The game itself is a blatant attempt to invoke Miami Vice; the backbox translite features a white-suited Crockett wannabe posing next to a genuine Ferrari Daytona with two bikini-clad women, underneath the "Hollywood Heat" logo done in the Vice typeface. The table itself is more interesting, with a translucent red spiral and a miniature playfield nestled among neon flamingos, palm trees, and pastel-colored eighties pop art. A set of chutes sends the ball in various unorthodox directions, while the "Hot Shots" jump ramp allows players to quickly return to the upper mini-playfield.
As with other Premier pinballs of the period, the rules are not overly complex, making it suited for intermediate players looking for a fun, straightforward game. It's considered an overlooked jewel by those who managed to get past the silly theme, and is regarded as one of Premier's better games. Steve Ritchie has called it one of his favorite games of all time.
Hollywood Heat demonstrates the following tropes:
- Alliterative Title
- Cool Car: The red Ferrari Daytona on the translite.
- Cool Shades: Worn by "Crockett".
- The '80s
- The man in the white suit on the translite is an obvious expy for Vice's Sonny Crockett.
- The game's promotion flyer has Jeff Walker (from Bally's Marketing Department) playing an expy for Rico Tubbs.
- Fanservice Extra: The two bikini-clad women on the backbox.
- The Mockbuster: Of Miami Vice. Even the game's main tune is a knockoff of the Vice theme music.
- Pinball Scoring: The flyer touts 8-digit scoring (when recent games had only 7 digits of score display) as one of its features. There is also a sticker that can be placed on it with that fact.
- Ramp Jump: Done with the "Hot Shots" ramp.
- Spelling Bonus: Spelling P-I-N-B-A-L-L (which requires lighting the top rollovers seven times) lights the outlane specials.