NARC (NES) review
"As lowly officers working in narcotics, you’re given the objective to take a stroll through the shady part of town and basically eliminate any scumbags that happen to be residing there. The task won’t be easy; you’ll have to confront dealers, addicts, killer clowns, and more as you struggle to make the streets a safer place for everyday citizens. You’re also likely going to be outnumbered, and your only allies will be your machine gun, rocket launcher, and brightly-colored riot gear. "
As lowly officers working in narcotics, you’re given the objective to take a stroll through the shady part of town and basically eliminate any scumbags that happen to be residing there. The task won’t be easy; you’ll have to confront dealers, addicts, killer clowns, and more as you struggle to make the streets a safer place for everyday citizens. You’re also likely going to be outnumbered, and your only allies will be your machine gun, rocket launcher, and brightly-colored riot gear.
It’s bound to be one of the more difficult days in the lives of our friendly neighborhood NARCs.
The situation may seem hopeless; however, not all is lost! Backup is available if you’re able to find someone who’s actually willing to put on the red outfit. And for every 100,000 points you earn, they’ll give you a new helmet. They’re really good helmets, too, so the prospect of that alone is almost certainly enough to keep anyone going even in the enlarged face of a gigantic robotic head.
Mowing down perps with your machine gun is a simple matter, but the game also provides you with the less violent alternative of “busting” them instead. When you walk up beside an typical scumbag, you can hold your position long enough to put on the cuffs and effectively remove him as a threat. In fact, NARC encourages its players to use the non-violent means by rewarding each bust with 5,000 points at the end of each level. Gunning them down on the spot only offers a fraction of that amount. It’s an admirable attempt to send a worthwhile message to the impressionable. More often than not, it’s advantageous not to kill anyone outright if you have the chance.
(Except for the hippies, though. The hippies you have to shoot; they don’t give you a choice about that. Huh.)
NARC accomplishes a pretty amazing feat for a video game. Not only does it take a gritty, stylized look into the world of drugs and organized crime, but it also does so in a way that makes it perfectly suitable for even children to enjoy. This is perhaps an occurrence specific to the NES version, but all the graphics are presented in such a fashion which prevents its viewers from completely understanding their nature if they hadn’t already to begin with. Of course, it helps that the game is indeed a bit of a cartoon; you’ve got some enemies who throw hypodermic needles at you like darts, and others who merrily fly off-screen when hit by a rocket blast.
So it’s perfectly okay to expose this game to the children. When they see an Adult Bookstore in the backdrop, they’ll naturally assume it’s simply referring to the ones without pictures. The potted plants you’re supposed to collect on that one level for no particular reason? Potted plants, is all they are. The kids can play the game through and still learn the valuable moral of the story— and that’s to just say “NO”.
Unfortunately, NARC won’t last even the most casual of gamers very long. Yet in the end, its players can rest comfortably with the knowledge that they’ve helped fight the good fight.
Community review by disco1960 (March 22, 2005)
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