In Cisco Heat you race across the streets of San Francisco in a five levels race against fellow police officers! The game was originally released for the arcades by Jaleco in 1990 and converted to the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore C64/128, Amstrad CPC, Sinclair ZX and DOS in 1992.
STORY / GAMEPLAY A charity race is set on the streets of California US! Unfortunately, the Tram Services seem to have total disregard for this race and insist on trying to operate their usual routes. Not only that, but the law-abiding public can be found trundling along the bumpy roads in their sedan cars! Your police car has only two gears: High and Low (can be switched by pulling up or down and pressing fire on your joystick or by hitting spacebar), enabling you to reach speeds of around 200 km/h (170 M/ph). You can start your race by choosing between two police cars, a 70s style bi-colored 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 every time). 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 many road block objects are set on your way (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 race-based coin-ops. Well, Cisco Heat has a rather amateurish feel, it is far too short to provide a decent amount of joy and in no way competes with similar racers. But as an original (and quite famous) arcade title, we decided to include this game on our list.
GRAPHICS / SOUND The Amiga conversion is technically OK compared to the arcade, in terms of graphics and sound, but some unique graphics details are missing (such as the dramatic double-decker bridge section found on the original). The visuals are colorful but fail to offer a 3D feel of the trucks and cars you overtake (plus the surroundings i.e. buildings, trees etc). Both roads and hills move quite fast but the vehicles are poorly animated. The Amiga gameplay area is the largest among its competitors Atari ST and DOS versions, which makes the game more playable. But strangely enough, the game runs a bit slower! The sound features a nice introductory theme, a rather good but repetitive in-game tune and some sampled sounds. NOTE: I expected more from the Amiga version considering its advanced sound capabilities and thus I give it here a 7/10.
GAMEPLAY SAMPLE VIDEO On our video below, you may watch the Atari ST, Amiga and MS DOS versions of the game!
CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM. GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once). SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs