Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Yo! The man who makes Biffa Bacon look like a big girl’s blouse is back in town and he's real mad! Guess what? Someone’s kidnapped his girlfriend (now there's a novelty!). These someone's are in fact the Rogues, a street gang who have a reputation that would scare the SAS silly. The Vigilante is the only man who can make the streets safe, defend his turf and save young Maria. All jolly good news because you are that Vigilante. You have the skills, the bad attitude and rather trendy dungarees necessary for just such a job. Ready? Huh, Vigilantes were born ready!
(Image caption) Eat Nuch... Nunkuch... er, rice flail, greasy biker!
The battle is fought over five urban war zones: junkyards, bridges and desolate wastelands await you later, but the action begins on a shopping street. Before you can say "Shut your grate or I'll drift ya,” on stomp a whole host of green-clad thugs. The rumble has started, so let's rock!
Vigilante is a beat ’em up of the old school - a horizontally scrolling all-on-one-level job, where anybody with the nerve to show their face on screen is just begging to have it punched in. Viggy only knows a few fighting moves but, used well, they’re all he'll need. Why bother with a triple spinning dragon kick when a bunch of fives in the kisser will suffice?
To win, the Vigilante has to make his way to the far end of the scene and trash all the enemies on each level before the time runs out or his rather generous energy limit is sapped by too many punches. First, Vig decides to pulp some pretty rough looking guys down at the shops. Why? Because they look exactly the kind of people who’d play such a rotten trick as kidnapping one’s girlie. After a heavy set- to with them and their boss - the biggest, meanest, hairiest chain smoker you ever did see - it dawns on Vig that the kidnappers probably had some kind of transport. So logically he heads for the junkyard and level two.
(Image caption) On the last level construction site, the Vigilante provides some pain for his pursuers!
Amidst the wrecked cars and trucks more Rogue fist fodder fling itself into the fray. They use knives and iron bars to beat you, and some of the little tykes even have guns -how unsporting can you get! Vig does get to use rice flails which can be picked up along the way, but it’s hardly an equal match!
After an easier end of level big guy, the trail hots up (or so the text messages say). The van with your lady in the back is heading for the bridge. Here the stakes are upped: the Rogues attack on bikes while the gunners get a longer range and sneakier positions. Luckily they’re hopeless shots, so unless you’ve got a day job as a barn door they aren't much of a problem.
From here on in it’s all much the same. Nastier baddies with nastier weapons have to be dispatched more often, the end of level guys get harder, and the time to complete each brawl gets shorter.
(Image caption) The bad Boss man of the Junkyard!
The trouble is that all the fighting, killing and maiming - fun as it is - soon gets, well, dull. The same enemies pop up repeatedly and Viggy has too few ways of varying his attack. He can kick or punch straight ahead, high or low. And that’s yer lot, apart from the chance to whup someone with a set of 'nunchakus' occasionally, and aimlessly jump up and down. It’s all very prettily drawn, but as finger fatigue starts to set in you begin to wonder if it’s worth the effort.
The graphics are great: cartoon aggro at its best. The menacing theme music is well suited too, but these don’t make for many hours of happy slapping. There’s little to do but stand tall and dish out the pain. No leaping to different heights, no baseball bats or bins to bash bad guys with. Without this Vigilante can’t hope to beat the competition from the Dragon twins. Vigilante is a solid but stolid, beat 'em up that got mugged for excitement somewhere on the way to the Sega.
▲ Good arcade graphics make for great grappling
▲ Five visually varied war zones to play in
▲ Some wonderful animation really brings the bad guys to life!
▼ The enemies repeat so much, you’d think you were fighting Sky Channel!
▲ Dank, moody theme tune adds much-needed atmosphere
▼ No decent bone-breaking effects
▼ Depth? What depth - this is a beat 'em up!
▼ Interest nosedives after level one with a feeling of "been there, punched that..."
▼ Could have done with a greater range of damage-inducung moves
▲ So simple to learn your Granny could play it
▼ ...But she'd prefer Double Dragon!
▼ With enough energy to power a small city, you'll beat the baddies all too soon
A smart arcade conversion that delivers plenty of bodies to kick, but in an uninspired fashion. Too simple, too easy.