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Crime Patrol

Genre: FMV Developer: American Laser Games Publisher: American Laser Games Players: 1-2 Released: 1993

Packing more fun and cheese than an episode of Starsky and Hutch, it’s Crime Patrol! In this FMV light-gun game, you progress your way through ranks of the police force, taking on every criminal stereotype from robbers to terrorists, and blowing them away without a single blood splatter! Do you have what it takes to callously murder over a hundred criminals? Find out in Crime Patrol on your Sega CD!

All right, so when reviewing FMV games, special attention must be paid to the acting, the majority of which is community college theater-level bad. The acting in Crime Patrol is so bad that it wraps right around to being perversely entertaining. The earnestness of your first commanding officer. The way the criminals cackle after they shoot you. Everything is just so over the top that it had to have been tongue-in-cheek.

There are four sections of the game with separate episodes as you climb the ranks from rookie cop to SWAT team. When it comes down to it, there’s really nothing more to be done than going from place to place, shooting thugs. The action is too fast-paced to get monotonous, though a few puzzles would break up the repetition. At least the game knows what it is, and doesn’t try to be any more than that.

The video is typical Sega CD quality; grainy is the word of the day here. Especially when things start moving fast, the settings get more and more indistinguishable, just an ugly mass of browns and whites. The 3DO version looks leagues better graphically, so this is really just a downfall of the hardware. Still, it makes certain sections of the game harder than they need to be when your enemies are just distant blobs.

And boy is this one tough light-gun game! You have to quite literally have a hair-trigger. Certain foes only give you half-seconds to shoot before they gun you down and laugh at your corpse. This is made doubly hard if you don’t have a working light-gun and are forced to use a regular old controller. This is made quadruply hard by the badly-programmed and tiny hit-boxes.

There is an incredibly small window of time and space you have to get your shots in. Some enemies start shooting before they even get on screen and you have to shoot them before they technically appear! This means you have to basically memorize where each and every bad guy is so you can maneuver around in time and even then, you’ll probably miss even though you shot him three times. It’s incredibly frustrating, brings the fun to a stall, and lowers my rating by a few points. The artificial difficulty is surmountable, but not without a lot of gritted teeth, swearing, and possibly controller-flinging. Even on the easiest difficulty, the game is still punishingly fast-paced, and really expects too much of a first-time player.

The variety in levels is pretty high, ranging from shootouts in airports, nuclear facilities, airplanes, camper trailers, even a strip club! These are populated by every kind of criminal, from masked gunmen to very offensive Mexican gang members, hilariously bad Mafia bosses, foreign terrorists, drug smugglers, and even an old guy sitting on a toilet with a shotgun. It’s truly a wild ride and filled with more than a few laughs. Like the best bad movies, it really demands to be played with friends and a few drinks.

Would I recommend you play this game? Are you a fan of “so bad it’s good” entertainment? Cheesy ’90s FMV sequences? Light-gun games? The show Cops? If you answered yes to any of these, then you’ll probably find something to love about Crime Patrol. If only it would have been a little more competently programmed and less annoyingly difficult, I would be touting this as a must-play. Even as it is, check this out. It’s a great way to spend 45 minutes.

SCORE: 5 out of 10

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2 Comments

  1. b.tokin says:

    It’s always fun to watch long-plays of FMV games on youtube.
    I watched the Atari Laserdisc version of Crime Patrol because
    it was the 1st I found out about.

  2. thedecider says:

    This sounds hysterical; I’ve got to track down a copy!

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