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Alcatraz

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Released: 1992

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Amiga 500

Publisher: Infogrames

Developer: 221b Software Productions

Submitted by: Mike Wilcox

U.S Navy SEALs operatives Bird and Stone are called into action, against a ruthless drug lord called Miguel Tardiez. Basing himself on Alcatraz Island, the former prison is now his base of operations for his various profiteering actions. It’s up to our two heroes to land on the island, infiltrate the compound, eliminate Tardiez’s henchmen, destroy the large caches of drugs, munitions and laundered money, and capture or kill Tardiez in a fight to the death. And, they have 2 hours to do it in.

Pretty cool storyline, huh? Well, Infogrames thought so when the game was made by 221B Software. Being a spiritual successor to their earlier game Hostages, Alcatraz works in, more or less, the same manor. The graphics have been excessively tweaked, much like the animation which is just as cool, since 1987, and look awesome, even a bit lifelike. You can still hide in the shadows, and you can change weapons when you do, which you pick up off the bad guys bodies after you’ve killed them, and range from grenades to knives, rifles and a flamethrower.

The controls are easy to master and you’ll never find yourself fighting them. Another thing, is that the gameplay changes from level to level. Most stages are side scrolling, but when you enter buildings, the perspective changes to first person, with a map underneath the playing area. This is where it gets a bit intense, as you’ll see the bad guys as arrows on the map, and you’re never sure how many are around the next corner, or even in various rooms, which are all shootable.

Add to that, a tight 2 hour time limit, and you’ve got a very challenging experience, that should be played more more people, as I feel it’s criminally overlooked, and its a shame, as it’s an ingrossing game that you can lose a lot of time in.