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Today in Retro Gaming: Two Crude Dudes

Data East got into this rut of playing “catch up” with their rivals, especially Technos.  Double Dragon comes out in the arcades, Data East makes Bad Dudes vs. Dragon NinjaDouble Dragon comes out on the NES, Bad Dudes comes out on the NES.  Double Dragon gets a sequel  where New York is ravaged by a nuclear holocaust, Data East makes a side-scrolling pseudo-sequel to Bad Dudes which takes place in…wait for it…a nuclear-holocaust-ravaged Big Apple.  The result was Crude Buster in the arcade, but home gamers in the US and UK knew it as Two Crude Dudes.



Rated M for Full-Frontal Crudity.

Rated M for Full-Frontal Crudity.

Two Crude Dudes is memorable mostly for being better than Bad Dudes, a backhanded compliment akin to pointing out the local high school team plays better than the Little League down the road.  But there’s more to this than meets the eye, as Data East used the opportunity to make significant upgrades to its spiritual predecessor.  Whereas Double Dragon in its arcade incarnation featured three buttons labeled Punch, Jump, and Kick, Two Crude Dudes traded Jump for something far more amusing: Throw.

A truly crude game would have used the word 'wiener'.

A truly crude game would have used the word ‘wiener’.

You wouldn’t think such an unassuming alteration could have a huge impact, but Two Crude Dudes bet the farm on absurdity, rolled the dice, and won.  Your on-screen avatar is lifted straight from the Schwarzenegger school of acting, complete with six-pack abs, 21-inch biceps, and (of course) a rocking pair of shades.  Imagine playing Double Dragon as an Abobo with his “Hulk SMASH!” mentality instead of the technical prowess of the Lee brothers.

"They see me rollin', they hatin'..."

“They see me rollin’, they hatin’…”

Two Crude Dudes sticks to the standard formula with the tenacity of Coca-Cola in its wiser, pre-New Coke years.  Stages scroll left-to-right with the occasional vertical maneuver or elevator stage late in the game, enemies emerge from both sides, and you beat the ever-loving crud out of them using whatever you can get your hands on.  Bosses all have their special gimmicks to set them apart from the rank-and-file thugs and midgets, and there’s even the obligatory “boss rush” before the final fight (a midget scientist who ineffectually beats on you with his hands until you pummel him enough that he transforms into some kind of dragon/human hybrid).  So far, so good, so what?  Well, there’s that ‘Throw’ button we were just talking about.

"You big meanie!"

“You big meanie!”

A simple tap of ‘Throw’ results in your character grabbing up whatever is at hand.  Generally this will be one of your enemies who has gotten too close for comfort, or fighting game staples like oil drums and rocks, but in the world of Two Crude Dudes, this can also mean steel I-beams, broken traffic lights, signs advertising the local cuisine of choice (hot dogs!), and even wrecked cars which your Dude hefts above his head like a waiter making a simple table-side delivery of scrap metal and engine parts.  Tap ‘Throw’ again, and guess what happens?

You get a call from PETA?

You get a call from PETA?

Between levels, you power up your Dude and earn bonus points by unleashing your wrath on an innocent Power Cola vending machine, Data East’s nod to Capcom’s bonus stages where you smash panes of glass or destroy cars because “vandalism is fun, kids!”  It’s even more enjoyable with a second player (a palette-swap of the first) along to watch your back.

Seriously, who is refilling this soda machine?

Seriously, who is refilling this soda machine?

Data East’s choice to abandon the more serious storylines involving kidnapping, murder, or revenge of its competition is the wisest decision they could have made.  Of course some massive gang of irradiated scum decided to take over what was left of New York.  Of course they have a ridiculous name like “Big Valley”.  Of course the only people who can put an end to their reign of terror so New York can rebuild from the ashes are a couple of irradiated-soda-chugging Charles Atlas types.  And it’s still a better love story than Twilight.  This is Data East at their side-scrolling best, loving every minute of their ham-fisted design choices and giving a grand total of zero fucks about everything else.  For this reason, above all others, Two Crude Dudes deserves a place in every retro gamer’s library.  And it all happened today…in retro gaming!

It's hard to be crude when you're this fabulous.

It’s hard to be crude when you’re this fabulous.

Michael Crisman

In 1979, Michael Crisman was mauled by a radioactive Gorgar pinball machine. After the wounds healed, doctors discovered his DNA had been re-coded. No longer fully human, Michael requires regular infusions of video games in order to continue living among you. If you see him, he can see you. Make no sudden moves, but instead bribe him with old issues of computer and video game magazines or a mint-in-box copy of Dragon Warrior IV.

If he made you laugh, drop a tip in his jar at

(If he didn’t make you laugh, donate to cure his compulsion to bang keyboards by sending an absurdly huge amount of money to his tip jar instead. That’ll show him!)

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6 Responses to “Today in Retro Gaming: Two Crude Dudes”

  1. ZikZak says:

    I used to play this game a lot. Ah the good old days. Two crude dudes, General chaos and Road Rash! A lot of fun!

    • Carl Williams says:

      I was more of a Bad Dudes gamer when it comes to this style of brawlers, myself. Not saying this was a bad game by any means.

      Road Rash, man that game should have been kept alive and going a lot longer than it was. There is so much that they could have done with that series as the consoles got more powerful. Imagine if Road Rash was able to develop into something akin to Twisted Metal but on motorcycles? It already kind of was but what if it was a huge open world with the track in it somewhere and it was up to you to figure out how to get to the next checkpoint, ala Carmageddon.

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