Mean Streets places you in the role of Tex Murphy, private eye in a distopian futuristic California. The game is a classic adventure, with a unique mystery and pen-and-paper puzzle-solving. The game bills itself as 'An Interactive Detective Movie.'
Sylvia Linsky hires Tex to investigate the death of her father, Dr. Carl Linsky. Carl Linsky was believed to have committed suicide by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Sylvia does not believe her father would have ever committed suicide, and that his death must have been a murder. She knows her father was involved with a secret project that may be related to his death, but knows nothing about it. The player is tasked with solving the mystery.
In Mean Streets, you are tasked with solving the mystery behind Carl Linsky's death. You will do this by one of two ways: (1) Investigating and interrogating characters, and (2) obtaining clues and items in the environment.
Mean Streets uses several advanced (at the time of release) pieces of technology. First, digitized graphics took advantage of the newly-released VGA graphics card standard, resulting in a look similar to Mortal Kombat or NARC.
Access Software developed RealSound, a way to play back digitized sound through standard PC speakers. At the time, dedicated sound cards such as the SoundBlaster were still expensive, and this technology allowed for an approximation of their quality without the cost.