Somebody in this game hasn't quite got the right idea. Your average law breaker tends to steer clear of prisons in general. Criminals and prison cells. It's a bad combination.
But our Mr Big Baddie in this game has seen fit to break into a prison. Not out of prison like any normal, balanced public enemy, but into one. Alcatraz, strangely enough. Lucky for him that Alcatraz was deserted or he would've looked a proper charlie. So now he's running his drug cartel from within the fortified walls.
Obviously, this sort of disregard for common sense can't go unquestioned. This being the case, some blokes in suits decide that some blokes in combat trousers should sneak into the prison and shoot the bad guy. Democracy, eh?
The blokes in combat trousers, who are also lumbered with the rather crap names of First and Bird, are then dumped in a dinghy and given a hearty shove in the general direction of Alcatraz.
And when they finally drift ashore on Alcatraz Island, they find themselves armed only with nine throwing knives each. This is so they can infiltrate the prison without making too much noise. Unfortunately, as soon as any of the guards spot them, they let rip with guns, grenades and flame throwers, thus spoiling the surprise somewhat. Ho Hum.
Anyway, with all hell breaking loose, our two heroes must battle their way to various buildings in the Alcatraz complex and either nick evidence or blow them up. These sections are played in 3D, rather than the horizontal scrolling of the game, presumably to add to the atmosphere.
Alcatraz, it must be said, bears an almost uncanny resemblance to Hostages. This isn't surprising when you realise that Alcatraz is, to all intents and purposes, Hostages 2.
While this is undoubtedly a bit of a plus, seeing as how Hostages was and still is a stonking little game, it also brings to light the bad pints in Alcatraz.
You see, Alcatraz looks a hell of a lot like all the different sections in Hostages, but played in a different order. You've got the left to right bit, the 3D walk-around-
But whereas in Hostages the left to right bit was a pain in the rear end, in Alcatraz it is excellent. You can pick up a variety of weapons from downed guards and use them yourself. This, coupled with the screams and gunshots, makes this section quite a tasty little shoot-'em-up.
Its only real let downs are that the two player sprites are identical and you can only change weapons when you're hiding in the background, so you end up having to dodge behind doors while being shot to pieces, which is a bit of a chore in the middle of a fight.
At the end of each scrolly bit there's one of those "important" buildings where you switch to 3D. And true to Sod's law, whereas this was the best bit of Hostages, in Alcatraz it's a bit of a let down.
All the meaty weapons you collected outside are useless indoors, and well, let's be honest, RoboCop 3 did this tons better. What should have been the best section just feels a bit flat I'm afraid.
I can't comment on the abseiling bit as I've yet to find anybody who can actually do it. But it's probably like it was in Hostages - a tricky bit that you have to do to get to the next shooting match.
As a whole, Alcatraz is an improvement on Hostages. The simultaneous two-player option means that you can run around and shoot people with your mate, and teamwork is absolutely essential to success.
The scrolly shooty bits are absolutely brilliant, and the 3D bits are not quite as good, but still fun. All in all, a reet groovey little blaster and one that should keep you happy on a wet weekend. Well worth a look.