Crime Wave

Moby ID: 442
DOS Specs
Note: We may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made via eBay or Amazon links (prices updated 4/14 3:07 PM )
See Also

Description official descriptions

Crime Wave is a side-scrolling shooter with certain similarities to Narc in tone and gameplay. Controlling a police officer, the player shoots his or her way through slums, inner cities, and other locations, trying to destroy a powerful criminal organization and save the President's gorgeous, young, and single daughter. The game features digitized graphics.

Groups +



Credits (DOS version)

14 People · View all

Game Concept
Game Design
Directed by
Produced by
Arcade Game Programming
Cinematic Programming
EGA/Tandy Graphic Routines
Art Direction
Packaging Artwork
[ full credits ]



Average score: 57% (based on 13 ratings)


Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 27 ratings with 2 reviews)

Dumb but gory. Extremely gory.

The Good
Well, at the time being the graphics and animation were cool. Very arcade-like, including with body parts flying across the screen and blood splattering when you killed another bad guy.

The Bad
Quite boring after a while. And man, was it SSSLLLLLLOOOOOOWWW when I got it in it's heyday, although that might not apply any more today.

And the story is pure by-the-numbers. The chick you have to rescue is sexy, your boss' daughter, and single. Shhhyeahright.

The Bottom Line
Don't bother.

DOS · by Gothicgene (66) · 2001

Cheesy and ripped off 80's action!! Rad!!

The Good
Cheese!! And lots of it!! Crime Wave brings you back to the 80's in full swing, and does so with such incredible lack of taste that it's almost fantastic! This is truly one of those "so bad it's good" cases :))

Let's see, you have a classically retarded storyline in which some bad dudes have kidnapped the princess, er... president's daughter, and since instead of resorting to the secret services or something like that, the president just sits on his fat ass you, a super-hero extraordinaire and swinging 80's fashion icon (complete with gigantic sunglasses, a white/redish jogging outfit and... is that a mullet???!!) decide to take the opportunity to mow down the slums and all those nasty druggies to get to the big bad kingpin and arm-wrestle him for the girl. Much like in Final Fight. Cool huh?

To get you going, there are a series of digitized comic-book like cutscenes that try to explain you what the hell is going on, though they usually just consist of your character inspecting clever pieces of evidence (such as big notes left by the baddies that read "The chick is on X place! Don't come rescue her! Repeat: Don't come rescue her!") or that simply show you how the super-hot chick is being tormented by her captors.... no, they don't do nothing like that, you pervert!

Since beating everyone to death is sooooo lame, you have at your disposal a bizarre machinegun/rocket launcher hybrid that gives you two firing modes, and you go around collecting ammo & money and blowing the shit off whoever crosses your path. And that my friend is where the magic is: the game features some pretty gory stuff with burning people, exploding people, skewered people, etc. etc. Sure, by today's standards the gore in here is pretty much nada, but on those days it was pretty interesting, and it was even more so because all the character sprites were digitized people! The detail was pretty low, but they still animated pretty realistically and it was a fair cry from the usual jerky characters on standard 2D beat 'em ups (though you'll still be killing the same dude over and over again :).

So, there you have it. Crank up the theme for Miami Vice, or Taaaaake Oooooon Meeeeee! -Take, on Me!- and you are back in the 80's only you now get to kill everyone!!!! WAAAHOoO!!! :))

The Bad
It was way softer than Narc!!!!!!! I mean, Narc was like the official Nancy Reagan videogame, what with it's "SAY NO OR DIE!!" Motto and it's blatant disgegard of such crap like civil rights in it's quest to eliminate everyone that used/distributed/made/heard about Krack...... Dammit!! That's quality material!!! Besides Narc had the Narc-Mobile! Where the hell is the Crime-Wave mobile?? You could say our hero doesn't need no stinking cars, but since he walks like an injured snail and needs to come to a full stop and wind up every time he wants to jump I'd advice him to at least take a bus....

Also, unlike Narc, there's no 2-player action. So you are gonna be breakdancing solo on this one. I'm afraid that's never helped these types of games and it doesn't help here (the single player-only gameplay, not the breakdancing you moron!!). Plus the controls are hard-wired into a pretty anal configuration that makes it pretty hard to jump or crouch in the middle of the action.

The Bottom Line
Well, if you are in the market for some stupidly cheesy 80's fun Crime Wave will deliver, it's easy enough to be finished, and you can let go off all your aggression with it even if it's gameplay is well under par.

Problem is, with MAME around you might just want to try and see if you can find Narc around the net. It's much more funny with it's Nancy Reagan-like/kill 'em all antics, and has a 2-player mode. Sure, the main characters are nowhere near as cool as our white Mr.T wanna-be here on Crime Wave, but it's a small price to pay for a game that says SAY NO OR DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DOS · by Zovni (10504) · 2002


Subject By Date
Actors? Some Guy Aug 30, 2023


Copy protection

The copy protection scheme in Crime Wave can be broken even if you don't know anything about Assembly language. If you look inside of CW.EXE with any text or hex editor, you can easily see the list of words you are asked to look up from the manual. Since the game neither changes the page numbers in the copy protection question when you failed to answer correctly nor limits the number of failures, it's virtually impossible to fail to pass the protection even if you don't have your manual handy.

You can go one step further and edit the main executables of either program and find the list of words and overwrite them with null characters (ASCII 0) and then hitting enter without entering any word at all will work.

DOS EGA mode

Crime Wave was one of the few games to use EGA's 640x200x16 mode to simulate a 320x200x"136" mode (the maximum number of combinations you can get with 16 different colors) through dithering. You could also run the game in regular 320x200x16, but this looked notably worse.

German index

All versions were on the Germany index for excessive violence (29.05.93). More information about this topic can be found in the game group.


The music in Crime Wave is actually Pink Floyd! It's a snippet of music taken from One Slip, off of Momentary Lapse Of Reason. The specific section is seconds 4:45 - 5:08.


It's surprising that Access didn't get sued by Williams, since the gameplay, appearance, and even some artistic effects (the "pixel-zoom" effect of the character headshots) are blatantly plagiarised from Narc.

Real Sound

The game uses Access' "Real Sound" technology for digitized sound and speech through a standard PC speaker.


In the subway stage there is a poster visible showing the cover art of another game from Access Software, Inc. That game is Mean Streets.

Information also contributed by IJan, phlux and Trixter


MobyPro Early Access

Upgrade to MobyPro to view research rankings!

Related Games

Batman in Crime Wave
Released 2001 on Browser
Released 1985 on DOS
Spiral Wave
Released 1991 on TurboGrafx-16
Great Wave
Released 1983 on TRS-80
Wave Incoming
Released 2014 on Macintosh, Windows
Shock Wave
Released 1994 on 3DO
Brain Wave
Released 1973 on Odyssey
Attack Wave
Released 2009 on Atari ST
Wave Race
Released 1992 on Game Boy

Related Sites +

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 442
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Robert Morgan.

Atari ST added by Martin Smith. Amiga added by Katakis | カタキス.

Additional contributors: BdR, Patrick Bregger, Victor Vance.

Game added November 16, 1999. Last modified September 6, 2023.