Crime Does Not Pay
for Atari ST

Mr Creosote:
Alternate Titles: Le Crime Ne Paie Pas
Company: Titus
Year: 1991
Genre: Action, Adventure
Theme: Fighting / Humour / Police & Gangsters
Language: English, Francais
Licence: Commercial
Views: 2439
Review by Mr Creosote (2021-03-27)

Crime Does Not Pay – unless you win and become the city mayor. This goal not being too far off for the head of either the local Italian Cosa Nostra or the Chinese Triad clan. Part of the city is already under inofficial control. The rest may soon follow.

Each family consists of three members (meaning the player has “three lives”)

To achieve this, key characters are just waiting to be convinced to lend their support one way or another. Maybe there's some dirt to be found, good material to blackmail the chief of police? Bribing the judge may also not be the worst move imaginable. Though how to get the proverbial man on the street (e.g. the butcher) on our side? And who on earth may want to have that audio cassette of Sex Pistols recordings we found?

The idea here isn't actually half bad. Walk around the city, search and pick up objects, match them to the appropriate character and see your influence grow. The most simplistic form of adventure gaming imaginable, though in a nice setting and overall snack-sized length, why not? Especially since graphics are overall not unattractive (at least on still pictures).

Execution leaves a bit to be desired, unfortunately. Controls are plainly slow within buildings, where verbs have to be selected and a cursor moved around in the most roundabout way imaginable. Which would be forgivable if there weren't gunmen randomly attacking out of the blue. Life is even more dangerous outside on the streets. Thugs and punks will randomly attack, members of the competing clan will shoot from the windows etc. Dangerous streets, indeed!

Maybe the butcher will like my chewing gum?

In theory, the gunplay mechanic also isn't horrible. After drawing one's own gun, it can be aimed at fairly free angles. Though graphics and animation are not really up to such a system, making it hard to reliably hit a target.

Similarly, there are major breaches of fairness all over. Random attack in a building? Defend yourself and the location owner will go against you. Random attack on the street? The police will not care… unless you defend yourself, then it's game over. Sometimes even if no police has been visible at all.

Observations such as these leave the impression of this not being a finished game, but more like a proof of concept. Some ideas and good will are visible, but Crime Does Not Pay never manages to be actually entertaining. This one would have needed much more polishing.

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