The sound of a breaking bottle shatters the chill night air. The street punk glances nervously about, worried about who - or what - is in the alley with him. A sickening thud accompanies a fist driven into his face... the Vigilante has struck, and smiles as he delivers a few more quick blows to disable his opponent. They've taken his lady hostage, they've made her suffer, now it's their turn!
It's the usual sad and sorry tale of a thug whose girlfriend has been taken by force. He finds out, gets all worked up and swears revenge (yawn!). The gang have to be tracked to their hideout and battles ensue en route (double yawn!). The villains are very sporting about the whole thing, though, standing in line waiting to be beaten up, not piling on at the first opportunity (ZZZzzzzzz...). After a number of levels and remarkably similar battles the good guy wins and gets his lady back (boredom coma).
Vigilante promises little - and unfortunately delivers - in terms of game mechanics. Fighting games are traditionally short on plot, lacking in gameplay but strong in a more indefinable way, making them incredibly addictive fare. Maybe there's some deep rooted need in all games' players to belt people in the mush!
The Vigilante is a man with a mission, but a limited vocabulary in body language. He has to waddle along a horizontally scrolling cityscape killing the street punks who descend upon him in ones and twos, not the pack of wild dogs you'd imagine. There are distinct types of punk and each will attack in a certain fashion and survive a set number of clean blows - the ginger haired 'Jimmy' clones punch to the head but collapse after one good shot, for example.
The fighting is static; you simply stand there and trade blows until someone falls down. You can't duck out without taking vast numbers of knees to the nose and you are unable to spring about and attack on the sly from the back. The only choice is which kick/punch do you want to use next. The Vigilante calls the shots because the evil bikers just stand there while some show-off puts his foot in their face!
The game is made difficult in two noticeable respects. Firstly there is a time limit which, while not tight, still forces you to push forward and gain ground whenever possible. Secondly, because of the mad gunman who sporadically pops into play and shoots more than his mouth off.
Other than these two forces you can and should do well, and quickly finish the game. Vigilante himself has a very noticeable resemblance to the Target Renegade bod, but without the twin brother. The sprites are large, blocky and on the whole don't move that well. There are exceptions, especially with the leader of the level two gang. He does a really neat back-flip, but the surprising thing is that he's over eight feet tall.
There should be nothing to drag you back to Vigilante once you've played. The graphics, hard to see on a colour screen, are all but invisible on green. The game is unoriginal and tedious, the music just managing to be mediocre. Yet Vigilante manages, by some miracle, to have that addictive quality only the ropiest of games possess. With Vigilante it's the idea, the knowledge, that not only can you win but you should win that drags you back time and time again.
Too easy by far. A game needs to test you, not relax you. I finished it the first time I played - and answered the telephone in the middle of the game! There's nothing wrong with Vigilante but nothing right either! Like a Chinese meal, play this game now and twenty minutes later you want to have another one!
Finish the game.
Some scenes are invisible!
P. They're there, and they all work...
P. Average sound effects.
Grab Factor 82%
P. It's so easy to play you'll be hooked immediately.
Staying Power 22%
P. It's so easy you'll finish it in no time.
P. The game you'll go for when you feel mean and want to make someone else suffer.