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Light gun games were all the rage during the late 80s and a large portion of the 90s. They would occupy a large amount of space in a strange place known as the arcade. It was once a place that people would always enjoy going out to one weekend to spend their hard-earned money on machines to shoot lights into their eyes. It was easily one of the best nerd havens you could ever visit. But I was unfortunate enough to have lived in some small town areas, where such places were few and far between, so even thinking about going to a place like that was pretty rare.
I never even visited a place until the family and I moved to a higher populated area when I was nine, so until then, I was stuck with what my Sega Genesis could offer me during those times. Until that day, I would be unaware about the existence of an arcade. Or I would be, hadn’t my father decided to be cool and step inside the house with a giant box with Lethal Enforcers on the cover. And so begins my tale.
The idea behind the game was very simple, you are a police officer, crime is going on throughout the city, do something about it. It was as basic as you could get, but when you have two giant plastic guns in your hand, plot isn’t the first thing you want to care about. So starts the first mission, a bank robbery is going on, so you get deployed and have to take care of the thugs. After that is over, the next part begins and the fight taken out into an alley.
I was pretty underwhelmed as I was going through this, I was hoping that something more exciting would come out of nowhere and give me something awesome to do. Konami delivers. The last part of the mission has the fight take place during a car chasing scene on one ridiculously long road. Then a guy in a van comes out of nowhere and starts shooting rockets at you.
Now it got awesome. This obviously goes beyond a simple bank robbery, and you’re determined to find out what is really going on. Never mind the fact that you probably killed around a hundred bad guys at this point, and the force isn’t going to ask questions about it, nor will they worry about the fact that a guy just shot rockets at you, they have more important matters to deal with. That’s how the force rolls.
Then the results screen pops up, telling you how many times you shot, how many of those actually hit, and if you were a sadistic enough bastard to kill any victims present in the level, where if you did, you would lose a hit from one of your available credits. Or you got deranked and had to do the entire mission again. Or both happened, I can’t recall, but yeah, you got punished if you decided to be a sick bastard and kill a victim. Sure, you can kill a hundred crooks, but one victim? That’s a no go in these parts.
And that was something that happened to me a lot, because trying to aim those plastic guns was a pretty hard thing to work with, also coupled with the fact that we had a 17-inch television screen at the time, which didn’t help at all. So I usually had to go controller mode to ever make it far as the fourth mission. But why was I being stupid, playing a game based around the gun controllers and not using them, what the hell was wrong with me, urgh.
It was bad because I wasn’t playing with a gun that Konami called “The Justifier.” It easily put all the other names for light gun peripherals to shame. Zapper? Light Phaser? Get outta here.
Then when I came into the big city, the arcade was one of the first places I wanted to go to. And Lethal Enforcers was there to beckon my call. And strangely enough, it was the only light gun shooter I really truly enjoyed. I tried games like Time Crisis, Virtua Cop, House of the Dead, but they never managed to stick on me as well as Lethal Enforcers did. It could have been nostalgia that was making me think that. Or maybe I didn’t like how needlessly complex those game were, so I just stuck with what Lethal Enforcers gave me.
No foot pedal, no fancy button presses, just a gun, and my will to wait for people to pop up on the screen.
That’s all I need.