Thursday, 20 August 2015

Lethal Enforcers (Mega Drive / Genesis review)

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Released: 1993

Lethal Enforcers is a light-gun game that uses the Konami Justifier and it supports 1-2 players simultaneously.

The gameplay is simple and involves mowing down enemies that pop up from the auto-scrolling scenery. You can only take five hits (indicated by stars in the top-left) before you lose one of your five credits. The gun is very accurate and more immersive than dragging a cursor around the screen with a d-pad. The stages are lengthy with awesome introductory cut-scenes, excellent gameplay and interesting environments. Stage 1 takes place inside a bank, in the back streets and then on the road as you shoot down enemies in vehicles. Stage 2 is in a busy Chinatown and train station. Stage 3 takes place in an airport and features tons of incoming grenades and small hit boxes as you shoot bad guys on a plane. Stage 4 sees you battling at a dockyard, on a yacht and a warehouse before you blow up a helicopter. Finally, in Stage 5 you infiltrate a chemical plant and again there's a battle with a helicopter. While the gameplay is good the penalty for shooting civilians is too harsh as even killing one of them forces you to replay the entire level. This means you have to play a perfect game and it can be incredibly frustrating. You also need to be accurate with your shots to progress but your hit / miss percentage isn't displayed until after you've completed the stage. There are some bosses and while they're fun they all follow the same pattern of shooting their projectiles and firing at them in between. The digitised graphics are fantastic and bring a level of realism that the Mega Drive isn't really known for. The music compliments the tense action and the voice samples are fairly clear.

Lethal Enforcers is a really good shooter that's hampered by punishing mechanics that force you into repeating the same stages. The action is great but it's seriously disappointing to see it marred by the developers who seemed to prefer accuracy over pure entertainment.

Random trivia: A sequel called Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters was released on the Mega Drive and Mega CD in 1994.

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