Thursday, 2 June 2011

Arcade - Vendetta

  I can almost imagine how the conversation between the Design team on this one went.

Designer no. 1 – “So, we’ve enjoyed a lot of success with that 4-player cabinet and cartoon licences. It seems the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Simpsons converted well to a 4-player side-scrolling beat-‘em up, what now?”

Designer no. 2 – “How about we do another one?”
Designer no. 1 – “Have we got a licence?”

Designer no. 2 – “Let’s just make one up, we could have our own characters who bear a slight resemblance to famous fighters.”

Designer no. 1 – “Right, so Mr T, Hulk Hogan, Jean Claude Van Damme, and… erm…”

Designer no. 2 – “Mike Tyson?”
Designer no. 1 – “OK, but only if we can have some bare-chested randy men in leather hats attempt to gay rape the players.”

>cough, splutter<

Alright, seriously, you might think I’m on the wind-up, but I’m actually genuinely not. Apparently they were removed from the British release of the game, but I SWEAR I saw them in there in a real arcade in Newquay.

We’ll come back to that in a minute. “Vendetta” is actually an alterna-title for “Crime Fighters 2”, but is quite far removed from that slightly archaic-by-comparison game. The sprites are large and detailed, the animation is smooth and realistic, the sound is a million times better, and the game…
Well, it’s pretty damn good. Many will compare it to Final Fight or something like that. In my opinion, this beats Final Fight hands down. The violence is sometimes a little more comic-book than FF, but it’s certainly much more solid, and don’t forget where the game engine and design mainly came from… TMNT and The Simpsons, anyone?
You may remember in my Pit Fighter review, I talked about your character falling down different ways… well, this game includes a very similar feature. Get hit from the front and you’ll fall to your back, where you can kick on your way up! What a great idea! Get hit from behind and you’ll land on your front, and just pick yourself up a little quicker.

The same goes for enemies, except they don’t attack from the ground. However, you CAN attack them on the ground.
There’s a nice wide variety of weapons you can use... spikey baseball bats, tyres you can throw, boxes and so on, but then there’s the more unusual weapons, like bags of flour (or maybe cement, I don’t know) that make enemies cough in a cloud of dust, or the bucket that you can throw over an enemy’s head, causing him to walk around blindly until you smash him one.
The bosses are an interesting bunch. The first two are pretty easy to deal with, but when you reach the “Missing Link”, things start to get harder. It’s worth it, though, even if just to see the next level, the usual “Seedy street” level.
Yep, you guessed it, this is where the randy men try to play at bumming with you. At least, they will if they’re enabled. The thing is, I don’t get WHY they’re in the game. How did they make it into the gang? “If someone attacks you with a knife, how do you defend yourself?” “I’ll BUM them to death!”. And yes, I couldn’t help but think of Bo Selecta’s version of Elton John when I wrote that.

Comedy value aside, there’s no real reason for them to be there. Simple as.
Still, I’m detracting from reviewing what is, at the end of the day, probably the finest incarnation of the 4-player side-scrolling beat ‘em-up genre. The gameplay itself is finely tuned… you’ll have no trouble with the first couple of stages if you’re a seasoned beat ‘em-up player, but once you reach the 3rd boss (The aforementioned “Missing Link”), the difficulty ramps up quickly and the whole thing gets much trickier very very quickly. But this happens a lot in this genre, look at Final Fight as a prime example, not forgetting that it is often considered the ultimate side-scrolling beat ‘em-up.
For my money, and I would in no way suggest Vendetta is the best game ever, I think it beats Final fight in almost every department hands down. The only thing I would say to Final Fight’s benefit over Vendetta is the speed of it all. Vendetta is definitely not quite as hectic, but that’s no bad thing. Where you had a “scatter” move in Final Fight, you don’t here in Vendetta, so being completely surrounded just isn’t an option.

But then this game was always meant to be enjoyed as part of a 4-player party rather than a single-player.
If nothing else, play it under foreign settings so you can experience the hilarity of the dry-humping members of the Blue Oyster Bar.


  1. Man, I never would have remembered the name of this - thanks for pointing it out! Quick question, though - is this the 4-player brawler where you fight a Jason with a buzzsaw while on a train, or is that the first Crime Fighters?

  2. You mean Buzzsaw Bravado?