Dick Tracy (Sega Genesis) Review

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Review by The Every Gamer (April 2016)

Score: C+ (3/5)

    Oh Dick Tracy, a classic comic strip that’s dated by today’s standards, with a 1990 over-hyped movie that bombed faster than Dick Tracy’s credibility. And we don’t even know if we will ever see him again because, Warren Beatty, the guy who played Dick Tracy in the 1990 movie, somehow owns the rights to the IP. Though on the bright side, it’s one less remake anyway. But, with a not so good movie comes a good game, Eh? Dick Tracy, developed and published by Sega, was released in 1990 in the US and in 1991 in Europe and Japan.

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    So Big Boy is up to no good, ‘see’, and it’s up to Dick Tracy to defeat his top men along with Big Boy. I’ve never seen the movie but, if this is the plot, I’m not missing anything. It’s simple, it’s 16-bit, and it’s Sega, if anything it’s better than the other ports. You play as Dick Tracy in a platformer where you just go around shooting people. You have a pistol and you simply shoot bad guys in your way. However, there are also enemies in the background, so what do you do? Get your machine gun to shoot them down, this is one of the more unique ways of defeating enemies, though you need to stop and shoot them and if you have those fast reflexes then you can take everyone down without getting hit. You WILL need fast reflexes since the game gets hard later on.

    There are some levels where you somehow run out of bullets despite having an unlimited amount of ammo in the previous level. These levels consist of punching enemies, dodging bullets and avoiding explosions. There are also levels where you ride on a car and shoot down enemies who are also in a car, it’s fun but, gets harder in the later levels. You also get bonus levels in the form of target practice where you have to shoot down the enemy boards and avoid hitting the good people; shooting the majority of the enemy boards will get you some lives and continues.

    Now this game offers a decent challenge but, because it’s a retro game, it gets harder overtime, to the point where you have to dodge everything, including bullets and considering the amount of enemies everywhere, it’s nearly unforgiving. I mean Dick himself slogs his way through many of the levels and this is where the controls come into play. Dick is a slow fellow, meaning it can be quite difficult to dodge, though continue playing it for a while and you’ll get the hang of things. As for the gunplay, it’s pretty good, but you always have to stop on your tracks to hit anyone, wouldn’t it had been great if he was a runner and gunner? Now that’s the true arcade experience Sega continuously shoved down American kids’ throats back in the day; nevertheless what we have is good enough. The bosses are near enough the same as normal enemies, yeah, the bosses don’t really have much variety, but again, they get a bit difficult later.

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    So yeah, my only issues are that it’s a tough one and there are some levels later in the game in which you have to jump over platforms. Problem is, because Dick Tracy walks very slow and sluggish, it’s a bit tricky to jump over obstacles; the only way to successfully jump over something is to make him walk right to the edge of a platform, jump and hope to high heavens you’ll make it. Now that’s some tight gameplay. Another issue is that after you complete many levels, it ends up going on repeat with more challenge, because apart from the platforming levels, the no-gun levels, bosses, car levels and bonus levels, it can get a little repetitive, though you’ll probably get that kind of feeling near the end rather than in the middle. The graphics are pretty good, but the level design is pretty noir and it had grainy colour at least, again, I don’t know if it’s true to the source material, but I like what we have. The music is OK, even though some songs sound pretty annoying, but that you don’t hear that twang so common to Mega Drive (Genesis) games a lot so that might be a positive for some. I like some of the tracks but not many, but I found the opening jingle to be cool.

    Overall, for a movie licensed game, it’s pretty good, but can get tough. Again, I don’t know if this is faithful to the original movie or even the original comic strip. And this is the problem: talk to any kid and ask them if they’ve heard of Dick Tracy, they’ll probably say “no”. The game is still good fun nonetheless and I’d recommend having a go.

You can get it on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.

Rating: 3/5

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