Monday 18 May 2015

Vigilante (Turbografx-16 review)

Developer: Irem Corp.
Publisher: NEC
Released: 1989

Vigilante is a side scrolling beat-em-up game that has many similarities to Irem's 1984 Arcade title Kung-Fu Master.

You play a martial artist who must travel through five levels to defeat The Skinheads and rescue your girlfriend Madonna. Your journey will take you through New York City Streets, The Junkyard, a Bridge, a Back Street and a Construction Yard. Working your way from left to right you have to take out the constant stream of enemies attacking you from both sides using punches, kicks and flying kicks. You'll also want to look out for the special nunchucks that appear as they allow you to dish out punishment at a faster rate. There aren't many different enemies but some require strategy rather than straight-up brawling. For example, the ones in yellow tops have batons and they'll quickly kill you unless you duck and use your low kick. Learning these patterns is key to being successful in most parts of the game. The levels are short and when you get to the end you'll face a boss. These are devoid of imagination and each one is generic and boring to fight. The gameplay as a whole is unremarkable - not to mention repetitive - and once you're familiar with the enemy types you can breeze through all the levels in 15 minutes. The action only takes place across one plane; this means can't move towards the foreground or background and it seems almost archaic by 1989 standards as this was the same year that Final Fight and Golden Axe were released in the Arcades. The background graphics are excellent though and perfectly convey the level settings with some nice parallax scrolling. The music is distorted and the voice samples are scratchy and difficult to decipher.

Vigilante isn't necessarily a bad game but it's just very limited and outdated given its release schedule. If it would have had more variety it could have been semi-decent but in reality it arrived 3-4 years too late to be considered an acceptable gameplay experience.

Random trivia: This version of Vigilante was re-released on the Wii Virtual Console in 2007, as well as on the Wii U Virtual Console as a Japan-only exclusive in 2015.

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