64th STREET: A DETECTIVE STORY / Jaleco / Arcade

64th Street: A Detective Story gained notorious lulz about a decade or so ago, when jokey snarky video game sites were all the rage. I think Seanbaby or Something Awful or one of those sites wrote about it, and since then it's had some reputation as one of the worst arcade games ever. If you've actually plumbed the depths of the MAME catalog, however, you'll know that it's far from the worst arcade games ever made, and it isn't even among the worst beat-em-ups ever. It's certainly not a good game, but really more relentlessly mediocre and sloppy than anything else, and with lulzy Engrish translation for bonus win.

The setting and aesthetics are an odd mishmash of 1920s, 1950s and the typical 1980s punks that only existed in Hollywood movies. The game is supposed to be set in the 1930s but I guess the memo got to the artists too late, after they'd already re-drawn enemies from Final Fight and didn't want to do any more sprite work. There's some inexplicable story about these two detectives finding hidden messages in the newspaper, and somehow this involves brawling with every two bit thug on the streets.

The two characters are slightly unique, in that Rick (the mustachio'd guy) has a completely useless jumping attack (he puts his hand over his face for some reason and sticks his other fist out) but seems to throw enemies a lot more often (with a hearty "D'AAAAAH!" that you'll soon grow very tired of.) The other guy actually has a useful jumpkick and is a little faster - he's basically the Guy clone while Rick is like a wussier, skinnier Haggar.

Graphics and sprite work are mediocre at absolute best, the music and sound are definitely on the annoying side, but the game is a fundamentally solid Final Fight clone. I'm not recommending you play it or anything, but arcade brawlers could (and did) get a lot worse than this.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video

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