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Versus Mode: Bad Dudes vs. Vigilante

Superheroes. Countless video games have been created to allow an average Joe to take the form of a superhero and save the universe. Don the cape, strap on the suit, or get really super pissed and suddenly you become invincible. But what about the unlikely heroes? The fat little plumbers. The boys and their blobs. Or how about the dudes who hang out at the gym way too much? In this installment of Versus Mode, it’s a brodown showdown between Bad Dudes on the NES and Vigilante on the TurboGrafx-16.

Bad Dudes is a side-scrolling beat ’em up in which the player, after attesting to the fact that they are indeed a “bad enough dude to rescue the president”, assumes the role of a bad dude and proceeds to take down the ninja gang who has kidnapped the president. The game was ported to several systems including the C64, ZX Spectrum, and the NES in 1989. The game does have a two player option but sadly, it is not simultaneous co-op.

Gameplay is average for a side-scrolling beat ‘em up. Player moves are limited to basic kicks and punches. Occasionally, enemies will drop weapons such as nunchucks or knives. Enemies vary by color with some throwing ninja stars or dropping power-ups after you smack them down. Bosses are tough but, once you figure out their move pattern, they are fairly easy to take down.

The sound is scratchy and tends to blend in with the music. Drum beats sound almost identical to punch and kick sounds. The graphics are what truly let this game down. Flicker is constant and especially prevalent during levels when the player is fighting on a moving platform such as a semi-truck or a train.

Vigilante is a side-scrolling beat ’em up in which the player must rescue Madonna from the Skinheads. Personally, I would let them keep her because she totally broke Spicoli’s heart and that was bogus. The game debuted on the TurboGrafx-16 in 1989. You’ll be sharing the controller on this one as there is no player two option.

Gameplay in Vigilante is very similar to Bad Dudes as you pretty much have the same moves and weapons available to serve up your standard street justice. Both games suffer from “enemy cling” which occurs when an enemy runs up to the player then clings to them, quickly draining their health. Many beat ‘em ups from the era suffer from this cheap move. Seriously, if you are going to pull cheap moves on my guy, at least try to sweep the leg.

Graphically, the TurboGrafx-16 rarely disappoints and Vigilante is no exception. Player and enemy sprites are large and nicely detailed thanks to the bright and rich color palette. When enemies/bosses are hit, their heads flip back causing spit to fling into the air. A nice little touch of animation. Sounds effects are a bit muffled and the music doesn’t seem to fit the genre but neither detracts from the fighting action. While screen flicker is non-existent in Vigilante, it does suffer from poor hit detection which is especially prevalent during boss fights.

In this Versus Mode matchup, the winner is Vigilante. Bad Dudes is just plain bad and while Vigilante isn’t as good as Double Dragon, it is a solid title in a crowded genre.

Brandon Weicks

Brandon is a writer, tech guy, game collector, and sucks at video games. He still holds hope that Sega will release a new console and believes Nintendo peaked with the Super Gameboy. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys playing in his ManCade, listening to funk, and going game hunting on his Bonnie. If you would like to contribute towards my literary ambition, please use this link

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