In 1987, Mel Gibson and Danny Glover starred in what some have called “the greatest buddy-cop movie ever.” I am not one those people, but that’s probably because I’ve never seen the movie. Despite this, I chose the licensed NES adaptation of the movie for my review this month.
Lethal Weapon is about two cops (Gibson and Glover) who have to bust some people, or kill them, or something like that. It doesn’t really say which. Whatever it is, the case requires the two cops to wreak havoc on the city through nine boring stages.
Throughout each level you must kill any and all criminals you come face-to-face with. The problem is that with the exception of two level bosses, every single villain in the game either black or Hispanic. (They could be from the Middle-East, but people of Arabic descent are seldom stereotyped as gang members.) Seeing as how I don’t know the actual story behind this game, I’m forced to assume that crime isn’t actually what Gibson and Glover are fighting.
Since every “criminal” is a minority, and you have to kill every single one you see, for all I know this game is about a white supremacist extermination plan seen through the lens of an ’80s action film. Considering Mel Gibson’s politics, that may not be far from the truth. The troubling part in this scenario is Danny Glover, forced to play the conflicted Uncle Tom character who’s ultimately decided to join up with his fascist partner.
Well, I don’t want to spend the whole review talking about the plot, so I’ll continue on to the gameplay. As either of the cops, you have to plow through the criminals using fists, knives, grenades, and your handgun. After the first few levels, each of those weapons need about ten hits to kill someone, and that’s assuming they aren’t the boss, which takes somewhere around fifty hits to kill. It actually takes just as many bullets to kill a guy in the game as it does to take out a helicopter. And this isn’t exaggeration; the helicopters in this game literally have the same amount of health as the thugs who are on the ground.
To make matters worse, there’s no diversity of gameplay. You walk around and shoot people. For the entire painfully boring game. Hell, the only difference between the two cops is that Gibson can jump a little higher, and Glover can lift cinder blocks. Now, I’ve played some boring games in my time, but none have left me feeling so hollow as this one. The time I spent beating this game is so devoid of meaning that I’m at a loss to find anything significant to share about the game. Mostly because my brain didn’t feel the need to record the actual game-playing, so most of it has been blacked out.
I cannot in good conscience recommend this game to anyone; but if you do get an unrelenting urge to punish yourself, you really only need to bother with the first level of this game, because much like minorities to white supremacists, they all look alike to me.