Entertainment. (1991 Compute Choice Awards) (evaluation)
Access pushes the limits of arcade with Crime Wave, its second game to use digitized actors, sets, and sounds. This time around, a powerful crime syndicate controls large sections of major American cities. Now it has kidnapped the President's daughter--and it's your job to rescue her.
Like Mean Streets, Access's other Choice winner, Crime Wave features digitized, animated characters that speak to you using RealSound technology. But the story sequences are just window dressing. The heart of the game lies in its fast-action arcade sequences.
You've seldom seen graphics like this outside of the arcade. Digitized characters leap, run, and plunge across the screen unleashing a hail of bullets and rockets. You, as Lucas McCabe, crime fighter, must blow the bad guys out of existence (this game also sets new standards for graphic violence in a computer game). The graphics are photo-realistic, and the sound will have you ducking gunfire--a far cry from the bleeps and bloops most people without sound cards are used to hearing.
Their Finest Hour
The fortunes of aerial combat change quickly in LucasFilm's outstanding aircombat simulation, Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain. You become a participant in that aerial battlefield during the summer of 1940, when the German Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Force battled for air supremacy over the English Channel.
Sit in the cockpit of a Spitfire or Hurricane, or fight the war from the German side in a Messerschmitt Bf 109, ME 110 fighter-bomber, or any of four Luftwaffe bombers. Act as pilot, gunner, or bombardier; or switch among all three. Fly more than 50 historically accurate missions.
In addition to its numerous missions and game options, Battle of Britain is a winner because it puts you in the heat of the action with remarkable detail. If you fly close to a bomber, you can watch its bombs fall toward the target. Red tracer bullets leap from your machine guns, and hits on enemy planes are marked by smoke and flying debris.
This great simulation doesn't require hours of training. But its nonstop action, numerous missions, and attention to detail mean of fun.
Even as the Cold War ground toward its inevitable close, one of the most sophisticated war games ever produced burst upon the scene. Despite a variety of bugs in its earliest releases, Harpoon lifted computer strategy games to new heights, delivering a complexity and depth of play quite unlike anything else released during the year.
Taking as its venue the Greenland/Iceland/United Kingdom gap, long thought likely to be an area of strategic significance during a superpower confrontation, Harpoon gives players control of the ships, aircraft, personnel, and technologies that lie at the heart of modern warfare. Submarines and surface craft, fighters and bombers, and surveillance ships and planes must all be coordinated in an effort to defeat an equally well-armed enemy. A thoughtfully designed, mouse-driven interface makes issuing commands and calling for information simple.
With all bugs long fixed and additional scenario disks released and others planned, Harpoon should set the computer strategy standard for some time to come.
Mean Streets is the first game to feature both full 256-color VGA graphics and Access's patent-pending RealSound digitized music and speech. But there's a lot more to Mean Streets than just impressive graphics and sound.
A detective story set in the twenty-first century, Mean Streets puts you in the shoes of Tex Murphy, Private Investigator. At the start of the story, you learn that Professor Linsky has taken a dive off the Golden Gate Bridge. The police think it was a suicide; Linsky's daughter thinks it was murder. On your way to finding out the real story behind the prof's untimely demise, you'll drive a flying sports car, dodge bullets in arcade-style gunfights, interview thugs, and search a number of locations for clues. Three-dimensional adventure-game screens and digitized actors playing the various characters in the game make this a standout adventure game.
PGA Tour Golf
The key to any sports simulation lies in its ability to mimic the real thing. Most golf games pin their hopes on copying famous courses and offering PC duffers a choice of clubs. Some go so far as to include wind and other environmental factors. PGA Tour Golf does all of these things and goes one better: It puts you on the professional tour, where you play against the big boys.
Graphically, the game is a pleasure to watch. That pleasure is enhanced with fly-by views of each hole, accompanied by a tip from a top PGA golfer. Beginning at the pin, the camera rolls back down the fairway toward the tee, illuminating the approach to the green and the hazards that threaten your success.
But it isn't the graphics that bring PGA Tour Golf its COMPUTE Choice Award. It all goes back to realism, the hallmark of any great sports simulation. Whether you chip in from 13 yards out, punch the ball low out of the rough, or putt the ball from the fringe of the green, this game captures every stroke.