Written by  :  ETJB (450)
Written on  :  Apr 02, 2014
Platform  :  Genesis
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
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Guns Don't Kill People, Dick Tracy Kills People!

The Good

Dick Tracy for the Sega Genesis (or the PAL Mega Drive) successfully recreates the sights and sounds of the 1930s, as imagined in the Dick Tracy comics as well as the Dick Tracy movie that had been theatrically released a year earlier in 1990.

The player takes control of famous, trench coat-wearing, plainclothes detective with one basic goal in mind; find and bring down the nefarious criminal kingpin known as, Big Boy.

Forget about cerebral, sleuthing or Constitutional due process! This detective has been given a license to commit widespread vandalism and mass murder in order to uphold law and order.

To accomplish this goal, Dick Tracy has to shoot and punch his way through several, colorful, urban levels, each with an army of number of heavily armed, criminal thugs. Sprinkled throughout the game are some familiar comic book criminals acting as end-of-the-level bosses; Itchy, The Brow, Lips Manlis, Pruneface and Flattop. After bringing these big name criminals down, you find the location of the Big Boy himself.

Naturally, the city's police would never dream of sending their top notch detective on such a dangerous mission without the proper weapons.

Dick Tracy can take out bad guys with his trusty fists and a nice little pistol. For enemies and property in the background, Mr. Tracy has access to a Tommy gun.

In addition to high body count, Dick Tracy also has the ability to vandalize property, i.e. windows, fire hydrants and street lights.

If you avoid hitting any of the property, you can earn some bonus points, which, along with a shooting gallery bonus round help to break up the side-scrolling action.

Most of the time Dick Tracy is slowly walking from the start to the finish of a level. Luckily, a few levels switch up the action by having you take control of the detective during a high-speed police chase.

The game play mechanics are responsive and easy to pick up.

Hit detection in the game seems reasonable and, yes, there is certainly something undeniable fun about waging a one- man war against crime, albeit colorful comic book crime.

The Bad

Dick Tracy – the video game – much like the 1990 feature film of the same name choose to set everything in the colorful, Hollywoodized 1930s.

To some extent this makes sense, and I can see the rationale behind it, but it does mean that the video game and feature film have little to do with the Dick Tracy comic book franchise as it had developed in the 1960s – 1980s.

Dick Tracy befriended, hi-tech extraterrestrials in the 1960s, got a hippie sidekick in the 1970s, and worked with a top-notch, black, female police officer in the 1980s.

Tracy and his diverse group of friends had marriages, dealt with triumph and tragedy in their own lives and were much more developed characters – by 1990 – then was seen in the video game or the film feature.

Don't get me wrong. Dick Tracy is a fun, action-packed game to play on the Sega Genesis. However, much like the Dick Tracy movie, it is presents a narrow, somewhat dated, window into the popular franchise.

The game has nice intermissions sequences to help move the story along, but their just isn't much in the way of story to use, much less move around.

The bosses in the game are, generally, well designed. Although, one end-of-the-level bosses was incredible wimpy and went down with one punch.

Last, but not least, Dick Tracy is one of the slowest moving video game character around. If their was every a game that needed the ability to walk and run, this is it.

The Bottom Line

Dick Tracy recreates the colorful, comic book sights and sounds of the franchise, albeit in its early days.

It is set in the 1930s, much like the feature film. Although the game borrows little from the film's plot, except the final battle with Big Boy, and is a pretty straight-forward, side-scrolling, arcade game.

Dick Tracy is fun to play, which is probably the most important thing in any video game. It is easy to pick up the game's controls and, did I mention that you got a kick-ass, Tommy gun at your disposal? Heck, where else can you play a detective armed with a Tommy gun and a license to destroy property and kill anything that moves?