DEAD CONNECTION / Taito / Arcade
It's my pet theory that every single Japanese video game can be traced back to some 1980s movie made in the West, if you look hard enough. Dead Connection is one of the easier ones to track - it's obviously Taito's take on the Untouchables movie, with a liberal dose of ultra-violence and Vito Corleone thrown in for good measure. What's really interesting about it is that it copies the dark tone and deep bassy sound effects of Atari's games of the period, as well as being a rather unique and fairly playable game.
OK, so in the epic animated introduction we see some random girl mercilessly gunned down by the Godfather's hoods. Apparently this was Dick Hardtop's girlfriend or something, so he gathers up three of his buddies and they keep revenge in their hearts as they gun their way through the Mafia ranks in an attempt to exterminate the Don.
I just assume these guys are police officers, by the way - the game never really explicitly states it outright. They could actually just be a bunch of crazy guys in trenchcoats for all I know. If they are officers of the law, they apparently are carrying Licenses to Mass Murder, as their hilarious "loose cannon" modus operandi is to just bust into any place they suspect the Don is at and start shooting it to pieces, killing anyone that happens to be inside.
So there's seven levels of this, and basically it's a shoot-em-up but with some interesting twists. All the levels take place in one large screen, and you can use background items to hide behind and take cover from enemy fire. You can also interact with certain portions of the background, like shooting down a chandelier or making a crane drop a crate on a bad guy's head. You also are able to do a diving roll, which can be used to sometimes avoid gunfire on your way from one cover spot to another.
Worth the price of admission alone are the Engrishy, surreal cutscenes and low-budget voice acting. Acting quality aside, the sound is really pretty good in this one, with nice effects and presumably Zuntata turning in a dark soundtrack that suits the weird tone of the game well (I think crazy ragtime piano would actually have been better, but you can't have everything I guess).
The game quickly gets repetitive and tiresome on the second or third level if you're playing alone, but it's a hoot for two to four players to hook up on and enjoy all the blatant ripoffs and poorly translated lines.
* Gameplay Video