COMPETITION ENTRY #40: DIRTY HARRY SIMULATOR SAN FRANCISCO
I must admit I've never watched Dirty Harry in my life. The closest I ever came was watching The Good, The Bad And The Ugly circa 2005, and that's only close in that it also starred Clint Eastwood, brandishing a gun - some kind of 19th Century revolver. I'd like to think that it was made by Beretta because this was a Spaghetti Western made by Italians and it would be appropriate, but annoyingly, the only 19th Century-style revolver I can find made by Beretta is the Stampede. It certainly looks the part, but (a) it was intended to invoke the style of the Colt Single Action Army "Peacemaker" which was launched in 1872, and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly was set during the American Civil War of the 1860s; only hardened gun nuts would have noticed that, but it's all academic anyway because (b) the Beretta Stampede was only introduced to the market in 2004. Anyway, where were we? Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry, the .44 Magnum - I knew about the film as far back as 1988, or maybe even late 1987, when it was mentioned on a poster by Marshall Cavendish's science-for-juniors partwork, Quest, of which I was an avid collector.
You will notice I am waffling endlessly about guns, which is due to (a) having a good friend in the more gun-friendly parts of America who is only too willing to tell me about his latest acquisition, what ammo it takes and when the gun range might be open, and (b) this "game" being covered by a very short review. In the time it's take you to read this far, you could have loaded the "game", run it, and seen everything it has to offer.
It would be wrong of me to complain about having to review a mildly tarted-up version of Russian Roulette, because I did exactly the same thing to John Connolly last year. All right, so I wrote my much-more-of-a-game for the QL and it was dodgy Chinese USB power supplies that were exploding rather than a bullet being fired from a .44 Magnum, but the principle is much the same.
You will notice from the tape image that the screen that loads at the end (6912 bytes, as per standard) takes longer to load (49 seconds) than the rest of the BASIC listing and the machine code sound effect (35 seconds, 3419 bytes combined in two blocks), and also that it isn't a loading screen as we would think of one. When Phil says there are "actual graphics from the film", this is what he means - a screenshot of Harry Callahan pointing his .44 Magnum straight at you, converted with BMP2SCR, ZX-Paintbrush, or both. I find using both makes for a better result.
It is said that there are people out there who can tell what kind of data is being loaded just by the sound coming from the Spectrum. I am one of them, and I knew from the sound of the BASIC block that lots of PRINT statements and text were being loaded in. Sure enough, that's what you'll be presented with. The text is the title of the "game", proudly declaring its release for "CSSCGC MMXI" (that's ten years ago, and I thought Duke Nukem Forever was a terrible case of being stuck in Development Hell...), and the rest of it is that famous speech about whether or not you feel lucky. You know the one I mean.
So, do you feel lucky? If you do, and you are lucky (it's a 50/50 chance), you will not be treated to "real sound from the film", and neither will you get the kind of border effect that I now know is created by not fiddling with one of the bits of the OUT instruction that controls both the border colour and the speaker. If, on the other hand, you are unlucky...
Time for the verdict. Do you feel lucky, Phil? Does your assertion that "This game is a useful way to determine whose turn it is to do the washing up, put the bins out etc." stand up to scrutiny? I think we all know the score already. One solitary voodoo mask is all it gets for attainment because it really doesn't do anything more than Lee Prince's current leader for Most Crap Game Of The Year - but at least what little it does, it does properly - there are no errors in the BASIC listing, there's the screen, there's the machine code sound effect - which, had it been compiled to 3240 bytes lower in memory, would have made this suitable for a 16K Spectrum. For the record, I did check the listing to see if there was anything in there that might be worthy of the Cyan Challenge, and there wasn't. All of this adds up to three Ricks and no demerits. And thus, Dirty Harry Simulator San Francisco falls one Rick short of tying for the lead in the Most Crap Game Of The Year stakes.
If this has achieved anything, it's to tell me that an excellent way to spend this upcoming Saturday evening would be to get a pizza and a couple of bottles of my home-brew cider and watch Dirty Harry. That'll be a change from decorating, and reviewing Crap Games.