Inspired by the arcade coin-op "Empire City: 1931" from the Japanese manufacturer Seibu Kaihatsu this game was developed and published by Infogrames in 1987 for western home and personal computers.
Prohibition is a very early example of a first-person shooter where the player moves a gunsight around the playing area(which is a backdrop of dingy New York street of tenements several screens wide) and tries to take out as many appearing members of a criminal gang as possible before they can return fire.
It was indexed by the German BPjS/BPjM in 1987 so it was illegal to sell or to make the game available to minors or to advertise for it in Germany.
Another peculiarity of the game is the support of a four-way hardware scrolling in IBM CGA at 60 Hz which is achieved by clever timing tricks and shouldn't have been possible since there isn't enough video memory to fit more than one screen in CGA.
Swamped by gangland crime, the New York Police Department is unable to adequately police the city. A mercenary in the shape of the player has been called in to help control the ascending crime and to wipe out the city's gangsters.
An alternate story is given on some re-release box covers: Here the action takes place in the Chicago of 1931 where the Mafia led by the notorius Al Capone controls the city. The player is a street wise rookie cop from the east side of town, intent on putting an end to Al Capones reign of terror. The mission starts in the area of down-town Chicago known as the Fortress. This area consisting of appartment blocks, warehouses and garages forms the headquarters for Al Capone's illegal liquor distribution operation and is guarded by the Mafias most loyal gang members who must be eliminated.
Prohibition can be controlled by joystick, keyboard or mouse(only on Atari ST). First thing that is seen at the beginning of the gameplay is a gunsight which has to be manoeuvred in eight directions across a backdrop of run-down tenements several screens wide. Only a small section of the opposite buildings is immediately visible. Moving the gunsight(horizontally, vertically and along the two diagonals) causes the opposite block to scroll which enables one to overview the whole street.
One by one enemies start to appear in various locations of the opposite buildings like at windows, rooftops, doors, oppenings, on the sidewalk and even from under manhole covers. The aim of the game is to scan the buildings and shoot down the gangsters one at a time. Each kill, also called contract, is awarded with dollars.
If a gangster comes out of hiding in a part of the playing area not within the current field of view then an arrow at the bottom of the screen points toward the target but doesn't give the enemies vertical position.
A gangster must be hit within three seconds after an onscreen countdown, that is shown numerically at the side of the screen, begins. When opponents lurk in difficult positions extra time is given to kill them. But if the gangster isn't shot before the countdown runs out the player dies, unless dodged, in a hail of return fire and loses one of three lives.
Enemy bullets can be dodged by pressing the dodge key. The dodge key protects the player from the bullets and resumes the countdown timer, giving one another chance to locate and kill the opposition. But such evasive action can't be carried out indefinitley and a second meter displays the total amount of dodge time remaining.