Okay, this is different. Round 6 begins with our heroes being lowered outside by a pulley lift. They couldn't just take the elevator out of the building? Conveniently, enemies have set up camp and wait at the windows in the nearby buildings to take pot shots at you. Of course. This part can be pretty tricky since you can't move left and right, you can only lower the pulley up and down. You can still jump to avoid bullets, but it's not easy. Eventually, a HELICOPTER comes out of nowhere to attack. Hmm... looks an awful lot like the helicopter that appeared at the beginning of Round 2, doesn't it? I guess Taito realized that they never did anything with that helicopter so they decided to just throw it in at the end as a mid-boss. Why not, right?
And then you're back on the streets. Except instead of moving from left to right, you're moving from right to left! Wowsers. This last stretch of city streets is of course the most difficult, as it's got plenty of enemies placed in annoying positions, especially the bottle grenade throwing assholes ready to peg you once you scroll the screen enough to bring them on screen. Since there was no boss on the last round, this one's gotta be good!
Wait... isn't that the mayor you just rescued? Why does he have a rocket cannonball launcher like the 3rd boss? What the hell is going on here?!? Whoever he is, he's trying to kill you, and that's never a good thing. So yeah, this is a pretty annoying boss. The fact that he's shielded by all those boxes makes it impossible for you to jump up to where he is, meaning that you have to keep high jumping and only getting off one or two shots in each jump. Have some patience, and after enough hits he dies, as usual. Stupid mayor brought it upon himself anyway...
...wha? There's two of them? The mayor has an evil twin? Seriously, what the FUCK is going on here!
Okay, I guess the mayor was rescued... or RESCURED, as the case may be. At least you didn't kill the wrong one, that would have been an embarassing moment for the Crime City Police Department... or at least a moment worthy of a NO.
Oh by the way, that's the entire ending. What, you were expecting more from Taito? The same company that made you play through Bubble Bobble again, this time with a second player alive on the last boss, just to get slightly different text for a "HAPPY END"? But ya know, even an extra single screen of text for the ending would have been nice... because if nothing else, it would undoubtedly mean more of Taito's Engrish fuckups.
But hey, the end credits contains no staff roll, instead we get to see the names of all the characters in the game! Let's enjoy!
Instead of having a traditional list of the day's high scores, Crime City only tracks the highest score of the day. But rather than let the high-scoring player be limited to putting in 3 initials, instead they're free to draw out a message... WITH BULLETS! Yes indeed, if you're feeling artistic you can make your own little message or picture out of bullet holes for everyone else to see in attract mode. Sadly the high score is wiped whenever the power is cut, but it's fun while it lasts. (and apparently there is an option in the dip switches to disable the "drawing" of pictures and just give a standard 3-initial entry system, for those arcade owners that get sick of people trying to draw penises with bullet holes. The initials are written out in bullets too though so it's at least kinda cool... I guess)
I'll admit that Crime City isn't exactly one of the most innovative arcade games ever created... it really doesn't do anything new that hasn't been done before by other horizontal platformers. The somewhat short length of the game is a bit of a downer too, in addition to the nonsensical last boss and ending. In a way, it's one of those "disposable" arcade games you'd see back in the late 80's or early 90's - you'd have some fun dropping a few tokens into it, and then move on to the next game. If the arcade ended up getting rid of it, you probably wouldn't notice. On the surface, Crime City just didn't really have anything to make it stand out from the pack.
But you know what? Despite all of that, Crime City is an immensely enjoyable game. I've had to log quite a bit of time in the course of writing this review, and honestly, I enjoyed every minute of it. Even though the game can be completed in less than 20 minutes, it's still tremendously fun to play through again and again. It's a blast to play with a buddy, especially if the two of you make it a point to kill as many enemies as possible by rolling into them. Trust me, the sight of two lawmen wasting criminals by jumping and rolling all over the screen is even funnier than it sounds. Part of what makes the game so entertaining is just how damn silly it is... the rolling, the dogs coming out of barrels, the mayor and his twin brother, the NO. It's a game that truly doesn't take itself seriously at all.
But, as is often the case with games I review here, Crime City was never ported to a home console (as far as I know of, anyway), and hasn't appeared on any of Taito's retro compilations yet. Which is just absurd, seeing how they've released quite a few of their Taito Legends / Taito Memories games in different regions of the world, and Crime City hasn't made it onto a single one of those gamelists. Why does Taito include obscure shitty games like The Electric Yo-Yo, but continually snub Crime City (and while I'm at it, why is Land Sea Air Squad getting the shaft too?!)? An injustice like that makes me feel like grabbing my head in mild grief and letting out a disappointed NO! Hopefully at some point they do see fit to include this game in some form of home port, so more people can enjoy it. In the meantime... well, I'm pretty sure everyone can figure out how to play in some way, wink wink nudge nudge. It's a kill time well worth going for.
On the surface, it would appear that Tony and Raymond could be the generic white cop / black cop teams that were all the rage in TV and movies back in the 80's. There is one franchise in particular that it looks like they might have been based on, which is Lethal Weapon.
Raymond as Danny Glover is a bit of a stretch, maybe because he's missing the mustache and stuff. But Tony could TOTALLY pass himself off as Mel Gibson before he went on that Jew-bashing rampage. Hell, Tony's last name is Gibson. If that's not a tongue-in-cheek reference to Lethal Weapon, then I don't know what is.
However, that's not really what I was getting at with this section. Because it turns out that Crime City was not the first game to star our heroes Tony and Raymond... it was a slightly more popular game called Chase H.Q.
Yes! Remember Chase H.Q.? The game where you got to repeatedly crash into the criminal's vehicle to get them to pull over (at which point it would go to a cutscene like the one above, in which both cars look miraculously damage-free even though the criminal's car was covered with flames a couple seconds earlier)? They might not be wearing the same outfits that they did in Crime City, but it is most definitely the same Tony and Raymond. Hell, they're even driving the same car that can be seen in the intro.
As expected, they starred in the sequel: S.C.I. - Special Criminal Investigation too. Pretty much the same thing, except now Tony could fire from the car to do extra damage while Raymond drives. It's like a precursor to Namco's Lucky & Wild! Except it's not. Unfortunately this seems to be the last game they appeared in, although a third game in the "Chase" series was made called Super Chase, but... as far as I can tell, they slapped two different guys who aren't Tony and Raymond into the game.
Yeah, what the christ.
At any rate, I still think it's kinda cool that Taito kept those characters going for a few games, even if practically nobody noticed. Hell, I didn't even know about it until a year or so ago when I saw a post on some message board where somebody pointed out it was the same guys. I never made the connection when I was a kid because I wasn't THAT big a fan of Chase H.Q. or S.C.I., but I also never noticed it after messing around with the games on emulators either. So there you go, a fun geeky little trivia fact that absolutely nobody cares about.
I remember hearing a while back that Taito was producing a new Chase H.Q. for the next-gen consoles, but I'm not sure if it got cancelled or what. If the game does see the light of day, here's hoping that our buddies Tony and Raymond are back behind the wheel, doing what they do best - crushing out the crime.