Released in 1991, this game was much more ambitious than the Titus turd that came out a year before. You might be more familiar with the NES version, which was just a bastardized port of the Amiga / PC original.

It's funny that the NES port turned out so bad, because the original game didn't have most of its irritating qualities to begin with! For example, you can steer your car freely in this one and there aren't weird snipers on every roof constantly depleting your health.

But we're getting the cart a bit ahead of the horse here. This second vidya outing for Dick Tracy fuses in some mild adventure game elements, making it kinda like a primitive L.A. Noire.

Though the game seems to imply that big things are immediately afoot, Dick actually starts each game sitting around his office with nothing at all going on. The first move is to hit the streets in your squad car, and after a minute or so you'll get a call about a crime in progress.

The crimes can happen at a number of random spots about the map, and the perpetrator is also randomized. Well, for the most part - I found Rodent was always the initial perp in my games, and Big Boy is reserved for last, but the cases between them are random.

So if you can get to the crime scene really fast (like within five seconds or so), the game becomes much simpler as you'll see the perp's car outside and have a chance to apprehend them on the spot. Each crime scene has a back exit that allows them to either go into the sewers or into the streets, which are platforming levels that you have to chase them through and chip down their health with your tommy gun.

Most of the time, however, you'll get there after they have fled. There are clues scattered about, and possibly a witness to interview. You take the info you get from these back to HQ to look at the rogue's gallery and try to match it to a baddie. Outside of maybe the very first case, however, you usually don't get enough info just at the crime scene to nail the ne'er-do-well.

You can get one further clue for each case from Breathless Mahoney and The Kid. Breathless is always at the Club Ritz right near HQ, but The Kid randomly hops between three different locations on the map and you just have to kinda drive around to find him. If their added info doesn't do it, you've gotta hunt for criminal cars on the map and pull them over. You can then interrogate the goomba you pull over, but once you press them more than twice they stand a chance of deciding to simply wax you instead of cooperating. As to why you can't just pull everyone over, interrogate them until they rage out, then arrest them for attempted murder until the streets are crime-free ... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Eventually you collect enough info scraps through all of these means to make clear who the perp was, and then you either find their car on the map or get their hideout location from The Kid.

The concept is definitely a little better than the execution here. Though driving around is way better than the NES port, it's still clumsy and not great. Same with the side-scrolling platforming and shooting screens. Even the investigations can get a little irritating as positioning Tracy on just the right pixel to trigger him to pick up the clue (often well off of the clue graphic despite the huge sign pointing to it) can be very difficult at times.

It ain't bad, though. With a little polish this would be a really fun little game. As-is, the graphics and gameplay are serviceable enough and I liked all the old-timey-sounding voice acting clips that lend 1940s color to the proceedings. It's like a way more fun and crazy version of the first Police Quest game, with the freedom to run over civilians and asplode their cars at the cost of only a little damage to your Dickmobile.

Videos :

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