As the battle for the Christmas number one slot reaches its climax (as we write), here's another contender from the Ocean stable. It's Narc, the conversion of the Taito coin-op, coded by the Sales Curve team (of Silkworm and SWIV fame). A Narc, as any school boy will inform you, is nothing to do with being a police informant or being peed off. In fact it's American jargon for an officer of the drug squad. Narc - Narcotics, y'see!? Okay, but being American and being a computer game, these Narcs go in blasting!
One or two players participate in this multi-level shoot 'em up against junkies, low-lifes and Mr Bigs of the evil KRAK organisation. Starting with a single shot, you blast your way through the bad guys. Each hit will leave you with money, drugs, bullets or missiles to add to your arsenal.
The 'stand out' features of the coin-op were centred on the amount of violence - hit a gang of baddies with a missile and you'll be showered with severed limbs(!) - and the interaction with the scenery. On a later level you find a Porsche that you can jump into and drive. Meanwhile, a huge helicopter sprite hovers overhead; this too can be blown out of the sky. Both of these elements have been fully recreated in the coin-op and full marks for that.
At the end of the day though, Narc has been spoiled for me by having seen Robocop II first -much better sound, much better animation, more complexity of gameplay. I found myself frustrated by the Narc control system. Dogs especially were a pain to dispose of and when they attack you they seem to be 'getting off' with your leg! To kill them you should be squatting down but each time you take a hit your sprite stands up. I also found that some of the later level graphics lacked definition. Still, Narc has captured much of the excitement of the original. It's an above average example of this style of game but for me it's not the best.
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