I GET a bit annoyed when games say, "Better than a movie, it's like being there!" on the cover. I'll be the judge of that, is my usual retort, but in Actionware's case I'll let them off. It's not like being there, but it is an enjoyable and addictive arcade game, so that's OK.
You are an enforcer, an Elliot Ness character, whose task in life is to splatter as many bad guys all over the pavement as humanly possible.
You control your pistol with either the mouse, or an Actionware Light Phaser, a gun shaped controller which plugs into the joystick port. Incidentally, these are available separately, not with the Capone game. They look just like the guns you get with the Sega console but won't work without conversion. When using the mouse, you move a target shaped cursor around the screen, position it on the person you are shooting at and push the left mouse button. With the gun controller, you obviously just aim and pull the trigger. A splat shows where you've hit the screen.
It's basically a sophisticated shooting gallery, with baddies popping up through windows along various streets, while the screen scrolls gently to the right. Along the route, a lot of innocent bystanders, which you must avoid shooting, get in the way. As the game progresses the time you get to decide whether a target is a baddie or a goodie gets shorter, until you are blasting away with gay abandon. Your skill at deciding the right targets, and your quickness with the trigger are important, but you must also be accurate.
There are only a limited number of bullets in your gun and replacement magazines, so you have to make every shell count. You have to be quick about shooting the baddies, too, because they're not just the normal cardboard cutouts of your regular shooting gallery. Nope, these dudes are packing heaters, or Chicago Pianos, and a few seconds after appearing will open fire.
You lose health points on a little slider indicator above your ammo count, and when this reaches zero you're a stiff. So the amount of points you get for any target is less the longer you leave it.
This is one way that the game gets harder as you go along, gradually working up to the stage where the screen is steadily filling with gangsters, all of whom are opening fire on you and dropping dynamite sticks which you have to shoot to blow up, plus a lot of pedestrians wandering aimlessly through the crossfire as though nothing was happening. You soon get to hate the bystanders, but you don't give in to blowing them away, since you lose a life for every one you kill. But there are things to help you.
There is a mystery object to shoot, which according to the rules gives you an extra 30,000 points and six new lives. Machine gun icons appear in each location, turning your pistol into a machine gun. This is nice for a while, especially when things get a little bit hectic, but the machine gun isn't to be recommended in the TNT store at the warehouse.
Capone sounds a fairly boring game on paper, and having read the cover of it I thought I was in for a bit of a yawnfest. But no, it is snappily designed, well worked out and addictive to play. There is not much variation in the gameplay itself, all you do is shoot people, but there's enough variation in sound and graphics design to hold your interest. The warehouse section, for example, instead of scrolling the action past you, sets it in three dimensions, with the thugs getting bigger as they get closer.
The sound effects throughout the game are good and loud, and lots of fun besides. There is a note in the instruction book, which says "The sound effects in Capone are real. For the best results connect your Amiga to a stereo system with good bass response and crank up the volume". What do they mean, 'real'? I suppose they could be sampled, but not from real life. They are all cartoon gun noises, all boom and peeow, not real gun sounds. They are good though, and played through the stereo they do sound great.
A classy act, and an addictive game which any age group will enjoy.