's the end of the good part.

You run from left to right (or right to left depending on the level) and must traverse a certain amount of background before finally getting to the end of the level. This is done by kicking ass, or at least punching and headbutting ass. Floods of bad guys come from the left and right and do their best to mess you up, so you need to time punches and headbutts well to avoid losing your health too quickly. While walking around, there are occasional items to pick up - a gun with limited shots, health pickups or activating one of three minigames.

The bad news is that "Red Heat" is as monotonous as it sounds. I was bored playing it on fast forward through the emulator, yet alone normal speed. There's four different levels with identical gameplay, a boss fight (you just have to repeatedly hit the same guy rather than only once or twice for normal characters), and the aforementioned minigames, and that's all you get. There certainly doesn't appear to be any ending to the game, as it loops back around to the layout of the first level again after completing the fourth, and the fact that the screen shows "LEVEL 00x" isn't encouraging.

Nice graphics, shame about the game.

Do the minigames save it? Take a good goddamned guess, Guido.

Game 1: You've got to waggle the joystick to crush a burning rock before it burns your hands (time runs out).
Game 2: A simplistic West Bank game - three doors open at random with good guys or bad guys in them - push left, fire or right to shoot the bad guys (but not the innocent bystanders that occasionally appear).
Game 3: A dollar bill is split into fragments, and pushing the button or various directions makes parts of it appear and disappear - work out how to make the entire bill appear before the time runs out.

You get a chance to play minigames at least once or twice each level, and the selection of a game appears to be random. They also aren't exactly worth enduring the rest of the game for, but at least their addition could be called a noble effort to add some variety to an otherwise painfully uninteresting game.

"Red Heat" is a classic example of the bad side of Ocean's (at the time) seemingly endless desire for movie licences. Bang together any old crap, slap a movie poster on the tape inlay and send it to the shops. The completely unsurprising and rather disappointing part is the way the vast majority of these games sold their asses off. I still can't understand why a game like "Total Recall" made number one in the UK charts, for example. Have you tried to play the C64 version of Total Recall?

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