Saturday, 23 July 2016

Chapter XXXIII: Operation: Cleanstreets

In the early days there wasn't much in the way of information when it came to what were the good games. The best games were either discovered by chance or by word of mouth, but since we all know how indiscriminate were kids tastes, that usually didn't work out very well. One of the most common ways of choosing a game was just by its name.

This was the “judging the book by its cover” of the poor, or in this case, of the pirates, since we weren’t looking at game's boxes on shelves, but just at a list. At the time, only my cousin Walter The Baptist had a better understanding of English than just the basic words like Megatron or Soundwave. This was very convenient for him, especially since it gave him extra tools to manipulate other people’s choices when it came to buying games.

I’m almost sure that this game was another one of Walter’s strange ideas, since no sane kid would find the prospect of literally cleaning streets to be very enticing. Either he sold us very well the concept of digitally cleaning streets, or lied, and found a way to put some Ninja Turtles somewhere in there. I don’t really recall who forked the cash, but most probably it wasn’t him.

The details on this game are mostly lost on me, and probably for a good reason, since it’s very hard to find information about it online and I don’t recall ever reading about it on a magazine. There’s no mention of it on Lemon Amiga, and Hall of Light only features two reviews, being one of them on an Australian magazine and the other on a magazine called “Info”. Yes, Info. Don’t ask.

So, this is the most obscure stuff so far on the blog, and I haven’t got to the point yet of trying to find the ADF’s for it. It’s possible that all these past paragraphs were in vain.

Ok, easier than I thought. So let’s get on with it.

Before the title screen we get to know that this game has quite a pedigree. Broderbund, of Prince of Persia fame  (and other great games) is the publisher, and Silmarils (of Ishar fame) is the developer. It’s also possible that this is the black sheep  (also known as the “Saint Anger”) of these software houses.

The title screen of the game offers us the chance of reading the instructions, and those are hilarious. I’ve never seen such low-key, unepic story told with such lack of awareness. Well, read for yourself how burning the drugs will give the player life points. The control instructions prepare us the worst, with pearls such as “Be careful, right and left depend on the direction you are facing”.

And it’s worse than that. My memories told me of a colourful game that could at least fun to play. It’s fun, but for archaeological purposes only. It seems the game was designed by an 80’s kid obsessed with looking cool. There are graffiti in the game claiming that “Punk Rules” and also “Heavy Metal” is written around. It seems my grandpa was right when he told me that those were junkie music.

The game is one of those side scrolling brawlers that were so popular in the eighties. Renegade and Double Dragon are probably the most obvious comparisons, but the controls in Operation Clean Streets are the probably the worst I had to endure in my whole life. I wouldn’t bother to explain them if the developers weren’t so nice to include them in a single screen. Check them for yourself.

It’s also one of the worst looking Amiga games I’ve ever seen. Right before the level starts we get some instruction from the police boss to “destroy the caffeine ring”. That man is grey. Seriously, look at it. I’m not being mean just because i’m a coffee lover and get easily offended. The sound is absolute torture. There’s a nazi looking man in the game with a chainsaw, and I’d probably would prefer to listen to the real thing next to my ears. Yes, even with the safety issues. Also, the people who live in the “Heavy Metal” house throw crabs at the player. I just can’t interpret those big chunky pixels as anything else than crabs. Dynamite it certainly isn’t.

It’s curious that the game was released on other platforms such as the C64 as “Manhattan Dealers”. This doesn’t look anything like the Manhattan I see in movies and TV Shows. And they say gentrification is a bad thing. People who say that never lived next to nazis with chainsaws.

Luckily, I didn’t had to play much, and I only hope that I wasn’t the one that paid for this in 1990. Yes, that is the kind of stuff that could take a night’s good sleep away from me twenty six years later.


  1. By searching for "Manhattan Dealers" and "Amiga" on Google, it's actually quite easy to find more reviews of "Operation: Cleanstreets".

    The game seems to be quite short - a longplay on YouTube only lasted for 8:14 minutes.

    1. It's embarrassing how lacking in research some of my posts are:)

      And i'm sure those 8:14 minutes felt like an hour to whoever was playing

    2. I liked your write-up of this game. Even though you say it is bad, I just have to try it for the fun of it. :) The Amiga is great for gaming, but there are some really bad ones out there. I dare you to try Ultimate Ski Simulator some time and make a full review of it. That game gave me nightmares and I bought it new in store when I was a kid. The disappointment is still with me today, hehe.

    3. Thanks for the comment. As for Ultimate Ski Simulator, that must be something really underground, since I can't find anything on it. Is this it?
      I kind of remember playing that one