In 1989 Taito produced Crime City, which was a side scrolling brawler/shooter that allowed 2 players to take on the roles of police officers. The game borrows heavily from both movie and other games as the main characters look very much like Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon. In regards to how to it borrows from games, the level designs look to be lifted from Shinobi with other sections being influenced by the base levels in Contra. I wouldn’t knock the game from doing so, as most games that were arcades just borrowed from other popular games to get people to play them. Both Shinobi and Contra had arcade cabinets and home ports, so it’s not too far out of the realm that this arcade cabinet was introduced when those games were no longer available to be played, and people wanted to play something familiar.

Not that I didn’t spend time reading the opening story to this game, but the real plot seems to happen towards the end of the game. The initial levels are one off stories where you, and possibly your partner if you had a second player, went off shooting bad guys and stopping the level boss. I played this game alone and found that if anything, a second player would clog up the screen at times. There are sections where there are boxes to jump over and use as cover, and if you and your partner would there it would look like a jumbled mess causing one of you to take damage for jumping at the wrong time. There were a few platforming parts, but nothing too intricate as after you did 3 jumps you were past it and that type of obstacle never showed up again. 

The majority of the enemies take one shot to be killed, with the exception being the bigger guys with machine guns and level bosses. You are given a handgun with 50 bullets and if you run out you resort to using fists until you die and respawn with your gun and ammo back. Enemies do drop guns that allow you to have 50 bullets with either a machine gun or shotgun, but in the end you still end up just resorting to fists. The one part that frustrated me was that when an enemy was close, you automatically went to fists even though you may have a gun with plenty of ammunition to be used. This caused for frustration when you were in a part of the level stuck between boxes and the enemies just kept appearing. The one exception to the ammo being limited is when you’re doing the Contra style levels, because then for some reason you have unlimited ammo to which ever gun you have at the time. 

The arcade cabinet version of this game allows players to shoot in every direction, but the version I played only allowed me to shoot forward and backwards while standing and crouching. This didn’t hinder the game play as the enemies who were above me were easily avoidable, and only there to waste bullets and make your game harder. There are only two buttons available in the game, one for attack and the other for jumping and that’s all what really needed. Any additional buttons for bombs or special attacks, would have taken away from the game as well as made for even more frustrating sections where you were in a closed space.

The game can be complete in under 30 minutes and is a good way to pass the time if you have nothing to do and need a game fix. Any investment in these characters or their backstories is completely unwarranted as when you beat the game you forget all about them, and even when they were shown in the credits I didn’t care.

By Taylor

Taylor is one half of Media Discord and resides in Orange County, CA. He grew up loving video games, comics and movies. His favorite game is Chrono Trigger and his favorite comic book character is Deadpool.

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