"Crime City is rampant with evil organizations and criminal elements. Robberies, burglaries, murders, smuggling, and drug trafficking, as well as other crimes have become an everyday occurence. The local police force is no longer capable of controlling the city, so.... two tough plainclothes investigators are called to the scene. Tony Gibson and Raymond Brody quickly take up the challenge of bringing law and order to Crime City."

That's the basic storyline for Crime City, but all you really need to know is that this game fucking rocks your face, and I'm about to tell you why.

Let's start from the beginning, as I've found that it tends to be the best place to begin. The attract mode tells us that Tony Gibson and Raymond Broady (really? Broady?) star in Crime City and drive around in a pretty awesome car. Okay.

Then it's followed by a charming little bit of Engrish that I REALLY hope is the official slogan of the Crime City Police Department. They're the supreme law, after all.

Insert a credit, and the opening storyline is immediately revealed before you press Start. Tony and Raymond get the call about some naughty criminals breaking out of prison (thereby making them prison breakers)! Too bad it happened on their day off (or day-off, as Tony puts it). It's here that we get a little more insight into the personalities of the game's protagonists: Tony seems to be a bit of a hothead, while Raymond plays it a little more cool. Plus it's Raymond who gets the best line here: "Well, let's go for a kill time." Seriously, how can you not fucking love that? It's not just the Engrishy connotation of the sentence that makes it great, the "Well" that starts the sentence off seems to imply that Raymond has gone for plenty of kill times, and by this point it's simply become routine for him. What a badass. Once Tony & Raymond are dressed and armed, they're ready to hit the streets. So push that 1 or 2 Player Button already, you asswipe.


Yeah, you've probably seen this formula before. Scroll to the right, jump around and shoot bad guys. Relatively standard stuff for an arcade game in the late 80's. However, there is one seemingly-minor-yet-totally-fucking-awesome part of the game engine that you wouldn't notice right away - the "roll"/somersault maneuver.

Rolling is done by pushing the Jump button while holding diagonally Down-Left or Down-Right on the joystick to execute a ground roll, or by pushing the Jump button a second time when you're in mid-air to do.... an air roll. In other games rolling is usually a defensive maneuver, often intended to give you some invincibility to go through bullets that would be otherwise impossible to dodge. But no, the roll is all about offense in this game. You can wipe out most enemies in the game just by doing nothing but rolling, there's only a couple spots in the game where you're required to press the Attack button to kill a boss, anything else can be handled by rolling. Plus, it's pretty fucking hilarious to picture a police officer putting his gun away and saying "Fuck this, I'm just going to kill these prison breakers by somersaulting into them instead". And you know what? It really works! But of course, since the roll gives you no invincibility, you have to use it wisely or else you'll just roll into bullets... and that's not a very effective method of crushing out the crime.

Getting back to the "conventional" means of attacking, you start each level (or new life) with a handgun with 50 bullets. If you're close enough to an enemy, pushing the Attack button will punch instead of shoot. Once you're out of ammo all you can do is punch (or roll, teehee), but ammo refills can be found from enemies in the levels. There are some other powerups along the way too - a machine gun, a 3-way gun, a magnum gun, a regular gun with infinite ammo, a bulletproof vest (temporary invincibility), and a drink (I'll assume it's beer) that restores your lifebar. Speaking of which, the lifebar is a bit pointless in this game. You start with 8 hit points, bumping into an enemy takes off 1 point, melee attacks (such as knives) usually do 3-4 points, and getting shot is instant death. When you get killed, 95% of the time it's going to be a death of the instant-kill variety. Still, at least the lifebar isn't as pointless as it is in Rolling Thunder. An 8-point lifebar where you lose 4 points for bumping into an enemy? Brilliant! But I digress.

Oh, and you can get extra points by picking up drugs. Yeah. The game's flyer even says "Score points on drugs". Whether Tony and Raymond are actually confisticating the drugs for the police department, or keeping them for their own personal use later, we'll never know. You'll want to get a high score to take advantage of the game's nifty way of registering your name, but more on that later.

So, getting back to Round 1. As you might expect, the first round is pretty short and simple. Prison breakers line up in rows and become easy target practice for your gun (or you can just roll into them instead, which is always more fun. I highly recommend rolling as often as possible).

Pretty soon you run into a guy with a machinegun, expect to see them pop up here and there throughout the game. This one has foolishly decided to stand around near a barrel, so why not shove the barrel into him? As a bonus the barrel will keep rolling and wipe out a few enemies that appear after it too. The only question I have is... why does the machinegun-toting dude take two shots to kill normally, but getting hit by a barrel kills him instantly? Meanwhile if you're clumsy enough to get hit by the barrel it only takes off 3 of your 8 life points, but of course getting shot is instant death. Hey, it's a video game, these things don't have to make sense.

Here's something I'll bet you didn't see coming - the round ends with a boss! And this boss's name is Joe. Hi, Joe! Besides the usual boss enemy ability to survive more bullets than is humanly possible, he's mastered one essential skill that his fellow prison breakers have not - the ability to actually aim his fucking gun. Well, sort of. He will only aim it downward at a ducking Tony or Raymond if they're close enough, otherwise his shots will sail over their head. So all you have to do if he gets close is to roll into him to push him back, then roll away and go back to shooting his crotch until he moves again. Or you can just take the easy way out and stay on the left side of the screen where he'll never be able to fire over those conveniently-placed boxes.

Beat Joe, and the rest of the prison breakers surrender. Good job! Expect to see the details of your fine police work in the newspaper!

Well okay, it's the Daily Taito [International?], but still. I don't know what I find more amusing - the fact that Taito publishes a newspaper in this city, or that they print gramatically incorrect headlines on the front page. Then again, you'd kinda EXPECT a Taito newspaper to fuck up their English, huh. And what's with the bullet holes? I guess life in Crime City is so tough, THEY SHOOT NEWSPAPERS! Ooooh. I also love the wonderfully generic quality of that "STOCK PRICES" part in the top-right, as if that's something revolutionary for newspapers to be carrying.

Although Tony and Raymond were able to CATCH HOLD OF PRISON BREAKERS, there's still a lot more going on in the city of crime. What will they have to CATCH HOLD OF next...?