Demolition Man (video game)

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Demolition Man is a pair of action video games based on the film of the same name. Acclaim Entertainment published the 16-bit version, which features run and gun gameplay, for the Super NES, Sega Genesis and Sega CD. Virgin Interactive released a completely different game for the 3DO that combined several distinct gameplay styles. In both games, the player controls John Spartan, the main character from the film, as he attempts to find and defeat his nemesis, Simon Phoenix.

SNES, Sega Genesis, and Sega CD[edit]

Demolition Man
Demolition Man
North American Demolition Man cover art (Super NES version)
Developer(s) Acclaim Entertainment
Publisher(s) Acclaim
Distributor(s) Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Designer(s) Doug Modie
Jeffrey Brown
Programmer(s) Edward Chu
Colin Lewis
Michael Poole
Composer(s) Nathan Grigg
Platform(s) Genesis, SNES, Sega CD
Release Genesis
  • NA: August 1995
  • EU: September 28, 1995
Sega CD
  • NA: November 15, 1995
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single-player
The first level is displayed in side view platform type, the health bar is displayed in the bottom left. John Spartan enters the stage by jumping with a cable from a helicopter, a scene taken from the movie

The 16-bit game is primarily a platform game, with two overhead top-down shooter segments; in either gameplay type the player character can fire in eight directions. Stages are filled with many enemies, mostly gunmen. Enemy characters and the player character can take a number of hits before dying. Power ups can be found around the stages that increase the characters health or ammunition. The game gives the player limited continues and very few lives. The first stage is set in 1996 and all stages after in 2032, following a simplified plot of the movie. In the two overhead view stages the player must find and rescue hostages in order to unlock doors elsewhere in the level.

Weapons include the basic police-issue handgun, a more powerful magnum, a shotgun which fires in a wide spread, and various types of hand grenades. Even though he is the final boss of the game, the player has to fight Simon Phoenix in short-lived "teaser" battles before defeating him for good at the cryo-prison.

The SNES version included cheat codes that are accessed by pausing the game with the start button, and then followed by a sequence of button presses to acquire a particular power up, or skip to the next level. The accessible power ups are: shotgun, magnum pistol, full health, extra life, hand grenades, freeze grenades, body armor, and flame grenades.

Comparisons between video game and the movie[edit]

Due to the game's Kids-to-Adults rating, there is no adult language as seen in the film (the "verbal morality statute" ticket dispensers are merely decorations in the video game), but many lines from the film were included. The police computer database serves as the level intermission screen, which displays such phrases from the film as "you look great today" and "eat non-fatty foods." Some lines were included as digitized speech, such as the computer voice stating "MDK" and Simon's diabolical laughter.

All references to Taco Bell have been eliminated.

The gunmen in the game resemble both the cryo-prison criminals freed by Simon and the members of Edgar Friendly's gang.

Several levels depict scenes that were not in the film, such as a monorail train and a zipline ride.


Reviewing the Genesis version, Scary Larry of GamePro found some problems with the game, in particular the generally "dreary, dark" graphics, but found it overall effective in every respect. He described it as "the kind of game that brings a smile to the faces of 16-bit vets who appreciate a good solid platform/action game."[1] Captain Squideo reviewed the Super NES version for GamePro, and commented that it "parallels the recent Genesis game: it's fast, fun, and explosive." He remarked that though veteran gamers may find the game too simplistic, it is intense and fun overall, and that unlike the Genesis version the graphics are colorful and effectively convey the postapocalyptic settings.[2]


Demolition Man
Developer(s) Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Alexandria, Inc.
Publisher(s) Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Distributor(s) Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Designer(s) John Alvarado
Ronald Mar
Gary Priest
Stuart Gregg
Barry J. S. Pringle
Douglas W. Cope
Willis Wong
Platform(s) 3DO
  • JP: December 9, 1994
  • NA: 1995
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single-player

The 3DO game was developed in tandem with the film[3] and entails several gameplay styles: of the game's 16 levels, nine are light gun shooter levels, four are one-on-one fighting, two are first person shooter; and one is a mission-based racing game. Due to the advanced 3DO sound engine, the soundtrack is ripped directly from the movie, and full motion video is heavily used, incorporating both footage from the film and exclusive footage of Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes made specifically for the game. Jesse Ventura reprises his role as a minion to Simon Phoenix as the only actor in the movie to play a cryo-con henchman in the underground level and cryo-prison level.[citation needed] A version of the game was to be published by Atari Corporation for the Atari Jaguar CD,[4] but it was cancelled.

The game uses a password system to save progress, while the 3DO's internal memory is used to save the high score list. There are three difficulty modes.

The light gun shooter levels support the 3DO Gamegun in addition to the standard gamepad. The Gamegun can be daisy-chained to a standard gamepad, which then acts as an extension cord and allows the player to navigate the pause menu and play the non-light gun levels without having to switch out controllers; in fact, Demolition Man will not acknowledge the Gamegun if it is plugged into the controller port on the 3DO itself. The light gun levels are set on a static background on which digitized enemies pop out at random, in a shooting gallery style of gameplay.

The one-on-one fighting levels are similar to Mortal Kombat, in that they feature digitized sprites viewed from a side perspective. In all four levels the player controls John Spartan and plays against Simon Phoenix, but Phoenix's AI is different in each level.

The first person shooter levels are extremely simple compared to most games in the genre: there are no doors, switches, or health or ammunition pickups, and the player has only one weapon (a pistol) with unlimited ammunition. In lieu of health pickups, John Spartan slowly recovers health over time. The level designs are on a two dimensional square grid and are maze-like, with a great number of branching paths. The player's objective is to reach a specific location within the level.

In the racing level, the player must catch up to Simon Phoenix's car before his own car runs out of fuel, avoiding other cars on the road while picking up fuel refills.


GamePro gave the game a positive review. While they criticized the fighting game sections for the delayed attacks and limited number of moves, they overall approved of the variety of gameplay styles and applauded the digitized graphics, high quality audio, and the realism invoked by the game's deep level of detail.[5]


  1. ^ "ProReview: Demolition Man". GamePro. IDG (85): 58. October 1995. 
  2. ^ "ProReview: Demolition Man". GamePro. IDG (86): 90. November 1995. 
  3. ^ "Demolition Man". GamePro. IDG (76): 192. January 1995. 
  4. ^ "Jaguar on the Prowl". GamePro. IDG (83): 37. August 1995. 
  5. ^ "ProReview: Demolition Man". GamePro. IDG (77): 76. February 1995. 

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