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Title: Two Crude Dudes
Author:Data East
Rom Player: Genecyst
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie

Synopsis: The simplicity of the modern action game really shows in this gem of a game. You have you basic formula for success: a plot that’s as thin as a hair plus loads of untalented thugs plus unmitigated violence and punching equals nonstop action and entertainment.

In 2010, which was considered a very futuristic-sounding year in the early nineties, New York City is nuked by an unidentified source. Ten years later, people decide to start rebuild the demolished city. Unfortunately, the city is then invaded and completely taken over by an organized gang of thugs, mutants, robots, and a whole bunch of other things known as “Big Valley.” The government, intent on securing the rubble of New York, commissions two dudes, two crude dudes to be specific, to kick Big Valley out the city in exchange for a crapload of money.

I find myself wondering why in the world a gang would want to control a completely ruined city. Since this is in action game, however, it is a mystery that shall remain forever unsolved, much like how you were able to discreetly slip into the city to start the assault, and how an important US city could be nuked without giving any idea as to whom was responsible. The levels gradually start to hint that there is some sort of important lab of some kind located somewhere in the city, but you can never be very sure about it.

But enough dwelling over trivial things such as a plot that makes sense; this is an action game. As a crude dude, a most honorable title to have, you have incredible strength that allows you to knock down walls with your bare hands, rip things out of the ground and throw them, and lift even the heaviest of objects to be used as projectiles. If you get tired of that, you still have some punches and a simple jump kick that can be used when you’re in a pinch. Plus, whenever you hit someone with your fist or some other object, a little action balloon with words like “Bam!” and “Whack!” appears, just like in the old Batman TV show.

I’d like to elaborate on the picking up and throwing of objects. You see, in every action game, there is at least one gimmick used by the creators to make it somehow different from every other action title out there, and perhaps make it memorable enough for people to want to play it years after they originally bought it. In this case, the gimmick is that you can pick up and throw nearly anything in the game, from enemies, to pipes, to the other player. When you pick up an object, your movement and attacks are not hampered in any way; you can walk and jump just as easily as before. The only difference is that you are limited to kicking instead of kicking and punching people. Additionally, you will find some small pipes on occasion that can be thrown like everything else, or wielded like a club for a while. Also, every object is thrown in one of two ways for variety: downward so that it bounces a couple times on the ground, or straight across the screen like a makeshift spear. All the pipes are thrown in the latter manner, while things like barrels, cars, and the other player are thrown in the former.

You can punch the bad guys if you really want to, but since you can pick them up and throw them effortlessly for more damage, and your jump kicks can go through several foes at once, it hardly seems worth it. If you want to hold on to one of the bigger projectiles, like the car, you can use the kicks to ward off individual foes, but they are simply not as effective against multiple ones as the jump kicks. To add to the list of useless maneuvers, you have a roll that you can do. This move does no damage, and leaves you vulnerable. Assuming it was made to be some kind of escape move, I don’t see why you would use it to get out of a sticky situation when a jump kick, or simply jumping up or down to the other story of the level works so much better.

With all those neat moves at your disposal, it seems like it would be meaningless to include a plethora of powerups, doesn’t it? The producers thought so. To that end, the main powerups, if they can be called that, are the objects that you can hurl at your enemies. I suppose that means that there are lots of them, but come on. The only other type of powerup is some soda that you can drink for strength. Of course, to get to the soda, you’ll have to beat individual cans out of the machine. Now, since these machines have survived a nuclear blast, they are a bit sensitive, and if you beat them too severely, they will explode, just like a normal, post-apocalyptic vending machine. You’ll find at least one machine in each level, except the first one, and they usually can’t more than four or five cans out of one before it explodes. After each stage, however, you go to a little bonus round where you are given about a minute to pound the crap out of an extra-strong soda machine that is able to produce enough soda to bring you back from the brink of death. You can blow this one up too, if you really try, but it doesn’t really do anything except end the bonus round.

The other thing that action games are known for, often times as a gimmick, is including the sort of enemies that you would normally never expect to see working together. Here, the most basic time of enemy, a thug with long black hair and an unkempt beard, comes in three flavors, yellow, blue, and red, which denote how much punishment they can withstand. Then, there are this guys in strange suits that leap into the air and attack you with jump kicks, slide attacks, and grabbing onto the background wall and spitting gobs of green crap at you. The next types of common enemies are those who can latch onto you and do continuous damage until you shake them off. The first is a green dog with robotic attachments, and the other, and this is what they are according to the manual, is vampire, hunchback, midgets. I imagine that these things were spawned when they erected that nuclear power plant near the Lollipop Guild in Oz. These guys actually leap at you and bite your neck until you can shake the little bastards off. Fortunately, they can be plucked out of the air and thrown fairly easily.

While you never fight the king of the vampire hunchback midgets, the bosses are nevertheless very strange. The very first looks like a muscular version of Paul Stanley with a large snake wrapped around him. I never liked Kiss that much, so I didn’t feel any remorse when I beat the crap out of him and his damn pet. In fact, without exception, every boss in the game is a mutant, and not a robot or a midget of any kind. One of the more interesting ones, aside from the musician, is one interesting character that begins his fight with you as a small man with white hair. After a brief pounding, however, he mutates into a variation on the werewolf theme, looking like a large, muscular, naked man with orange skin, claws, and long white hair. He is tricky, but still, once again, we need a better midget boss character.

The game has some fairly standard music. There are only a handful of songs that are played and repeated for the levels, and there are two boss songs that alternate for each level. Odds are you’ll forget everything you’ve heard once you turn the power off.

The sound effects (that’s the real ones, not the ones that appear in little bubbles when you hit something.) are equally simple. The more observant of you reading this may have noticed that I never said that even the most ambiguous of enemies could be female. This is because ever time you kill an enemy, they let out an unenthused, but clearly male, grunt. It’s an amusing sound to hear, but you kill a lot of people, so it may lose its charm fairly quickly. Your character lets out a similar pair of grunts: a short one for when you are injured, and a longer groan when you are killed. It makes sense if you think about it, as very few action heroes are polysyllabic.

Now, overall, this game is not that difficult to beat. Still, I find myself coming back to it time after time. Check this one out, if nothing more than to chuckle at how the name “Big Valley” seems more like the punchline to a dirty joke than a vicious gang of mutants, robots, and midgets.

Best Cheats: None

Game Play: 8
Graphics: 7
Music/Sound: 6
Originality: 9
Overall Rating: 8

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