We’re in the home stretch now! This 1989 game would be Konami’s first foray into the four player side scrolling beat em’ up that they would go on to dominate in the next couple of years- I’m talking about one of my favorites- Crimefighters!
Via Konami wiki-
Crime Fighters (クライムファイターズ Kuraimu Faitāzu) is a 1989 side-scrolling beat em’ up released by Konami for the arcade platforms. The players takes control of a duo (or squad) of undercover police officers who are assigned to rescue a group of kidnapped damsels from a crime boss and his army of punks.
The game was available in a four-player dedicated cabinet, as well as a conversion kit that was available in 2-player and 4-player versions (meant for either Atari Games’ Gauntlet or Konami’s own Main Event). Each player character is identical, save for each one sporting a different palette swapped color. Crime Fighters was followed by a sequel titled Vendetta(released in Japan as Crime Fighters 2).
In the four-player versions, each player position has its own coin slot and each credit value adds around a hundred health points to that position which slowly drains one health point per tick (similar to Gauntlet). Players are able to accidentally hit each other and cause allies to drop their weapons permanently. After defeating the boss at the end of each level, if the game has more than one current player then the players are given a time limit that refreshes when a player is hurt and tells the players to fight as long as they want and lose health. While some health is granted at the end of the time limit, it is possible to lose more health than granted during this fight. The two-player version gives players a set number of lives and the health/timer system is replaced with a standard life meter and life counter similar to Double Dragon.
Players start in the first level of play, the subway. Upon knocking down the first few enemies, a large icon instructs player to kick downed opponents. There are buttons to punch and kick; pressing both performs a spinning jump kick. It is also possible to grab enemies and attack them, as well as kick them in the groin to stun them. Many enemies have weapons. Certain enemies always use knives to attack, while some “punk” enemies will have lead pipes and later enemies have handguns. Upon killing these enemies a player may pick up a weapon and use it indefinitely (including handguns in the two-player versions); however, if players are hit once, the players will drop the item and it will disappear (except for the handguns in the four player versions, provided that they have ammo).
In the final stage, the final boss throws a key to the players and tells them to pick it up. Doing so will allow the boss to pull out a machine gun and shoot at the players. Should the player run out of health at this point, the game will end and a bad ending will be seen with the final boss telling the players to try again. However, the player can choose not to get the key and kick (or shoot if the player has a handgun) the main villain repeatedly until he is defeated. Upon winning the game, player will then be subjected to a difficult final all boss round where the players must kill every boss in the game, who all appear on screen at once. This is the first time I ever saw a boss rush mode in a game! It just added so much to the game- especially at the end of it! Plus all the breakable environments ( something they would continue in next weeks game…) and weapon pickups, this game is a winner in my book!
And- this cabinet is a looker! It would go on to define all of Konami’s multiplayer side scrolling beat em’ ups for the next few years!
Enough Jibber Jabber- let’s defend the streets and rescue the girls!
Crimefighters got a sequel in 1991 with Vendetta!
It had vastly improved graphics and larger sprites! Check it out!
Sadly, no home ports were made that I can see for older systems. But- both games have been released on modern systems via the Arcade Archives- no relation.
So- did you ever play Crimefighters? Did you like it as much as I did? What ending did you get?
Please let me know in the comments!
Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!