TWO COPS - BOTH LETHAL
A multi-level shoot 'em up based on aspects of all three Lethal Weapon movies. You can choose to be either one of the two high fire-powered cops... each having his individual strengths and weaknesses! There are many missions to complete including the rescue of a kidnapped girl, the pursuit and arrest of drug runners, finding and arresting a police murderer, plus many more. You choose the level to suit your objectives within the game-play.
It's mean, fast and... LETHAL!
~ from the back of the Commodore 64 box
With a recently announced Lethal Weapon 5 in development, the upcoming years look set to continue the careers of the geriatrics (see also Bill and Ted, Indiana Jones and Ghostbusters). Lethal Weapon, in particular, has left me with mixed emotion. I really enjoy the franchise, but with both Danny Glover and Mel Gibson already looking quite long in the tooth by the fourth outing, a further 22 years on top that that and surely they're ‘too old for this shit!’. That being said, Riggs and Murtagh are perhaps the best buddy cop team there is and if they can capture that magic again there's a small hope we're onto a winner.
While we wait for that though, let’s take a look at the history of Lethal Weapon games. Ocean Software took on the licence in 1992 around the time the third film was busting blocks. They made a number of various games for different systems so let's begin with the Commodore 64.
Understandably, this platformer is perhaps the most basic game in the collection both in terms of graphics and sound. Being the weakest of the systems, there's no room for a story here either in still screens or scrolling text. You do, however, get to pick either Murtagh or Riggs to play as. You begin in an industrial dock setting heaving with bad guys to shoot at. Scattered around is some ammo and health pick-ups which you'll invariably need to be able to keep firing and stay alive. There is a variety of enemies with different tactics which is a nice touch not usually found on the system and both cops control rather nicely. This makes it a surprisingly decent game on a system that's notoriously hit or miss, with an emphasis on the latter. Graphically, this could've been any game. You wouldn’t really know this was based on Lethal Weapon were it not for the opening title and character select screens. While the layout is fairly well done, the stages don't capture the essence of the movie, but it all works and is fairly fun to play which is the main thing.
In 1993, the original Nintendo got a side-scrolling beat 'em up. It plays very similarly to that of Double Dragon, but it's not nearly as memorable. You punch or kick your way through hordes of goons with a variety of power-ups to pick up along the way. Some are imperative to get any further, such as grenades which have a throwing arc useful to hit flying helicopters or thugs who've buried themselves in holes. The combat is still rather basic, even with the Select button toggling between hand-to-hand combat or your weapon. You only have a limited supply of bullets but when a kick or a punch will down most in a single hit anyway, it's not much use anyway.
You start off as the recognisable Riggs, but when you lose all your health you change to Murtagh. With the latter being able to pick up and throw crates, as well as heavy punches. Whereas Riggs can jump higher and do kicks. Sadly, there is no multiplayer which is a shame. Beat 'em ups are much more fun with someone also clutching their controller by your side, so it's a travesty it's not included. This game also lacks anything resembling a story and has you go through three stages of a park, a camp and an exhibition with little to link between them. Even within the stages, the settings will strangely morph into other areas. Halfway through the first level, the park will suddenly become a desert wasteland, complete with pyramids in the background. Lethal Weapon on the NES is a solid enough game, but once again really doesn’t capture any of the charm that the movies have. All it has is a couple of Riggs and Murtagh character skins.
The GameBoy version is nearly the same as the NES version, except shorter. It cuts the first two levels having you instead start on a crime-filled L.A. street. It differs in a couple of other ways too, both due to the technical limitations of the GameBoy and seemingly random tinkering. The screen is zoomed in to accommodate the small screen size which lessens the time needed to react. The grenade throwing in the NES version is still here, but you don’t have the space to line up your throws and you can easily overshoot the targets. I would skip this version if I were you.
The SNES version goes back to being a platformer and is all the better for it. Here, you get to pick which order you tackle the first four missions, before unlocking the final fifth stage. You select the mission in a hub-world of sorts, a police station that's fully explorable. You access each stage by entering their respective door, followed by a welcome scene that details the mission and what you need to. You'll also get a still from the film, which is more than can be said for any other game in the compilation.
Being an action platformer, you'll find yourself jumping over moving platformers as well as shooting foes. On top of this, you'll find sections that require climbing or swinging upping the variety of each stage. Like the NES version, you start playing as Riggs and upon your death, you reincarnate as Murtagh. I would say of all the versions, this version is graphically the most pleasant, though they aren't exactly used in the best way. The first mission will see you swimming away from man-eating sharks and the second level has you traversing a sewer that resembles Dracula’s dungeon more than anything. What’s worse is that they seem to have given Riggs and Murtagh oversized heads as if they were something you'd place n your car's dashboard. Again, it appears that the developer did not care to put much integrity to the licence, which is disappointing. Taken solely as a game though, it is perfectly average fun.
The Amiga and DOS versions are the best of the bunch in my opinion, specifically the Amiga version, which makes better use of the system graphical capabilities. Both are more or less identical otherwise. Like the SNES version you can also pick your missions from the LA Precinct that you start in, but you also can get to decide if you play as Riggs or Murtagh from the off too. Just enter the locker room to switch.
The locations feel a bit more reel and gritty than the SNES version. You’re still platforming by climbing ladders and jumping on moving platforms in roughly the same locations, but there's a distinct lack of the over-the-top shenanigans found on Nintendo's console. Continuing with the 'realism', getting shot takes a fair amount from your health bar and any incoming fire is more difficult to dodge.
Overall, there's nothing about any of the Lethal Weapon games that stand out. Sure, most of them work and are relatively playable, but we're talking about an era that had Mario, Double Dragon and Jazz Jackrabbit all in their prime. As such, they are the definition of average. They do nothing with the license and capture nothing of what made the movies great. All they have are a couple of sprites that vaguely resemble Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. If you go in with low expectations you may enjoy a dalliance with these games, but as for me, ‘I’m too old for this shit’!
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses FS-UAE and DOSBox to bring the Amiga and PC games to modern systems. Uses Retroarch with the VICE x64, Nestopia, SNES9X, TGB Dual, cores to emulate the console and handheld games. X-input controllers supported for most games. Manuals for some games included. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 71.1 Mb. Install Size: 191 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Lethal Weapon (the games) are © Ocean Software
Lethal Weapon (the movies) are © Warner Bros
Review by HeroOfAvalon
Cover Design and Installer created by me