Review by hangedman

"Did they know it was this inept?"

Rant ahead.

Sometimes, the video game industry decides to define the word “stupid” for me so clearly that it shakes my faith in its abilities as a whole. I used to think that it wasn’t very noteworthy if a crappy company let loose a crappy game, as is the case with Acclaim slapping out rush-jobs of very movie-license known to man, or perhaps we can shake an angry finger at 3DO’s insistence to make an Army Men game for every genre on every platform. Enough beating around the bush, let’s blow it away with a large-caliber handgun: Jaleco is the antichrist of video game developers.

You see, Jaleco has consistently and reliably made me groan with each of its releases; my favorite game of all Jaleco games would probably only live up to the standard of being mediocre. It dawned on me today, playing through 64th Street, A Detective Adventure, that Jaleco should have at least done something right. It should be very alarming that this already substandard company hasn’t had one fluke to produce something interesting, let alone groundbreaking.

Detectives. Or are they?

I’ve watched a few episodes of Dragnet and Law and Order, so I know how all this detective **** goes down: a few surly cops get to the scene, make some strange and cynical comments, and the detectives show up. They look around, squat down and look at things closely, and they go back to file reports. They go from door to door, asking people various sorts of questions helpful to their investigation, often looking at rap sheets and past instances in order to draw a connection to the mystery at hand.

I’ll tell you what they ****ing don’t do: they don’t dress in all colors of the rainbow and hit people on the streets. 64S:ADA has perhaps the flimsiest transition to a beat-‘em-up known to man: it’s anywhere from the 1920s to the 1940s, and two detectives Rick and Allen have discovered encoded messages in the newspapers that detail criminal activity. Naturally, their first detective instincts are not to go to the newspaper station and inquire as to who placed the ads—**** that. No, Rick or Allen, or both if you’ve found someone even stupider than you to play this, decide to walk down the street and beat up everyone on the sidewalks, Final Fight style.

What’s the difference between the two? Final Fight was a good game.

There’s tons of stuff I hate about this mess of an arcade game. For starters, Rick looks like a flamboyant clone of Burt Reynolds. Gamefaqs won’t let me use the word I wanted to in place of flamboyant, by the way. His partner, Allen, isn’t any better, what with his skintight pink pants and beret. Both day-glo warriors attack all manner of day-glo punks on the street with a single punch combo, a jump kick, and a mostly useless special move.

The graphics might not have been that bad if they didn’t produce some of the most disgusting and awfully designed characters I’ve ever laid eyes on. Seriously, there are some dumb freaks in this game that wouldn’t be worth the smallest shin kick from other, more worthy beat-‘em-up characters. Final Fight’s Bred and Dug could easily demolish any of the clowns in this crap-heap. I’ll give you the highlights: a giant pirate that spins in circles, a guy in short-shorts that looks like he has Down Syndrome, some awkward looking robots apparently made from surplus wine barrels, a glam rocker that sure as hell isn’t from the 1920s, and a small hobo looking guy with a claw and an eye-patch.

That’s not even counting the scores of less idiotic generic bad guys, who placed next to some cool characters would easily be laughed out of the lineup. Following the standards outlined by the 1989 Japanese character design manifesto, every enemy must wear bright colors and dress as if they were trying to fight their way into Whitesnake’s music video—consider that this is terrible design considering 64th Street is set back presumably in prohibition-era.

And the bad just keeps right on coming!

64S:ADA doesn’t know when to attempt to save itself. Instead of accepting its kitschy sense of charm (because truthfully, its ineptitude is hilarious), 64S:ADA jumps headlong into the grave by failing at everything else a beat-‘em-up normally endeavors to do right. Sound? Awful. The first level will annoy you with a rendition of some stupid detective theme (which you’ll instantly recognize, but forget where it was from, causing even more irritation); it will then hurt you by the loud, static-pockmarked voices and inept sound effects. You’ll want to hit Rick when he yells in anger, a terrible-sounding “Hooreyah!”

Like moldy bread one might shovel into his mouth obliviously at 3 in the morning while looking for something to eat, it might take a while to notice that something’s amiss. Once you’ve worked over a half-dozen stupid goons with your punch combo, you’ll start noticing there’s not much else to do. The only thing new about 64S:ADA is the ability to hurl people into the background, which usually causes cheesecake or other such pickups to become dislodged from the wall, however implausibly—I know if I was a crime syndicate boss, I’d make sure that I hid a loaf of bread in the hull of my cargo ship.

Punch combo what seems like billions of people and you just might get to the boss before you decide to shoot yourself. To compensate for the stupid AI patterns, most bosses can knock you over effortlessly. It doesn’t hurt much, but they can knock you down and repeat it again as soon as you get back up. They might as well kill you in one hit, because any way you slice it, you’re ****ed. Hope that your victory comes through the awkward trading of hits.

Get a load of how articulate I am:

**** Jaleco. I mean that sincerely. To paraphrase a favorite comic book character of mine, this game is just another lump in a sea of ****. If you’re looking for the “good” Jaleco game, this sure as hell isn’t it. It isn’t anywhere, actually, so stop looking. 64S:ADA is one more crappy title put out by this company: it fails on most every level—the kicker is that in spite of its potential to be funny it becomes tedious and boring, more so than any other beat-‘em-up like it by accomplishing this failure halfway through the first level.

I’m going to spare you the doorstop comments, the “I’d rather be” tangents, and the “stay far away” jab. I’ll put it this way: if you want to play an emaciated version of Final Fight with dumb characters and an even dumber plot, this game needs your money.

3 / 10
Three words: Flamboyant Burt Reynolds.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 03/29/03, Updated 03/29/03


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