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Lethal Enforcers

Genre: Light Gun Developer: Konami Publisher: Konami Players: 1-2 Released: 1993

“A long time a go in a galaxy far away…”

Oh wait, wrong story! Here we go! Ahem… Some years ago, like twenty years ago, when there where arcade places in the Netherlands…

In the Netherlands there are still some arcades left, but you can count them on one hand. If you look hard, you might be able to find some that still have older games. There are still some good, old fashioned arcade titles left to play in those places, like Lethal Enforcers, but if your search comes up empty, be thankful that Konami also released cartridge and CD versions. If you like the series Miami Vice and light gun games, then this one is for you! Today we’re going to talk about the Genesis version. I don’t know about the CD port, but you can read our review for information about that one.

You really need a gun to play Lethal Enforcers, preferably the original Justifier pistol. With a game pad, it feels less than authentic, to say the least. There’s no getting around it; you just need to grip a light gun for these types of games, period. That’s how they were intend to be played. The accuracy of the gun is great, but I have one complaint. When the enemies are on the left side or right side under the screen, it’s really hard to hit them. More than once, they will easily hit you while you shoot like five or six times to get a hit on them, and that can sometimes be a little frustrating.

The difficulty is brutally hard. You have to be a real good cop to get anywhere. If you want to advance to the next round, shooting civilians or wasting bullets by firing into the air is a no-no. Your score is tallied at the end of each level, and you have to advance beyond the rank of patrolman, or else you have to do the stage all over again. That might be a turn off for some people, but there’s help in the game in the form of different guns to use. Grab the magnum, and you’ll be feeling like Dirty Harry in no time. You can also grab an automatic, assault rifle, a shotgun, uzi, and grenade gun. Be the Terminator or Chuck Norris (roundhouse kick not included). Take your pick!

Lethal Enforcers has five stages: the Bank Robbery, China Town Assault, the Hijack, the Drug Dealers, and the Chemical Plant. Each of the stages is divided into two 2 levels, with a boss battle at the end. These bosses can be tough and need a large amount of lead pumped into them to let them know that crime doesn’t pay. As you might expect, the difficulty can be high in these fights, and you have to aim at the bosses and shoot them one or two times just to see if he’s actually getting hit. However, if you shoot more than that while he’s in the “hit” animation, it won’t be registered, and you’ll have wasted a shot. For that reason, you have to wait until he has shot something at you or thrown a projectile so you know that you can hit him again. Throw in that some random enemies during these battles, and you got a quick recipe for frustration sometimes, especially when you have to play stage all over again if you die.

As far as the visuals go, it’s obvious that this is not the arcade version, but they did a good job porting it to the Genesis. The digitized graphics are clean and detailed, and everything looks pretty decent, considering the downgrade. Some of the enemies are a little fuzzy when in the background, but everything is clear, for the most part.

The sound, on the other hand… well, it’s there, but it’s not that great. The music is pretty good and does a competent job of mimicking the arcade original. However, the voices are a mixed bag, and some sound clear while others are almost unintelligible. One thing is for sure though, the voiced phrases repeat themselves much too often, and one-liners like “you’ll never catch me copper!” will have your eyes rolling.

In the end, Lethal Enforcers is a nice game to be had cheap, but it’s often too difficult in some places. The fact that it’s hard to shoot enemies when they are in the left or right corners might just leave a bad taste in the mouths of many a gamer, but if you want to feel like Sonny Crocket, Dirty Harry, or Charles Bronson, then pop this one in and start blasting the bad guys to hell.

SCORE: 7 out of 10

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