Cisco Heat was a hell of an eye-catching game in the arcades: it might look a bit naff now, but for the time it was fast, it was loud and it was famous for the sharp 90 degree bends you could take every so often. It’s a racing game based on the streets of San Francisco – and you, for whatever reason, belt around in a police car.

Colin Campbell didn’t review too many games in CF, and he didn’t last for very many issues either. Surely Cisco Heat was partially to blame…

The major problem with the C64 version – before we even get to the cack-handed programming – is that ImageWorks have tried to crowbar the whole thing into 64K. It doesn’t really work well on the 16 bit machines; on the Breadbin, it was doomed from the outset.

So what’s wrong? Well, there is no illusion of speed at all. The frame rate is awful. And then there are the cars on the road themselves: they’re drawn onto grey blocks, the same colour as the road. Which is fine, until the cars go near the verge and overlap some grass, or whatever. At which point you can still see the surrounding blocks of grey. The collision detection is crap, everything is jerky and those famed 90 degree swerves don’t change your view at all.

The best thing the programmers could’ve done was take the idea of Cisco Heat, accept it couldn’t work on a machine dating back to 1982 and loosely base something around it instead. For whatever reason – likely people at board level who didn’t understand, or the conditions of the license – this hasn’t happened, and you’re left with a game that thanks to YouTube we can’t even hide from the C64 haters today. Cheers, ImageWorks. CF

CF SAID: “”One of the worst games of 1991.”

WE SAY: It looks like the sort of thing that came out in the C64’s early days. But worse. Why wasn’t anybody arrested?


  1. This was a disaster. Barely even a game, since the terrible frame rate made it impossible to even follow the action. Even the Spectrum version, though not particularly great and over-ambitious, appears to be a sincere effort to convert the game with some faithfulness, as do the Amstrad, Amiga, DOS, and ST versions (all flawed in their way, but at least none of them look as if they were bashed together in one drunken evening… by monkeys… on Games Creator). I wish to this day I knew why the poor C64 drew the shortest of short straws on this game.

    Liked by 1 person

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