King of Chicago was released in 1986 on the Commodore Amiga. Created by Cinemaware, it was amongst their earliest titles including S.D.I. and Defender of the Crown. The game was originally programmed and designed by Doug Sharp on the Apple 2GS before getting a massive cinematic update. Doug definitely had a talent for making interesting and slightly off the beaten path games. Check out Chipwits or Free D.C. for examples of his unique design and writing style.
The game’s story revolves around the end of the Capone era as he’s shipped off to jail, creating a vacuum in the Chicago mob scene. It’s your job to fight for control of the gang and take over the entire underworld. The game takes the form of a visual novel with light strategy and action elements-a modern equivalent is the popular Telltale Games. The randomness of the game is apparent immediately as your starting point can vary, although your first task is always to take out the current gang leader. Accomplishing goals often takes you in a multitude of new directions with many entertaining options including brutalizing others, forming alliances, and bribing officials.
Once you assume a leadership position the strategy dynamic kicks in allowing you to choose which part of the city to take over. You decide what will be the best approach to take. You must also balance the ledger and keep your gang happy with salary increases and bribes all while running various businesses. All of these decisions play a role in your eventual domination of Chicago. The task of visiting your girlfriend and trying to maintain her happiness can be more difficult than the main game itself. The action sequences are an enjoyable break from all of the talking. Some work better than others but overall they are simple and fun.
The game can be completed quickly by making all the right decisions, but what is the fun in that?! One life is literally all you have so think twice about your next move or you may end up being executed, backstabbed or even swimming with the fishes. It’s brutal on those pixel-y Chicago streets! Fantastic graphics and unique gameplay for the time make this a classic game. It is still a ton of fun to play today-if you enjoy games with character then this game is going to be right up your alley!
Check out my video review below for more information
Overall an excellent looking game for the time with some unique cinematic gameplay only marred slightly by some mediocre music . Well worth a look for fans looking for a good story and interesting characters.
“64k” is an all round retro gaming channel on YouTube with a strong focus on the 80’s classic computer the Commodore 64 (Video uploads twice a week on Wednesdays & Fridays)