1933s Chicago was a city gripped by prohibition. The only way you could get a drink was by frequenting a Mafia-run speakeasy, or brewing some of your own illegal moonshine. Today in the UK it couldn't be more different, with anyone over 12 years old practically forced to consume copious amounts of alcopops and imported lager by ceaseless advertising and peer pressure. Which, in the case of Chicago 1930 is a good thing, as the only way you're likely to get any sort of tangible enjoyment from this game is to play it while you're horribly drunk.
Chicago 1930 puts you in charge of a small group of either Mafia hoodlums or FBI officers. You then lead this hand-picked team on missions to either wrest control of the city from rival gangs, or to clean the place up, depending on your side.
The action is in real-time, with you commanding your team to go about its task, whether it be to capture a mob boss alive or waste a load of rival hoods. Essentially, Chicago 1930 is Commandos in pinstripe suits. Granted, the emphasis is a little more on puzzle solving, but like Desperados before it (Commandos in the Wild West, also by developer Spellbound),
Chicago 1930 feels like an imitation, and a paltry one at that.
There are two fundamental issues at play as to why this is a must-not-have title. The first is Chicago's amateurish lack of quality, which is abundantly evident right from the start. You pick up an object, but you have no idea what it is: no tips, no help. You drag away the corpse the police are photographing, but they continue snapping away at an empty floor.
Want more? Well, you also get punched unconscious by a hoodlum, yet the game says you've been 'inadvertently' knocked out. Plus, you have a vicious fist-fight with one thug, while the other, standing about five feet away, doesn't notice because he has his back turned. It's gut-churningly poor. Even telling friend from foe is a nightmare when your team and the similarly suited enemy are clustered in the same room.
But the second, more important issue is that everything is so irredeemably tedious. Fighting: a crap mouse click-fest. The puzzles: either elementary and signposted, or inscrutable and illogical. The humour: German. It's one of those games that you want to stop playing almost as soon as you start. Summoning up the patience to graduate from the first level alone is a mammoth task.
Okay, it's got some nice ideas - every character you meet has an attitude symbol displayed above their head, as well as a 'wanted' status which shows whether you can get away with arbitrarily blowing their brains out or not. And the music, lighting and sets do capture the mood well enough.
Our advice? Don't buy it. But if you don't believe us and are bizarrely fascinated by the prospect of an archaic gangster-themed RTS hybrid, then play the demo first to see just how bad it really is.
Download Chicago 1930
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP