Dick Tracy

Back when we we’re doing a Top 100 list, Dick Tracy presented a bit of a dilemma for us.  On one hand, it’s more fun than the 600 or so games we had already eliminated.  On the other hand, we seem to be the only people who think so, and given the intense hatred that so many gamers harbor toward this game, its inclusion on our Top 100 List could have undermined the credibility of our entire project.  See, on any given website, 75% of the readership is made up of people who don’t actually care for the site itself, but are merely scanning it for evidence to prove their theory that the website’s writers are asshats.  And on a video game related website, that number jumps up to about 99%.  So keeping around a game so universally loathed, especially when we’ve rejected a good number of more popular ones already, is basically just inviting people to say “Hey, they crossed Vectorman off their list and kept Dick Tracy!  These guys are asshats!”  Not that people aren’t willing to read a videogame website written by a bunch of asshats, but Gamespot already has that niche filled.

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That might have something to do with the fact that you preemptively shot every single person you saw last stage.

Now that we’ve decided to do a Top 50 list instead, that crisis has been averted.  Dick Tracy will share the same fate as so many games that came before it, having it’s Sega Seal of Quality revoked and being lumped into that big unranked grouping of games that weren’t good enough to make the cut.  On the plus side, this should spare us from the ire of our readers who, for reasons we cannot comprehend, keep insisting that Out of This World and Ecco the Dolphin are good games deserving of finishing ahead of DT.  On the down side, it means that Dick Tracy – one of the system’s most pretty-good-but-not-really-great games – can essentially be considered the equal of crap like American Gladiators or Shadow of the Beast.  I’m pretty sure this sort of mentality is precisely why communism failed.

Although it came out around the same time as the Disney movie, Dick Tracy the Genesis game seems to have little relation to Dick Tracy the film.  Then again, I haven’t seen the movie since I was in sixth grade, so I could be wrong.  Does it really matter?  Is there anyone reading this right now who would base their decision whether or not to like Dick Tracy on how closely it resembles the movie?  This whole paragraph suddenly seems pointless.

Anyway, Dick Tracy has decided to put a stop to the rampant crime in the city, and this time he’s not fucking around.  In the world of Dick Tracy, a civilian is just a criminal who hasn’t tried to kill you yet.  You begin the game by shooting three unarmed men outside the police station, and then gunning down two more in the background that appear to be running for cover.  It’s hard to imagine what someone would make of this if it was the first video game they’d ever been exposed to.  Experienced gamers already know that people approaching you from the right side of the screen are always bad guys, but to the casual observer, you’d probably look like you’re a cold-blooded killer on a rampage.

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What, isn’t this you you get around?

And deep down, I think that’s what stands out the most about Dick Tracy.  Sure, the gameplay is pretty good.  And yes, the way the game adds a pseudo-3rd dimension to the typical run-and-gun gameplay by allowing to to shoot at enemies in the background is a nice feature that surprisingly didn’t get “borrowed” by too many other games.  So it’s unique in that regard.  But really, it all comes down to one thing with this game – walking down the street in broad daylight and shooting everyone you see before they even have a chance to threaten you.  Let’s just assume they were all criminals.

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