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CTTG #7: Vigilante

Up next in the conquering is Vigilante, just the 2nd game on this quest that I’d never played as a kid. I love playing these because Vigilante isn’t some unknown game. In fact, it’s one of the most well-known games on the TurboGrafx-16. Even gamers who’ve never owned the system could tell you that they remember it from ads and commercials. Finally, I get to play it!

Going in, I really didn’t know what to expect. Based on screenshots, the game looks like a Double Dragon clone, but very quickly you’ll realize it’s a Kung Fu clone instead. (Ya know, the NES black box game.) You can only walk on a single plane and most enemies take one hit to knock off the screen (much in the same way).

The game is broken up into just 5 levels, which seems low considering the ultimate difficulty of the game. And by difficulty, I mean not much of it. Your girlfriend, Madonna, has been captured and it’s up to you to track down the kidnapper and save her. The storyline is identical to Double Dragon, but the game isn’t nearly as good.

On a positive note, the levels are much more visually interesting than those in Kung Fu, with very little repetition. However, they made up for that individuality by cutting all the levels short. At a normal pace, you can get to the boss in less than a minute. There’s about a half dozen to a dozen different enemies with varying challenge. Some you can dispatch of in one shot, but others take about 4 hits and have such a long reach they can be tricky. The foot sweep is invaluable in this game and is the primary way to beat most enemies (even bosses) in the game.

As for the negative, this game has a lot of it. I was able to beat it in under 30 minutes which is quite alarming. Less than 30 minutes after I began playing it for the very first time, the game was over! So, is there replayability? Well, the game has absolutely zero options. No difficulty levels. No boss rushes. No anything. Once you’ve beaten the game, there’s no reason to ever play it again unless you just want to personally challenge yourself to do it quicker or without continues.

That’s lame.

There were definitely some challenging spots along the way. Some of the enemies can be a real pain to get hits on. They have long reaches that makes them hard to approach and a couple shots can knock you out. Especially that chain dude. Oh, and the knife guy! There’s also a couple doorways in the game where dudes will rush out and you just have to learn to be patient and kill them all before continuing past. I’m a sucker, though, and they always got me.

Then, there’s the bosses which are loaded with lots of health. They strike a good balance of being difficult but having patterns that aren’t always obvious. Still, due to the lives you get and the odd fact that continues don’t make you start at the beginning of the level (why are they continues then?), you can sort of rush through them. After a few play-throughs, though, I can say that the first four bosses are very easy once you know what to do.

The final boss was more difficult, but then again I beat him on the first try. (I lost one man.) And that’s it. Madonna is saved and the game is over.

Frankly, I’m a little disappointed. I’m not sure I can name a game that I beat so quickly after playing it for the first time. Less than 30 minutes? This might be the easiest game I’ve ever played. Crazy.

Now, for my next game, I have this strange hinkering to play some Takin’ It To The Hoop. Tune in soon to see how that one goes! Be sure to follow me on Twitch!

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About John Blanco

John Blanco is an avid game collector and loves to write about his hobby as much as he participates in it. He run the Denver Retro Gamers Facebook group in Denver, Colorado, and coordinates swap-style meetups with dozens of other collectors every couple of months.

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