Narco Police is a 3rd person action shooter with a mix of pseudo-3D tunnels, texture mapping and 2D sprites. It is among the first games to offer textured mapped 3D graphics back in 1991. Unfortunately, Its extreme difficulty and the graphics hardware limitations kept it away from the top 10. Narco Police was released for a variety of home computers like the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64/128, MSX, MSX 2, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST and PC (MS-DOS).
STORY / GAMEPLAY You are the commander of three different Narco Police units that wait the signal to raid. You set your men inside the raid zone, equip them with weapons and give the orders from your central control unit. The game is an odd mix of shooting action, vague strategy and, oddly, text entry! Before starting the game, you have the opportunity to check the armory and choose anything you think is suitable for the mission, from a wide range of weapons and devices available. A map screen can also be used in order to be able to place your three units upon starting the mission in one of the five tunnels that litter the drug lords' island. The shooting action starts when each police commando enters a tunnel. You view your policeman from behind while there is a terminal on the right of your screen where you can enter your commands. Those commands (which can be found on the game's manual) involve door opening, camera enabling or disabling and more. The best part is that, on this very command screen you may also enter some useful cheat codes! The 3D tunnels give you the impression of being trapped inside solid walls made of steel and rock, complete with equally solid ceilings. In these claustrophobic tunnels, the enemies swarm the screen by jumping and rolling from their hideouts, armed to the teeth with machine guns, grenades, rocket launchers or even tanks! The ammunition is limited but fortunately you can replenish it and upgrade the weapons through certain terminals found along the way. The game is pretty short in levels (I think it has four tunnels in total) but its extreme difficulty prevents it from being short! Narco Police was a great idea back then, offering this unique 3rd person gameplay in pseudo-3D textured mapped environments, but unfortunately the high level of difficulty, the repetitive graphics and the enemies' scrolling, make this game look mediocre. We made this review because of its originality and that's all.
GRAPHICS / SOUND The 3D tunnels look nice and give the impression of a claustrophobic and solid prison, To achieve this with full scaling sprites on the Amiga (and the ST, PC) must have required a large amount of memory, so severe cuts in quality were necessary for the developers. Cleverly enough, Iron Byte's software engineers simply cropped sprites and made them move in a way that leaves the impression you are moving forward, deeper into the tunnels! Well, while all these sound interesting, there are some serious cons that make the whole game look as unfinished. The frame-rate runs slow when not too much occurs on screen while it reaches to a very slow pace when a lot of action is happening! This shouldn't be a problem for the Amiga, but it seems that we have another Atari ST port here. More on that, the game feels like it has only a single level, with no actual variety in its visuals as you progress. Only the second half changes slightly with some differently looking enemies and some minor changes on the backgrounds. Thankfully, the game's sound is great on the Amiga version as it uses high quality sampled sound effects like gunfire, explosions, soldiers' cries and more. Unfortunately, there is no in-game music at all.
In-game music sample:
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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