Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
1930's America was a dangerous place to be if you wanted a drink. Prohibition was in force, but that didn't stop the Mafia running an illegal liquor trade. One man double-crossed the big Sicilian families by squealing to the cops, so they broke into his house, beat him up badly and kidnapped his fiancee as a precaution against him going to the boys in blue again. You can't keep a good citizen down, though, and you, as that informer, begin an international vendetta against the Mafia with two goals in mind; rescuing the girl AND wiping out the bad guys in each town.
Dead Angle is an Operation Wolf style shoot 'em up, the player taking on the might of organised crime across the three Mafia-infested cities of Napoli, New York and the heart of the illegal alcohol racket, Chicago. Armed with a single- shot sidearm, each of the cities, making up a total of six areas, must be cleared of the allotted number of hoodlums. The playing area scrolls in eight directions, with the main character seen as a back-view line drawing. Once all of the criminals have been shot, the boss of each area appears on the scene, and must be shot several times before he hits the deck. Life-force is depicted by an energy bar, depleted every time the enemy scores a direct hit on the player. Throughout the fight, first aid kits appear, the shooting of which revitalises the energy bar. Sub-machine guns can also be picked up, their ammunition lasting only for a limited amount of time.
While Dead Angle is an enjoyable twist on the Operation Wolf theme, playability suffers because of slow, jerky scrolling. The enemy sprites, although nicely drawn, are also affected animation-wise due to the ropey screen movement. Despite these annoyances, Dead Angle remains a fun blast, with a lot of hoods to send packing and bullets flying at a fair old pace. One of the bosses looks exactly like Blake Carrington from Dynasty, which is rather amusing, and there's a cracking end-game sequence which makes the whole thing worthwhile. I recommend you have a look at Dead Angle before shelling out any cash, as many people could be put off by the scrolling; if you can survive the dodgy presentation though, you'll find an addictive game simply itching to get out.
What could have been an addictive, fast-action Mafia shoot-out blots its copy book with jerky scrolling which many will find unacceptable. To use a much-loved cliche, try before you buy.