Gun-Dec / Vice: Project Doom (FC) (1991)
Review by Faididi and Co.
Get hooked on this
In the near future, Hart is a rugged detective with an angry stare and a cool leather jacket, and he's going after the source of a deadly new drug that turns people into homicidal mutants. Packing well-written dialogue and plenty of cutscenes, the story is filled with surprise twists, and the stakes are constantly pushed higher as Hart and his friends risk their lives to stop the villains. The plot is unusual for being free of mawkish scenes and lame devices that are standard in virtually all other story-driven, anime-inspired games. There are no cheesy love relationships of any kind. There are no forced, over-generalized discussions about life and death. When Hart loses close pals, he doesn't spend lengthy moments weeping over them; he just goes out and guns down the bastards who are responsible.
Gameplay: Above Average
Originally promoted as a "cyber punk violence" title, Sammy's Gun-Dec (Vice: Project Doom) is an action platformer whose heavy focus on story is made more enjoyable by its surprisingly overpowered hero. Hart runs and jumps through several side-scrolling stages, killing bad guys with super potent attacks. His main hand-to-hand weapon lets him perform laser-like lashes that can quickly destroy enemies from multiple angles. If that isn't enough, he can shoot his handgun and toss grenades, and his ammunition is replenished over time for free.
All that firepower makes tackling the varied level and enemy designs really fun. Hart gets to battle through city streets, construction zones, docks, forests, and secret labs overflowing with the mad designs of science gone evil. The bad guys range from bizarre mutants to killer robots, and the bosses are big and menacing.
Gun-Dec extends beyond platforming action, too. A few scenes are played in a first person rail shooter mode, where Hart blasts everything that moves. Certain other scenes are played like a space shooter, where Hart drives his heavily-armed sports car down highways, blowing up enemies with more style.
Regardless of the mode, the controls are very responsive. Hart has the rare ability to run while crouching, and he can adjust his speed (relative to the screen) during the driving scenes.
The highly detailed characters and the richly textured backgrounds are animated without a hint of slowdown. Spinning fans and leaking steam decorate the warehouse stage, while wild grass and writhing vines cover every corner at the jungle stage. Roadside materials arc through the air when Hart plows through them during the driving scenes. Pieces of the backgrounds shatter when Hart misses his targets during the rail shooter scenes. Even the city lights reflected off the nighttime waters at the construction zone stage blur realistically.
Audio: Above Average
The sound effects are also impressive. Gunfire and bombs boom out loudly. Plasma cannons wielded by hulking bosses roar out furiously. Hart's car crashes noisily against the sides of the roads when he gets sloppy with his driving. The music rocks, and the many variations of Hart's theme are a nice touch, although one or two of the tunes can grow a bit too harsh on the ears.
Simply put, Gun-Dec is an awesome action platformer. Those who want a thrilling game can't go wrong with its cool story, interesting level and enemy designs, perfect controls, amazing graphics, pounding audio effects, and completely badass hero.