An arcade game that caused a small revolution in arcade gaming. You use a large, plastic light gun, colored in either pastel blue or pink (Why these colors? Did someone have a baby?) and shoot at the screen at various bad guys. In order to reload your gun after 6 shots, you shoot off-screen. The screen scrolls to the right slowly as you kill terrorists. The terrorists shoot at you or throw knives if you take too long to kill them. Occasionally, hostages will pop up and you are penalized if you kill them. You can shoot out windows, tires, and various things. Sometimes, power-ups pop up, such as a shotgun, and a machine gun. You go through various levels like a bank robbery, airport, Chinatown, and a toxic waste dump. This game was very popular and led to the creation of many other games very similar to it, such as Area 51,Virtua-Cop, House of the Dead, and Silent Scope(the greatest gun game ever made!). It led the way for ultra-violent games to be translated into a format that makes teenagers even more enthusiastic about shooting at things (although in its defense, you only shoot at bad guys).

Lethal Enforcers is an excellent lightgun games series by Konami. The signature Lethal Enforcers lightgun is the Justifier, a beast only bested in durability by Nintendo's Zapper. Player one is blue, and player two (hooked up by telephone cable in home versions, due to some poor design decisions) is pink, as player one represents a guy and player two doesn't.

The first Lethal Enforcers is generally a better game. You're a modern day cop and have the option to go through target-shooting, a robbery, an assault in Chinatown, a skyjack, a drug bust, and a gunfight in a chemical plant for God-knows-why. The game is a real blast (rimshot) alone or with a friend. Three things made this game something wholly different at the time:

  • Your enemies fight back (beaten by Gangster Town? True, but you fought at the enemies in that game more than with them).
  • By digitizing real actors, the game creators create a semi-realistic, gritty world (though I grudingly admit the movement is wooden at best).

There are two ports of this game. The Genesis port captures most of the stuff from the arcade and is delightful. However, there are a couple of flaws with it. First of all, the game is linear, which wouldn't be so bad, except you have to repeat the stage if you shoot a hostage or your accuracy is too low, which becomes infuriating. Second, with my modern TV the lightgun is kind of wonky and unreliable, but I suppose the folks at Konami are scarcely fortune-tellers.

The SNES port is absolute swill. First of all, thanks to Nintendo's puritanical fear of violence (which later came back to bite them on the ass), instead of any blood appearing when your character is shot, the screen flashes green. This is annoying and stupid and ruins the feel of the game. Furthermore, the game is slow as Hell.

The prequel, Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters is set in the Old West, and you are the sheriff. Aside from prettying up (including better movement of characters) and more enemies who require multiple shots to kill, the mechanics are pretty much the same. You go through a bank robbery, a stage holdup, a saloon shootout, and a coal mine.

Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters is only ported to the Genesis. No loss. You now no longer need to use a controller to navigate the options, and the lightgun works a lot better with my TV in this one (with calibration, of course). In my opinion, the first is (marginally) better, but this is still worth owning, and it's practically a steal at the prices it goes for these days with a brand-used Justifier.

Addendum: The Playstation version is by far the best version. It's arcade perfect, it features more difficulties, and both games are on the disc. Any "old" (i.e., non-Guncon) lightgun will work with it.

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