|Platform(s)||Arcade, Super NES, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, PlayStation (as Lethal Enforcers I & II)|
October 14, 1992
Lethal Enforcers (リーサルエンフォーサーズ Rīsaru Enfōsāzu) is a 1992 shooting game released for the arcades by Konami. The in-game graphics consist entirely of digitized photographs. This caused controversy as it allowed players to shoot photorealistic representations of enemies.
Lethal Enforcers was followed by Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters. Both games would later be released in the two-in-one compilation Lethal Enforcers I & II (Lethal Enforcers Deluxe Pack in Japan) for the PlayStation.
Years later, Konami released the Police 911 series as a Japan-themed sequel to the original plot. This was also followed by the arcade game Seigi No Hero, which was localized and renamed as Lethal Enforcers 3 for Western audiences.
The player assumes control of a Chicago Police Department (CPD) officer named Don Marshall in Chicago, Illinois, who is at a donut shop for a break. While sipping the last drop of coffee, he gets a call from his dispatcher. They realize that a major crime organization has invaded town, and they need his help on the double. He is one of the two survivors of the elite group of officers. The rest have ended up in the hospital or killed. Once the call ended, he decided to check out the bank. From that point on, he is going to experience the toughest job that he would have during his years in the police force. He has been assigned and agrees to help stop a growing crime wave that puts the city's security in serious jeopardy, along with a helper (a second player can join in).
Initially armed with a standard-issue .38 service revolver, the player can acquire upgraded weapons during the course of play: a .357 Magnum, a semi-automatic pistol, a combat shotgun, an assault rifle, a submachine gun, or a grenade launcher. The submachine gun and grenade launcher can only be used once while other weapons can be reloaded like the service revolver. Losing a life reverts the player's weapon to the revolver. The game ends when all lives are lost, unless the player chooses to continue. Along the way, extra lives can be earned per 2,000 points scored. There are bonus points (10 each) for destroying certain targets. 8 points per enemy shot.
Lethal Enforcers has six stages (including the Training Stage): "The Bank Robbery", "Chinatown (on SNES, Downtown) Assault", "The Hijacking", "The Drug Dealers (on SNES, Gunrunners)", and "Chemical Plant Sabotage". During each stage, the player must shoot the armed robbers without harming any civilians or fellow policemen. One shot is enough to kill most enemies. At the end of each stage, a boss must be killed in order to complete the stage. A dip switch setting in the arcade version allows operators to let players progress through the stages in a linear fashion ("arcade mode") or select individual stages ("street mode").
Enemies always wear sunglasses, ski masks or gas masks, while fellow police officers and civilians are always barefaced. The boss character sometimes will have his face exposed; however, this battle is fought where there are no civilians present.
There are different ranks that the player can attain based on performance. The ranks are Patrolman, Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, and Commander. When the game begins, the player's rank is Patrolman, and after each stage the player is promoted, provided they have not killed any civilians. Killing civilians will cause the player to either be demoted or stay the same rank, although the ranks do not go below Patrolman.
Home versions were released for the Super NES, Sega Genesis and Sega CD. The home versions make use of a revolver-shaped light gun known as the Konami Justifier, which came packaged with the game. A standard controller can be also used in lieu of the light gun in these versions. A second-player Justifier light gun, pink in color, was available only by mail order from Konami. The CD version features higher quality CD-DA music, sampled from the arcade original. The game is also featured alongside Lethal Enforcers II in the two-in-one compilation titled: Lethal Enforcers I & II (Lethal Enforcers Deluxe Pack in Japan), developed by Konami Chicago and released for the PlayStation in 1997. A Sega Saturn version of the compilation was also announced but cancelled.
The Super NES version features traditional Nintendo censorship; no blood is shown when a player or criminal dies. Instead, the screen will flash light green or light blue to indicate that a player lost a life. Also, "Chinatown Assault"(which is basically a gang fight) is renamed "Downtown Assault" and "Drug Dealer" renamed as "Gunrunners".
The Japanese arcade version of Lethal Enforcers contain several differences from the US and European arcade versions. These differences include the "how to reload" animation (the US and European versions show a woman shooting outside of the cabinet's screen to reload in-game, while the Japanese version shows the default revolver and how to reload it), and an additional enemy taunt, "Die, pigs!", which was removed from the US and European versions.
|CVG||80% (Genesis) |
82% (Sega CD)
|EGM||26 / 40 (Sega CD) |
24 / 40 (Genesis)
24 / 40 (SNES)
|GamesMaster||93% (Sega CD)|
|Electronic Games||95% (Genesis)|
93% (Sega CD)
|Mega||89% (Sega CD) |
In Japan, Game Machine listed Lethal Enforcers on their January 1, 1993 issue as being the most-successful upright arcade unit of the year. RePlay also reported the game to be the third most-popular upright arcade game at the time.
GamePro gave rave reviews for the Sega CD, Genesis and SNES versions; for the SNES version, they cited the accuracy of the Konami Justifier, the realistic graphics, and the "appropriately hyper music". Electronic Gaming Monthly scored the SNES version 24 out of 40 (6 out of 10 average). Though they noted that the port was technically impressive, they felt the brutal violence was toned down to the point where the spirit of the game was lost.
The Lethal Enforcers I & II compilation received mediocre reviews, with critics saying that while the conversion is arcade perfect, the gameplay is simplistic and the graphics are highly static compared to contemporaries like Time Crisis. Dan Hsu of Electronic Gaming Monthly, which gave the compilation a 4.875 out of 10, commented that while the Lethal Enforcers games were very good, they were both too aged to stand up against other 1997 releases and not classic enough to make a credible retro compilation.
Lethal Enforcers gained controversy for its use of photorealistic imagery and was one of the video games part of the 1993 Congressional hearings on video games, led by senators Joe Lieberman and Herb Kohl. Lieberman, during C-SPAN’s coverage of the hearings, showed Nintendo and Sega the Konami Justifier that was bundled with the game and that it looked too much like a real revolver. At the time, it was pulled from toy stores, such as Toys R Us. Along with Night Trap and Mortal Kombat, which were also part of the hearings, the Genesis version was one of the first video games to be rated MA-17 by Sega's Videogame Rating Council.
In popular culture
A level in Konami's shooter Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius is modeled after Lethal Enforcers and has the player character avoiding moving crosshairs. Both the blue and pink Konami Justifiers appear at the bottom of the screen during the stage.
The We Are Scientists album Brain Thrust Mastery contains a song entitled "Lethal Enforcer" in reference to the game. The album contains many video game related titles such as "Altered Beast", "Ghouls" (from "Ghouls 'n Ghosts") and "Gauntlet".
- Leadbetter, Richard (February 1997). "1997 Starts with a Bang!". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 16. Emap International Limited. p. 18.
- "Coming Soon". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 94. Ziff Davis. May 1997. p. 29.
- Computer and Video Games, issue 144 (November 1993)
- Computer and Video Games, issue 146 (January 1994), page 72
- "Sega CD". Electronic Gaming Monthly (1999 Video Game Buyer's Guide). EGM Media. p. 141.
- "Genesis". Electronic Gaming Monthly (1998 Video Game Buyer's Guide). EGM Media. p. 86.
- "Review Crew: Lethal Enforcers". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 57. Sendai Publishing. April 1994. p. 40.
- GamesMaster, issue 11 (November 1993), pages 44-46, published 21 October 1993
- Electronic Games, volume 2, issue 3 (December 1993), page 120
- Kunkel, Bill (November 1993). "CD GALLERY". Electronic Games. p. 118.
- Mega, issue 15 (December 1993), pages 38-40, published 18 November 1993
- "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - アップライト, コックピット型TVゲーム機 (Upright/Cockpit Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 441. Amusement Press, Inc. 1 January 1993. p. 35.
- "The Player's Choice - Top Games Now in Operation, Based on Earnings-Opinion Poll of Operators: Best Upright Videos". RePlay. Vol. 18 no. 2. RePlay Publishing, Inc. November 1992. p. 4.
- "Sega CD ProReview: Lethal Enforcers". GamePro. No. 62. IDG. November 1993. pp. 74–75.
- "Genesis ProReview: Lethal Enforcers". GamePro. No. 63. IDG. December 1993. p. 68.
- "ProReview: Lethal Enforcers". GamePro. No. 68. IDG. May 1994. p. 72.
- "Review Crew: Lethal Enforcers 1 & 2". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 97. Ziff Davis. August 1997. p. 51.
- "PlayStation ProReview: Lethal Enforcers I & II". GamePro. No. 107. IDG. August 1997. p. 72.
- Mega magazine issue 26, page 74, Maverick Magazines, November 1994
- Redburn, Tom (December 17, 1993). "Toys 'R' Us Stops Selling a Violent Video Game". New York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- https://web.archive.org/web/20080515020254/http://laist.com/2008/05/08/laist_interview_143.php. Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. Missing or empty