DOS - 1989
Also released on: Commodore 64 - Amiga - Atari ST
Description of Mean Streets
The first game in the Tex Murphy series is a great sci-fi adventure with some (gasp) action elements. Technically, Mean Streets was very innovative game for its time, featuring 256 color VGA graphics, digitized PC speaker sounds, and even a well-coded flight simulator based on the engine used in Echelon.
The game's strongest appeal is the very well-written plot that is full of many unexpected twists and turns. You play Tex Murphy, a PI who is trying to make a living in 21st century San Francisco. Your first case, brought by a beautiful, seductive Sylvia Linsky, is to investigate the purported "suicide" of her father Carl Linsky, who supposedly jumped off the Golden Gate bridge. Until his death, he has been working on a classified project with a company called MTC. A suicide note and an eye witness to Carl's death have convinced the police to close the case. Sylvia, of course, is not too happy about this. She cannot believe that her father would kill himself for no apparent reason. Equally, she is not pleased about the fact that the insurance company will not pay her the one million dollars of Carl's insurance....
Mean Streets was one of the first adventure games to truly take advantage of the full 256-color VGA palette, and the results are impressive even though most background shots are grainy and characters are poorly animated (Tex walks like a pair of wooden chopsticks). But great graphics alone does't make a great game, and fortunately Mean Streets has enough good ol' inventory and deduction-based puzzles to satisfy fans of traditional adventures.
Depending on whether you like action sequences in adventure games, the quasi-3D environment where you navigate your speeder around San Francisco can be either a highlight, or a nuisance. Although flight dynamics is much simpler than Access' earlier wireframe classic space sim Echelon, the graphics are quite impressive for its time: San Francisco's landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Transmerica tower stand out from the surrounding landscape.
Besides this mini-flight sim portion, Mean Streets also contains a simple shoot-'em-up arcade in which you must advance along a long corridor and shoot down the thugs who try to stop you. Again, adventure fans may frown at this distraction, but it is forgivable considering the game's strengths. Luckily, you can set the difficulty level to the lowest, making the fights effortless to win.
Another innovation that Mean Streets brings to the genre is the interrogation/conversation interface. Talking to a character brings up their close-up digitized photo, and an array of approaches you can take-- ranging from friendly, to bribery and outright threat. You can get "stuck" forever in the game if you choose the wrong approach for a character, so it's best to save before talking to anyone. Most characters just offer campy, canned remarks, but a few are quite interesting, with a personality to match Tex's ego.
With a long list of innovations and a captivating "noir" plot (although it could be less campy and more Chandler-style), Mean Streets deserves to be called a "revolutionary" adventure game. Purists may wince at the inclusion of flight sim and arcade portions, but the pros more than outweigh the cons, as Tex beckons, and slowly draws, you into his hardboiled world.
A must-have, without a doubt.
Review By HOTUD
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
larry 2020-02-07 0 point
gog.com is just offering the dos version of the game. and because gog has got hold of the license, all versions of the game has been removed from various abandonware and platform dedicated sites.
does that mean; it is impossible to play c64 verion of that game, anymore?!?!?!
this is also a problem for many other games!
Zaaac 2019-08-20 0 point DOS version
Dos version is vastly better than the Amiga one. The speech as well, just connect it to a good amp.
mr x 2014-12-23 -2 points DOS version
When you start dosbox it says you can type "intro" to get help. It explains how to "mount c /path/to/your/game" and then you can type "c:" and start the game with "ms.exe". Good luck!
Stephe 2014-07-21 -2 points DOS version
How can I install this with dosBox? I keep getting stuck at the INSERT DISK INTO DRIVE screen
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Share your gamer memories, give useful links or comment anything you'd like. This game is no longer abandonware, we won't put it back online.
Buy Mean Streets
Mean Streets is available for a small price on the following websites, and is no longer abandonware. GoG.com provides the best release and does not include DRM, please buy from them! You can read our online store guide .
Mean Streets was also released on the following systems: