Friday, February 20, 2015

Nerdicus NES Review #174: Dick Tracy


Title : Dick Tracy

Publisher : Bandai

Developer : Realtime Associates

Genre : Action

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1990

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $4 - $6

You know, I was going to end this week with CHRONO TRIGGER for the Super Nintendo, but I figured why not torture myself with one of the worst games on the NES instead. Good choice, right? Go from one of the best games of the 16-bit era, to one of the worst for the 8-bit. But, I really wanted to save Chrono and his pals for the start of next week, because that review is going to be huge. You can thank my obsession with that game as being one of, if not, my absolute favorite. Ha, kidding, you all know that's Earthbound.

Buy me Earthbound....please..ahem.

So here are. Dick Tracy, starring Warren Beatty, Kim Bassinger, Al Pacino, Madonna, Dustin Hoffman..other people. You know, the movie. The movie was actually pretty damn good. Actually, it's only good if you were into that campy, comic book humor that the movie was going for. I think I was really just a sucker for the awesome costumes and make up of all the villains. Mumbles and Flattop freaked the hell out of me as a kid. But we're not watching the movie. We're playing the game. And I really didn't want to.

Last week, I actually started filming myself playing some video games on twitch, and my good 'ol friend Erica Jones (follow her on twitter, she's absolutely awesome - @EREMGEE and over at Erica Jones youtube channel ) happened to suggest "Oh, Tom. Why don't you play DICK TRACY". I already knew what I was getting into, but I can't refuse a request from a fan. So I did it...and I cried....and cried...and cried...and then cheated...because I couldn't stand the damn game anymore. There is no joke here. Dick Tracy can only be summed up by one word, and that's awful. Why? Well, keep reading....and don't suffer like I did.


DICK TRACY starts off normal enough. A clever little title screen, a great opening intro with some decent cutscene animations, and then the game jumps right into the police chief giving you your first case. Well, after that it all goes down hill. You start off in your office, reviewing your notes for the case you just received. Notes that don't really do much besides tell you where you have to go. So you grab your things, head outside and jump in your police car. Welcome to hell.

Driving the car in DICK TRACY is almost as bad as landing the plane in Top Gun (shout out to the AVGN). First of all, it's almost impossible to just turn the damn corner. The car has to be positioned in the appropriate lane to make the turn. So if you're on the left side of the road, and want to make a right, well you can't you have to spin your car around to get into the right side then you can make a right. You'll basically just find yourself spinning the car in circles just to get where you want to go. I found myself screaming 3 POINT TURN at the screen, but it didn't work.

You'll need to drive a hell of a lot in this game too. You're either driving from point A to point B to move on with your case, or you're involved in some sort of "high speed" pursuit. Ha, high speed. Yeah...but have fun with that anyway. You're more than likely to just end up dying by being shot at by one of the eight thousand snipers perched around the city with a single goal of killing you. I found myself dying in the first mission just because of snipers. You share one health bar...one for you and you car...GREAT. BULLSHIT.


If by some miracle you manage to survive the car ride to your next location, the game switches to a side scrolling action adventure platformer styled game where you'll be forced to beat the crap out of muggers, or just shoot them from afar. Now, I don't know if I encountered some sort of bug...but some enemies I shot...and I automatically died. Were they civilians? How could they be, they were trying to punch me! Can someone PLEASE explain to me what the hell that was about?

In the platforming segments, you'll have to find clues that you can only collect by punching them. Yup, that makes sense. While you gather clues, you'll also have to interrogate or arrest people that are typically at the end or near the end of the stage. Afterward, you'll be sent back outside to get to the next location. Rinse, and repeat this same process over and over and over again until you can finally arrest someone and close the case. Seriously, I challenge anyone to try this game and not die at least a dozen times on the first case. I know I did, but then again, I truly do suck at retro games.

The game just plays poorly in every way imaginable. Sure you can collect weapons and power ups, but they don't help the fact that you rarely if ever get health boosts, and you'll constantly find yourself on the verge of death. And screw continuing, because you end up getting shafted anyway and forced to start over completely if you didn't get the passwords from beating a case.


Maybe this game annoyed me because of the absurd difficulty level. Or maybe it was because of the fact that the gameplay mechanics made no sense, and were just designed in a way that forces your frustration level through the roof. Perhaps a combination of all of the above, and it's a damn shame too because the game actually looks somewhat decent. I loved the city design, and some of the platforming levels are pretty entertaining looking but nothing mind-blowing.

The music just gets irritating after awhile because it runs on an endless damn loop and blares in your ear. What I did find hilarious though and probably the only thing I actually enjoyed about the game was a power up that lets you punch an enemy which sends them spiraling out of control across the screen, knocking over other baddies in a pretty comical fashion.

Yup, that's the only thing I liked.


Trust me on this one guys and gals. This is one game you don't want to suffer through, and I for one am certainly not looking forward to the LETS SUCK video I have to record of this a few months from now. No one deserves to suffer through this...no one.

Final Score (out of 5) :



Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!

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