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Lethal Weapon (Family Computer Clones)

The reviews on this site are the text versions of the videos on my YouTube channel. The text based reviews use (if at all) very little pictures. Please follow the link to the corresponding video in order to see in game graphics.

Lethal Weapon was made in 1994 by Go Go for clone systems of the Nintendo Family Computer. The game is not related to the movie franchise of the same name and it is another game than Lethal Weapon for the Nintendo Entertainment System made in 1992 by Eurocom. Some sources state that the game was also released titled as Lethal Enforcers. This comes to no surprise, as the game borrows a stunning amount of content from Lethal Enforcers.

After an intro with great music the game goes to a level selection screen. The player wields a six shot revolver which is reloaded by shooting off screen. The health bar consists of 5 units, which are depleted upon being shot and when civilians are injured. When running out of lives a game over message is shown and the game is set back to the title screen.

One level is a shooting range. Another level is car chase themed and is concluded in a boss fight. A different level takes place at a bank heist. One Level is an underground railway. There is an airport level and factory.

Technologically the game is very interesting as it is one of the few NES light gun games which track the Y position of the screen. When the player fires, the games knows on which height the gun is aiming at and sends out a beam made of an from left to right progressing white rectangle. It moves until the light gun detects its presence, which is then considered as a hit. In practice this does divide the picture frame into individual screen units which are used as hit boxes. A popular game which does a more noticeable quantization of the screen is Snatcher on the Sega Mega CD. That Lethal Weapon tracks the Y position came as a huge surprise to me, as most sources state that Strike Wolf was the only game to do so besides a home brew project of Mr. Damian Yerrick. Best to my knowledge the feature wasn’t discovered before in Lethal Weapon.

I had a blast playing this game. It does exactly what I seek in light gun games. It is a well presented challenge with selectable levels and has a decent ending upon conclusion. I have to search really hard to find anything I didn’t like. That is the lack of a scoring system which limits the replay value of the game, but honestly I don’t miss it much, as the game offers me enough enjoyment as it is.

I think it would be unfair saying that Go Go did something evil by copying Lethal Enforcers. It is important to see that Taiwan and China have different laws on intellectual property. They don’t pretend to be Konami the developer of the original game and they don’t pretend that Konami was involved. In their country of origin Go Go did nothing illegal when copying the idea, setting and look of Lethal Enforcers. Furthermore not everything is copied. A nice example is the transporter at the end of the car chase level. This enemy vehicle is a helicopter in Lethal Enforcers.

I found three different kind of labels. One version shows a revolver and some pictures representing the levels. The Dendy version is just a screen capture of the title screen. The version I like the most features lovely drawn artwork and is surrounded by a golden border.