25 November 2014


Publisher/Developer:  Sega/Irem (arcade original)
Format: Cartridge
Game Size: 256K
Rarity:  2
Game Type: 2d Brawler
Region: USA
Other Ways to Play: Turbografx 16 (Version on Wii Virtual Console), PC (Arcade Emulated and a free fan remake), Amiga, Amstrad, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum
Power Base Convertor Playable?: Yes, 6 Button Pad Capable.

Price I Paid: 8 Dollars
Price I Would Pay: 5 Dollars
Condition: Game, Case, Manual
Game Rating: BAD
My History:  Bought about a year before the project began.

  Vigilante has so much in common with the previous game I reviewed this month (Black Belt) it isn't even funny.  Like the previous review it is a 2d walk left with no real terrain to traverse and you just punch and kick dudes to reach a boss with a life bar like yours to kill to go to the next one till you rescue your lady because in the Grim Darkness of Reagan and Thatcher's 1980s Women are Merely Objects.

  Also like Black Belt the game is short as hell and throws an unfun difficulty curve at you to turn a 15 minute or so run into hours of frustration instead of fun and interesting game content.

  Where Vigilante is different is first off in the setting.  It is modern day in that oh so infamously crime ridden New York City like land before they got all the Porn off 42nd Street.  (Reagan and the Iron Lady merely gave the suits more ways to be criminal jackasses instead of poor people.)

  Also the graphics are GREAT.  I mean they are some of the prettiest 8 bit graphics I have seen in a game.  Every level looks pretty good with some being fantastic.

  Where this game is really hurt however is the CONTROL.  Oh god is the control in this game terrible.  While most of the controllers I used played decently enough (outside of the Master System Control Stick anyhow) the two button control when three are clearly needed make doing jumps difficult, and doing jump kicks or punches practically IMPOSSIBLE.

  Thankfully there is only a single boss that requires some jumping attacks though playing the game without exploiting the design probably would have been nice.

  As you walk through each of the stages you can find a weapon to pick up and you WILL NEED IT as the worst part of the game might not even be the control but the hit detection, something the weapon doesn't have to worry about.

  You see much like the NES classic Kung FU one of the most common enemies are these annoying guys who try to hug you to death like an evil version of Olaf from Frozen.

  And apparently they have Olaf's abilities to ignore physics.  You see your punches and kicks only connect with a single enemy at once.  And the Huggy Guys require nearly PERFECT placement of said kicks or punches for the attacks to register, leading you to have multiple guys glomping you like you are a hot cosplayer girl in a Chun Li outfit at a Nerd Con.

  Oh and did I mention many enemies have multiple wounds or ranged attacks?  And that they tend to get knocked back by your hits?  And that they generally won't attack you close in until you are getting hugged where they then take cheap shots?

  Yeah.  This game goes there.

  Thankfully you have unlimited stage continues and if you have extra lives you have a pre boss checkpoint.  Though in many cases you want to walk back and go grab the nearest weapon pickup and hope you don't take enough hits to lose the weapon before you can curbstomp the boss with it.  Without the weapon many of the bosses become very difficult indeed.

   If you MUST play Vigilante get DotEmu's Irem Arcade Hits collection and play the arcade original.  It sounds a lot better, the control is a LOT tighter and your hits connect to Huggy Guys much better.  However the bosses are harder and you take a lot more damage per hit than the SMS port here.  But you continue on from exactly where you lost a life which helps a lot.  Plus you can COIN IN TO VICTORY if you really want to.  I'd say go play Kung Fu on the NES, or Bad Dudes on your favorite Arcade Emulation solution or the Wii Data East collection instead.  Those are good fun for 2d Beat em Ups.

 (Next three shots are from a Genesis with Power Base Convertor.  I think.)
 I'M PUNCHING THE DARKNESS!  Might as well really.

 The first boss.

 Before I learned to stop worrying and avoid exploding motorcycles.  As you do.

I paid like 5 bucks and got a TON of DotEmu games including a ton of fairly decently emulated Irem arcade games.  The program that runs them isn't PERFECT by any means but.. it'll do.  (Buy it for Gunforce and In the Hunt.)

The arcade game has less colorful but nicer graphics.  And meaty sound.  In general it is better than the home port in every way.  Except you die in like 3 hits.  Look above.  That's a SINGLE GRUNT HIT ON YOU.  Seriously.  On the upside no checkpoints and you pop up on the spot.

Arcade cutscene.  I guess they really don't like the Material Girl's religious weirdness...

(Next three shots are from the Master System.)
 Junkyard in a jumper.

 Hmm.. this isn't supposed to take place in New York City or anything right? (This is the title screen if it wasn't completely obvious.)

This is.. unfortunate.  Also the motor bikers are annoying.

The rest are Kega Fusion shots.
 Well its MARIA now and the bad guys have gone equal opportunity.

 How to deal with annoying huggy SOBs and bad hit detection?  Just jump above them and they keep on truckin!

 Well they kept the cutscene bits pretty much.  So bonus?

 What you will understand about this game: DUDES GANGING UP ON YOU.

 How to beat all the bosses.  Crouch and use nunchaku.  This sometimes involves walking left instead of right before you fight the boss.  Don't try fighting the bosses without your wobbly black tube.  Gamecube not included.

 Good old 80s videogames.  Where women were just things to save.

 Don't have the Michaelangelo Special?  Long reach bosses own you.

Ding Gratz now you don't have to play the game.

  Master System Play:  It seems to pretty much look the same as the Genesis with Power Base as the screenshots above show.  The game is so good looking and colorful the normal SMS Bleed doesn't seem to crop up as bad as it does in other titles.

  So like Black Belt this game can only be rated as BAD.  The dodgy control and annoying hit detection make for a game that feels bad and merely ends up as frustrating and not fun.

 Next Review:  Next month is a busy one because of Holiday Hell.  Extra hours at work plus the holidays reminding me how lonely and miserable I usually am while any poor schlub who works retail gets to have their time taken away from their families even more than I did when I still had a lot of family alive.  So I am gonna review some games I have already played enough of so I can get em out quickly.

 So December will be WHY THE HELL DID YOU GET JUNIOR A MOTORBIKE FOR CHRISTMAS ITS GONNA KILL HIM Month.  Hang On and Enduro Racer will be taken out for a spin before Once Upon a Time's Ice Queen Cougar turns New England into a snowy wasteland of Masshole drivers driving so slowly as to make me go backwards on snowy hills to work.

  Instead we can just let out the throttle on 8 bit bikes!  Look forward to it or something.


  1. I thought she was Madonna at the start of the game... now she's Maria? I'm confused!

  2. The SMS port changed her name, probably for legal or religious reasons. I guess.