Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Irem / NEC

I acquired Vigilante back when it was first released, and it has sucked ass from the very beginning. Taking its cue from ancient Kung Fu, it offers straightforward punch-and-kick action that calls for little thought, skill, or finesse. Stand in one spot and hold down a button with the corresponding turbo switch cranked up, and watch as your foes mindlessly stumble into beatings. Take a few steps forward and perform the same routine to deal with the next batch of assailants. Occasionally, you'll come into possession of nunchucks that'll essentially grant you invincibility until you encounter particular bosses.

The bosses are hardly difficult to beat, but they're stout, thickset fellows who don't go down easily. Get in a few jabs, take a couple of steps back in anticipation of a counterattack, and then move in once again. It's a tedious, unchallenging exercise, the thought of which won't encourage you to pound your way through the dull-in-their-own-right levels.

Your enemies look every bit the part of dopes, while the backdrops are drab for the most part.

A number of the game's tunes have stuck with me, and sometimes I'm silly enough to think it would be cool to revisit them, but the sad reality is that most of 'em sound terrible; and once the possibility of a pleasant aural reunion goes down the tubes, it's a given that the experience on the whole will suck.

At least your quest won't take you very far, so you'll endure minimal pain before reaching the amazing "WAY TO GO DUDE" ending screen. But when a game I've owned since '89 can barely make me wax nostalgic at all, well, the game really can't be worth a damn.

Little time is wasted before Vigilante lets you know just how goofy it really is.

It's turbo-switch-treated Kung Fu: clobber your witless enemies until you reach a boss.

The third level actually looks pretty nice, and it features a sequence that sees bikers attempt to run you down--the one stretch where the game deviates from its vanilla walk-halt-hit routine.

I get a kick out of how silly these oafish twins look as they go about their various attack motions.

There are references to other Irem products to be spotted in the final stage's backdrop--nice touches in what's generally a lousy and uninteresting game.

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