Vice Project Doom is a game that I discovered over the past six months. It is a game that I had no idea existed, but am happy to have found it. It’s basically a PG 1980’s action movie platform game in 2D pixelated glory!
The story is interesting but a bit hard to follow! You play as detective Hart investigating the disappearance of your partner Reese. The investigation leads to the B.E.D.A corporation, which turns out to be run by aliens that have been on earth for hundreds of years and have been selling a new street drug called ‘Gel” to the underworld! I didn’t quite get it either, but the game uses really awesome and cheesy cutscenes (just like in Ninja Gaiden) which help flesh out the narrative (see below).
In terms of gameplay, there are various level types including driving and shooting stages, but the primarily type is action/platform levels somewhat similar to Mega Man. In these levels, Detective Hart runs and jumps through levels using his laser whip, handgun, and grenades to dispatch his enemies (see picture below). The controls in these levels are fantastic and very responsive. Besides the regular movements like running and jumpy, Hart can also duck and even run while ducking which makes it much easier to get in close to enemies while they are shooting at you! This is by far my favourite level type.
In the shooting levels, you take on first-person perspective like in Operation Wolf and just shoot enemies as they come up by moving the shooter indicator around the screen wit the D-Pad. They are fun but few and far between. I would have rather been able to use the NES Gun but it is not supported. The last level type is the driving levels (see below) where you take control of Hart’s car from a top-down perspective like in Spy Hunter. In this mode you can move in all directions on the screen like a top-down shooter and blast whatever comes at you. These levels are simple but also a lot of fun and have very responsive controls. Overall in terms of gameplay, I really enjoyed the variety which really makes it stand out from other similar games.
In terms of graphics, the game looks fantastic for a later release on the system. I am mesmerized by how cool the first 2D platforming level looks with the skyline in the background! In terms of music, it is so-so – none of the tunes really stuck with me. I did find the sound effects satisfying though – especially with shooting and slashing enemies with Harts whip!
Overall, this is a fun little hidden gem on the NES. I has interesting interesting variety of gameplay seldom seen so nicely together. The graphics really capture the mood of a cheesy 80’s action flick and the cut scenes help to flesh out the hard to follow narrative (the weakest part of game – but not really relevant to how fun the game is). I’ve come back to this game a lot more than I expected – even more than some of the Mega Man games. Overall I give this game an 8/10.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10