A charity race is set in the streets from the California Highway Patrol, in order to find the best police driver (!).
Unfortunately, the infamous tram system seems to have total disregard for the race, and insists on trying to operate its usual service. Not only that, but the law-abiding public can be found non-chalantly trundling along the bumpy roads in their sedans...
The car has only two gears, High and Low (can be switched by pulling up or down and pressing fire on your joystick), enabling you to reach speeds of around 200Kmh (170Mph). You may start your race by choosing between two police cars, an old-style bi-coloured 70s Ford or a modern 90s Nissan ZX roadster. During the race, the only 'weapon' you have is your...horn! You can honk until cars ahead move out of your way (but this is not quite effective...). Oh, one last thing.... while dodging the trams and the traffic you also have to be ready for 45 degrees slopes and 90 degrees bends (that is why, San Francisco is being chosen! And remember, avoid driving in the middle of the road as much as possible because most of the annoying objects found on your way are in there (such as construction signs, oil leaks etc!). The corners were Cisco Heat's primary claim to arcade fame, an effect that marked it out from the other car race-based coin-ops.
Well Cisco Heat has a rather amateurish feel to it, it is far too short to provide a decent amount of enjoyment and in no way competes with similar racers such as, the Lotus series (by EA). But as an original (and quite famous) arcade title, we decided to include this game to our taste.
The Amiga conversion is technically ok compared to its arcade parent in terms of graphics and sound but some unique graphics details are missing too here (such as the ...dramatic double-decker bridge section found in the original). The graphics are colorful, but fail to offer a 3D feel of the trucks and cars you overtake (and surroundings i.e. buildings, trees). Both road and hills move along quite fast but the vehicles are poorly animated. The gameplay area is the bigger found among its competitors Atari ST and PC versions, which make the game more playable. But strangely enough, the game here runs a bit slower!
The sound features a nice introductory theme, a rather good, repetitive in-game tune and some sampled sounds FX. I expected more from the Amiga version considering its advanced sound capabilities and thus I give it here a small 7/10.