Not much gets close enough

The Untouchables logo

IF you think this is a game about the antiquated caste system in India then you have obviously been spending too much time in the arcades and not enough in the cinema. How anyone could miss the chance of seeing Sean Connery, probably the greatest actor to tread a board since Larry, is completely beyong my comprehension.

The game follows the plot of the film quite faithfully and is divided into six parts spread over two discs. The first of these levels has you as Elliot Ness poking around a warehouse looking for documented evidence to use against the felons.

Ness must shoot approximately half the population of Chicago before collecting enough pieces of paper. The interesting thing is that those who like to wade knee-deep in gore will not fare as well as the quick in and out artist. Hanging around to shoot at people only encourages more bad guys to join the fray.

Evidence collected, Ness now finds himself as sole agent trying to stop a consignment of bootleg alcohol. It can be confiscated by shooting the bottles, but watch out for the swelling ranks of henchmen who want to do some henching. This easily ranks as the most forgettable part of the game, closely followed by the next section.

In order to protect a star witness the Untouchables must rapidly make their way to the station. Instead of hailing a cab and inviting the driver to make all haste they decide to take a short-cut through the backstreets. This turns out to be not such a hot idea, as all makes and models of hoodlum pop out of the masonry in an attempt to get to grips with the law.

Members of your gang load up the pump-action and pop round the corner of the alley to blast off a couple of rounds, but when at last the work is done don't turn round, because you've got to keep moving - time is, as they say, of the essence.

At last you reach the station, and it was well worth it. The graphics in this part of the game are wonderful. The animation isn't anything terrific and neither are the sprites, but the background is incredibly well done.

A catastrophe has happened. A little sprog in his pram has accidentally started rolling down the steps and only our hero can save him, while simultaneously introducing the concept of annihilation to the several thousand bad guys who also turned up on the scene.

It is vitally important to stop the sprog from spilling his brains, so you'll have to nudge the pram past obstacles and passers-by until it reaches the bottom.
Actually the pram is quite a handy weapon - although it is easily overturned by Mr Average with no difficulty whatsoever if it runs across someone with a less than saintly background it will vapourise him. Obviously some sort of occult power.

Level five is pretty short. The witness has been taken hostage by one of the bad guys. You have just one bullet to make him see reason. If you miss it 's mop and bucket time for Mr Witness.

Finally chase the henchman across the roof of the court building. Duck into cover to reload and shoot pot plants for extra energy (don't ask me, I'm only the reviewer). If you are successful he will eventually get fed up and throw himself over the edge or something like that. And then you've done it - what a hero.

While the name may be untouchable the game certainly isn't. The graphics aren't excellent, the sound isn't terrific, but saving it from scorn and ridicule is the gameplay - it's very playable.
Other software houses should take note - this is how to do a film tie-in properly.


The Untouchables logo

Ocean £24.99 * Joystick or Keyboard

Chicago during the roaring '20s was one hell of a city. Alcohol was banned, the Mob had their fingers in just about every illegal pie in town and the police department were finding it hard to cope. Action was called for and the FBI's answer was to create a bunch of crime busters who had a free hand to use whatever methods they deemed fit to bring the situation under control. This bunch of characters was lead by Eliot Ness and were later to be known as The Untouchables.

As Eliot, it is down to you to lead the gang and go after the biggest fish of all: Al Capone. There are six stages to the game, the first of which is set in a ware house where Al's hoods are busy bootlegging liquor. In this section of the game you control Ness in a sideways scrolling shoot-em-up in which you have to blast away at not only the gangsters, but also Capone's bookkeepers. The aim of this section is to kill the bookkeepers and grab the pieces of evidence they drop.

You did not think it was going to be that easy, did you? Absolutely not, because the place is crawling with baddies all of whom are armed with machine guns and all of whom shoot to kill - every hit you take reduces your health meter displayed at the base of the screen. To slow down this process you can pick up the violin cases dropped by the baddies when they are shot. As well as extra energy, these cases can also contain extra ammunition and a time-based rapid fire benefit. Collect the 10 pieces of evidence and then you are into the next stage.

Here you are trying to prevent a liquor run that is taking place at the American/Canadian border. Again it is shooting action, but this time it is more like Operation Wolf as the baddies appear from behind cases and trucks in front of you. Shoot the baddies and the bottles of booze lying around and try not to take too many this, then when you have scored enough points you will go through the next stage.

In an alleyway you now have four Untouchables to switch between and a set number of men to kill in a very short space of time, using only a shotgun. Should you manage the required number, the next stage is just the same except from the other side of the alley (there are eight alleys in all, four from each side).

Next comes a viewed-from-above section of the game which is set in a train station where Ness not only has to shoot baddies, but also must guide a baby's pram through the station by nudging it gently past obstacles.

The penultimate scene has you trying to kill the last henchman who has takes a hostage before the poor innocent gets his brains blown out. Then you are into the final scene as you chase a baddie across the rooftops of the court where Capone is standing trial.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

Every stage and every section has been well designed and drawn and overall the game looks terrific. The different views for the different sections is a plus too and all the sprites are smoothly animated. The sound effects are also good, as is the in-game music, and you can toggle between the two at the press of a button.

LASTING INTEREST

This is a toughie - making it through each stage is a triumph in itself and it will take ages to complete the game. It is also very frustrating at times but that just makes it more addictive. The six sections work well together and although they would not stand up as games in their own right, they help to make the overall package very satisfying.

JUDGEMENT

The only minor quibble is the fact that there is an awful lot of shooting to be done. None of the levels are brilliant games in themselves, but put together they do work well and the overall effect is a brilliant translation of the film. It is not quite worth the Format Gold award simply because of a lack of variety on some levels. Still a goodie, and even if you did not get to see the film, but you like a challenge, you will enjoy this.


The Untouchables logo

Selbst in meinen kühnsten Träumen hätte ich mir niemals vorzustellen gewagt, dass man in einzigen Computerspiel soviel Blei verpulvern kann - aber bei der neuen Filmumsetzung von Ocean ist das dringend nötig...

Der Film stellte tatsächliche Begebenheiten aus dem Chicago der Zwanziger Jahre nach; Elliot Ness (nicht zu verwechseln mit Elliott, dem Schmunzelmonster, oder gar Nessie vom gleichnamigen Loch) und seine unbestechliche Truppe haben damals mit spektakulären Aktionen Al Capone's Gangstersyndikat aufgeräumt: Capone landete im Kittchen, die meisten seiner Männer unter der Erde.

Im Spiel muss sich unser Superbulle in Level I durch ein Lagerhaus voll mit geschmuggeltem Schnaps kämpfen. Im Gegensatz zum Film, wo diese Aktion ein Fehlschlag war, kann der Spieler hier Papiere von Al's Buchhaltern einsammeln, die als Beweismittel dienen (Pfeile weisen den Weg dorthin). Die Gegner hinterlassen bei ihrem Hinscheiden reichlich Extras, wodurch man wieder mehr Munition (das Wichtigste im ganzen Spiel!), Energie und Zeit erhält. Das Rumgehüpfe auf den vielen Kisten macht durchaus Spaß - wenn man's überlebt! Sind dann alle Papierenen beieinander, geht's ab zum zweiten Szenario, dem Überfall auf der Brücke.

Hier besteht die Aufgabe darin, Alkoholschmuggler an der kanadischen Grenze zu schnappen, ach was sag ich, zu killen: Über den Boden rollend, ballert man mit voller Kraft und Zielfernrohr auf die bösen Wichte. Zur Abwechslung gibt's diesmal Alkohol zum Einsammeln, leider nur in seiner digitalisierten Form. Aber wir wollten ja eh' in erster Linie die notleidenden Bleibergwerke unterstützen! Also kämpfen wir uns im dritten Level durch die Gassen von Windy City, retten im vierten einen Kinderwagen samt Baby und verpassen noch schnell einem Geiselnehmer den finalen Todesschuss. Durch Berge von Patronenhülsen watet man zum sechsten und letzten Level, um den Mörder des Kollegen Malone (im Film von Sean Connery verkörpert) zur Rechenschaft zu ziehen.

The Untouchables ist ein reinrassiges Action-Game, und zwar eins von der rauhen Sorte, das manchmal böse an gewisse indizierte Spiele erinnert. Nichtsdestotrotz ist es handwerklich gut gemacht, recht viel besser kann eine Filmumsetzung eigentlich gar nicht mehr sein. Einzig die story-Übergänge zwischen den einzelnen Handlungssequenzen sollte Ocean noch einbauen (wie beim nicht ganz so guten "Ghostbusters II" von Activision). Top sind auf alle Fälle Grafik, Animation, Scrolling und Sound, ja überhaupt die ganze Machart. Es ist auch ständig Spannung da, durch das Zeitlimit wirkt die Handlung sehr realistisch (fast schon zu sehr). Dennoch kommt das Game nicht ganz an "Batman" heran, dafür gleichen einige Level einander zu sehr, darüber hinaus sind die Level zwei, drei und fünf "Cabal"-Clones. (mm)


The Untouchables logo ZERO Hero

If the poll tax worries you, spare a thought for the people caught tax dodging in the 130s. Tax inspectors then were more likely to fill you with lead than ask you nicely to hand over the dosh. Sean Kelly promises to fill in his registration form just as soon as he's finished playing Ocean's brill new game The Untouchables.

Prohibition Chicago can't have been a brilliant place to live according to The Untouchables movie. For a start all the girlies wore shower caps with sequins on and did a stupid 'dance' called the Charleston, and what was even worse - booze was banned! But this didn't stop some wily scamps from making their own, or even importing it illegally. And though the liquor made a massive profit for the importer, it was just as likely to taste like diesel oil and hit your stomach like a lethal dose of paint stripper.

The government set about capturing rascals like Al Capone, who was a booze importer and also pretty handy with a baseball bat. He made millions out of illegally selling alcohol, but no one could pin a single crime on him. The odd carnation, but not a single eensy weensy little crime.

No one that is, until Eliot Ness formed his band of 'Untouchables' and eventually nailed Capone for tax evasion, of all things.

Now ocean has made a game of the movie so it's not surprising that The Untouchables game concentrates on this aspect. Six of the major scenes have been adapted and pack in almost as many gut wrenchin' bullet blasting frames as were in the whole movie. Lights... Camera... Action...

Level one is an adaptation of the warehouse raid which occurs fairly early on in the film. Ness hasn't even recruited his 'Untouchables' so he's on his own for this one. It's quite a straightforward platform and ladders-type game, in which Ness must find and shoot 10 ledger-carrying bad guys, and collect the ledgers they drop. These ledgers contain vital information pertaining to Al Capone's jolly little tax wheezes. But there's no time for Ness to mess around them 'cos he's working against a clock which can make the minutes bullet by.

An arrow indicates where the ledger carrier is and this helps matters slightly. Pranging him is a different bottle of illicit gin altogether though, 'cos he keeps running away, and leaping up and down the packing crates in a bid to avoid capture. Ness isn't helped by the fact that Capone's mob have a liberal 'bullet allowance' in their wage, and all seem more than happy to share it with him. Collecting violin cases dropped by wasted baddies though, helps Ness upgrade his weapons and provides him with enough energy and ammunition to complete the level.

A BRIDGE TOO FAR...
Level Two finds Ness in the process of intercepting a cross border smuggling attempt, and being engaged in a gun battle with yet more of Capone's mob. To the untrained eye this level might look like an Oppo Wolf rip-off, but crikey no! 'Cos here your gunsight is viewed through a pair of binoculars at the bottom of the screen and the main aim of this section is not to puncture Capone's cronies but to shoot 50 bottles of booze within the time limit. Of course, Capone's lot get in the way, and in their own inconsiderate style, keep shooting and chucking bottles at you. Luckily for you, every so often a first aid box pops up which will restore his energy if he manages to shoot it.

ALLEY MENTALLY
By Level Three Ness has gathered together the rest of the 'ver lads' to reform his Untouchables team. But two of them are pinned down in some back alleys by Capone's men and need to be used in rotation to take on the baddies.

One of the characters must duck out from behind a wall, fire two shots, and then duck back behind for cover to reload his gun. If one sprite gets hit several times, it's best to change character, allowing the first to rebuild his energy supplies. In each alley a number of enemies must be wiped within a set time to progress onto the next alley near the train station where Capone's accountant is about to escape in the final eight alley. Capone himself must be taken on and beaten to progress to the next level.

BOUNCING BABIES
Yus indeed, and they don't come any bouncier than this one. Let me explain. This level is based on the railway station scene where Ness and Stone have to take out billions of baddies whilst preventing a baby in its pram bouncing down the stairs to its death or getting shot on the way. Baddies must be shot of course, but innocent bystanders must be avoided, as killing them will drain your energy.

It's a view from above jobbie and no doubt some of you might be muttering Commando under your breath at the sight of this section. Well, yes, but yer intrepid Rambo type never had to do the baby sitting at the same time, did he? If you push the pram too hard or the baby gets shot, then a brilliantly gross sequence follows when the baby, splattered with blood, comes bouncing out of the pram and skids straight across the floor. Bleuch!

'THE BRAIN ARRIVING ON PLATFORM FIVE...'
This is what you might call a pico level. It's a straightforward shot blaster - again taken from the film's train station sequence. Seen from a first person perspective, Stone has just one shot to 'apprehend' (i.e. kill) a baddie who's taken Capone's accountant (you know, the one who's been trying to escape via the train station for the last two levels) hostage. Miss and the hostage buys it, hit and there's baddie brains all over the place.

THE NITTI GRITTI
Here's the last bit of mayhem - very similar to Level Three. This time Frank Nitti, Capone's main henchman, is pursued across the rooftops by Ness. Each time Ness hits Nitti, he gets a little closer to him, and Nitti I forced closer to the edge of the building. Shoot Nitti six times and he plunges over the edge, to end up, as Ness puts it in the film 'in the car'. Ho ho ho... very droll.

Amiga reviewSean: Am I dreaming? I must be dreaming, it's just not possible. Surely no one could squeeze that much astounding playability and coding into a modest wee Amiga. Hang about, I'll pinch myself to check. YARRGH! By gonad - I'm not dreaming!

Now readers, sorry for all the drooling, but it's not often that you come across what is probably going to be remembered as the best, most original shoot 'em up ever on the Amiga. I can think of no other way of putting it - The Untouchables is absolutely stunning. Right now, calm down and when you're sitting comfortably I'll go through all the various aspects rationally to give you an idea why The Untouchables is sooooo good. Right...

Firstly, and most importantly of all, there's the gameplay. Programmers Special FX have taken some fairly old ideas for the various sections, thrown in some completely original ideas of their own, and in every case come up with thoroughly absorbing gameplay. Take the bridge section for example. Although it looks like Operation Wolf, rather than shooting everything in sight continually, the player spends more time rolling Ness around and avoid being hit, whilst firing away in staccato bursts to hit the bottles and first aid kits. The third section - the alleyway - is definitely my personal favourite. Again, a kind of Prohibition derivative as you guide the sights over the enemy before blasting them away, but also enhanced to improve it.

This time the enhancement is in the fact that you're working against the clock with just two bullets to fire before being forced to duck behind the wall (for reloading). This gives the game a real sense of urgency and momentum which really had me gripped, and the little sequence showing the detail as Ness reloads each time, perfectly completes this excellent section.

And then there's the graphics. You will see from the accompanying screenshots just how excellent these are. Special FX have been working since the beginning of this year on The Untouchables and it certainly shows. Every section is finely detailed (just check out the details of Ness and the pram from level four) and although it sounds pseud - I can only describe the backgrounds and sprites as 'elegant and exquisite'. (Lordy! Ed.)

Then, of course, you have to take into account the variety. Each of the sections stands up as a little game in its own right (with the exception of the pico level) the first being an excellent platformy ladders game, the third an outstanding Prohibition variation, and so on. The game also brilliantly complements the movie though that's really neither here nor there, but the fact is that the mood and atmosphere of the film are captured here as perfectly as any computer adaptation of a movie is ever likely to do.

It's difficult to explain why exactly The Untouchables improves on so many old game formulas in such dramatic style. Certainly screenshots don't do the playability justice. But without doubt, The Untouchables is the best game Ocean has ever produced, and the best game Special FX have ever programmed.

Atari ST reviewJackie: You know how it is with film licences. The software companies spend so much moolah on the licences themselves that when it comes to actually putting the game together, there's just about enough money left over to pay a programmer to program it. Thankfully, though, this isn't the case with The Untouchables. Ocean has made a real effort to get this one right and so they should have done - 'cos they've had the licence for a year. Special FX, the authors of such stonkers as Batman: The Caped Crusader have done the coding and come up with the goods. The Untouchables is, quite simply, brill.

Several game types have been adapted to make up six levels to play through, but they all have enough new ideas and elements thrown in to destroy any suspicions of staleness. Each of the sections is perfectly self-contained but at the same time they work well together and go to make a surprisingly coherent whole. It's a brill adaptation of one of my favourite movies and just like the movie, there are moments of intense mayhem followed by quiet, tense lulls in the battling. But there's no time for fingerdrumming 'cos the lulls are filled with reloading your gun or hunting for enemies lurking above, below or to the side of you, depending which level you are playing.

The graphics are outstanding in every respect - apart from the fact that the Ness sprite didn't look enough like gorgeous Kevin Costner (who played the treasury man in the movie and who could check my taxable assets any day) in my humble opinion. But overall they were amazingly detailed and thoughtfully coloured and the sprites were really smoothly animated. One thing which I did find initially, was that the game was a bit tricky to get to grips with. But once I'd got the hang of it, really opened up and I soon found myself dribbling uncontrollably and giggling with glee as each hood got a terminal puncture.

Ocean and Special FX have really done a fantastic job and I reckon it'll be quite a while before we see a shoot 'em up and film tie-in as good as this one. Better than a concrete overcoat! Stop


WHO'S WHO IN THE UNTOUCHABLES
All the gossip on all the major characters with er... some 'elements' of truth.
The Untouchables: Photo of Kevin Costner as Ness The Untouchables: Photo of Sean Connery as Malone The Untouchables: Photo of Charles Martin Smit as Wallis The Untouchables: Photo of Andy Garcia as Stone
NESS. The greatest American policeman of them all - he nicked Al Capone, captured King Kong and exposed the Watergate and Iron Centre scandals, before dying of acute lepresy in Fuengirola three months ago. MALONE. The greatest Irish-American uniformed policeman ever. Apparently he lived on a diet of codfins and Tizer until he prolonged death which you'll can see in full, gory detail at the end of the movie. WALLIS. The one no one can remember. He was the greatest tax collector ever since Saint Peter. Into reading tax books in a big way, he died a millionaire and bequethed his entire library to the President. STONE. The greatest American-Italian policeman ever. He set out on a quest to find Malone, but no one told him the old bugger had been dead for years. He was later found in the Congo overcome by Candiru fish. Ouch!
Three Mildly Interesting Untouchables Facts
1 Over 11 pints of Sainsbury's Italian Recipe tomato ketchup were used in the famous gory Malone/Sean Connery death scene.
2 Apparently the ex-007 spent weeks cultivating an authentic accent for his part as Malone, the streetwise Irish cop - in the end it sounded just like his James Bond and Indy Jones Snr (i.e. bread Scots).
3 Al Capone was caught and eventually sent to Devil's Island where he spent the rest of his days with his mates Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, until they, er, escaped.

A ness-essary purchase?

The Untouchables logo Zzap! Sizzler

Ocean, Amiga £24.95

Four months after C64 Untouchables won a Gold Medal for capturing Al Capone, the gangster has escaped onto the Amiga. Once again vast profits from illegally importing and selling alcohol, banned by the Prohibition laws, has allowed him to totally corrupt the police of Chicago. But the sheer flamboyance of his rule over the city has drawn the attention from national government, and FBI agent Eliot Ness is sent to put him away.

Mr. Clean's first raid is on a warehouse crammed with crooks armed with Thompson machine guns. Ness's police escort soon take fright and leave him alone to face overwhelming odds. But also in the warehouse are ten of Capone's accountants. An arrow points to the nearest of these, and if he's shot a ledger is dropped - collect it for vital evidence. Getting all the evidence won't be easy, however, energy and bullets are both limited. Fortunately, many of the crooks drop violin cases containing extra ammo, life force, and a gadget which gives you rapid fire for a while.

After his betrayal in the warehouse raid, Ness forms a team of incorruptible cops: Stone, Malone, and Wallace (an accountant!). Their first mission is to catch gangsters smuggling alcohol over a bridge from Canada. Unlike the C64 game you can only control Ness who, armed with a sniper rifle, rolls from left to right across a horizontally scrolling screen packed with gangsters. 50 Bottles of liquor must be shot. First aid kits restore energy when shot. Fortunately if you die on any of the levels (except five), you can restart the current level.

After winning the bridge battle, Ness learns Capone's top accountant is trying to leave Chicago. The Untouchables race toward the railway station, but are ambushed in the alleys. There are eight alleys: in each you must shoot a certain number of gangsters inside a very tight time limit. You can hide behind a wall to reload your shotgun and switch between Malone and Wallace.

Survive this extremely tough ambush, and Ness arrives in the railway station to see an abandoned pram rolling down a very long staircase. Ness must ensure it doesn't hit any obstacles - spilling the baby out to its death - while simultaneously shooting an endless stream of gangsters. Make it to the bottom of the staircase and you find one of the gangsters has taken the accountant hostage. This is level five, and you have just a couple of seconds to shoot the gangster in this first-person perspective, RoboCop-style screen. Fail and the accountant is killed, sending you back to the start of level four.

Once the accountant is caught his evidence puts Capone away. But one of his accomplices has got away: Ness chases him onto the roof of a building. This level is similar to the alley scene, with Ness armed with a six-shooter. As the crook pops out of his hiding place shoot him and, after a bit, he'll make a dash across the roof. Shoot him repeatedly and he's thrown nearer the building's edge. Eventually he's thrown over the side - and that should be the end for Capone for good!


Phil King Okay, so everyone else has gone on about the C64-comparison, but how is it as a straight Amiga game? The first level is a little disappointing, a bit too simple, but still very playable with good graphics (an improvement on the STs!). Level two is also well presented but thankfully tougher, as are the two excellent shootout scenes. My favourite level, though, is the morbidly funny 'save the baby' scene - but how come a bullet injures the poor mite, while overturning the pram kills him instantly?
As you can see there's a lot to the game. Uniquely each level is a game in its own right. The fact that once you get on a level, you stay there until you complete it has allowed the programmer to make some of them very tough, although wimps may be assured there is a great cheat allowing you to play whatever level you want - the Hogg will reveal it as soon as possible. Considering the fact that there's so much variety - and not a single weak subgame - I'd say this gives Op Thunderbolt a good run for its money, in the single-player shoot-'em-up stakes at least!
Robin Hogg This is one tough game, that's for sure! Special FX have made the Amiga version a lot faster paced with a true arcade action feel to it. Tactical elements present in the 64 game have been take out to enhance the overall playability, although the game complexity takes a knock in the process (witness the omission of the ability to swap between men on the bridge scene). The first level is disappointing, although the graphics are detailed. Keep with it, though, and you're rewarded with a superb variety of gameplay, even better graphics and some great samples (although the ragtime tunes aren't so hot).
Probably my favorite level is the alley scene - it's unbelievably tough. The first alley's time limit seems to pass in an eye-blink! And when you get the hood armed with a machine gun blasting away... I also love the railway station levels with their superb graphics.
The 64 game was a real value-for-money fun package of different game styles and there's no reason to say otherwise with the Amiga game.
Stuart Wynne Special FX have done a lot more than simply producing 16-bit graphics for the Amiga version of the Gold Medal-winning C64 game. The whole game structure has been subtly changed and speeded up. Level one, for instance, has a considerably smaller map so you hardly need to do any climbing. This removes the tactical element, but to compensate the men are about three times as big and fire a lot faster. Ammunition is no longer unlimited as well, making the level a lot faster to play, easier to get into, and not as tough to beat. Level two is also faster: you never need to use the telescopic sight so it's more of an Op Thunderbolt game. As a consequence the game has a more intense arcade feel. The brightly coloured graphics reflect this. So while it lacks the C64's atmosphere - and isn't as technically stunning - it's still an excellent game.