Streets of Chaos [official site] is a turn-based strategy game in which you fight for control of a randomly generated city. The city is represented as a grid and to conquer it you’ll recruit gang members and send them out to perform missions on the various blocks, ranging from extortion and hacking to finger-clicking dance-offs. Or possibly violent combat with chains and baseball bats that you can choose to imagine as dance-offs should you be so inclined.
When I saw the Steam page, I was immediately reminded of an old favourite and, indeed, Streets of Chaos is “loosely inspired by the classic strategy PC game Chaos Overlords“.
Chaos Overlords isn’t a name to inspire fond reminiscence and homage in the way that many others do. It’s no UFO or Fallout. In fact, it’d probably fail the Kickstarter Test, which is a system I’ve just invented whereby the nostalgic qualities of a game can be measured by the amount of money it’d haul in during its first 24 hours on a crowdfunding platform. The fact that original designer John K Morris has been working on a sequel, irregularly, since 2006 suggests there’s a possibility that a Chaos Overlords Reborn campaign is a possibility – the game isn’t entirely forgotten – but Streets of Chaos might be the closest thing we see for a while.
It’s been out since the beginning of last year but just popped up on Steam for £1.99 and after a brief play this morning, I reckon I’ll get more enjoyment out of it than a couple of Greggs’ pasties. Memories of Chaos Overlords came flooding back as soon as I saw the map but Streets lacks one important element of the game that inspired it – the potato-headed portraits for your characters may allow for more variety, but they’re not a patch on the brilliant cartoon gangs of the original.
I don’t remember how well Chaos Overlords worked as a game but it used its theme effectively enough to stay in my mind for almost two decades. A little flavour goes a long way. If Chaos Overlords’ gangs were the delicious Flaming Hot variety of your crisp of choice, Streets of Chaos’ lumpen-headed chaps are the Ready Salted packet hanging limply behind the wall of a flat-roof boozer.
Despite that, I’ll still end up sinking another couple of hours into it tonight, no doubt, because I want to see how the mechanics hang together. And I mean the strategic systems rather than the T-Birds. No more dance-offs.