In the late 1980s Konami decided that a good concept for a video game was to take Crocodile Dundee and make the lead character a Louisiana gator-rasslin’ redneck instead of an Aussie. Those outside of Japan knew this game as the Adventures Of Bayou Billy. Most ways, it was quite good. The only problem was the excessive difficulty. You see, most common enemies have about the same amount of health as Billy in this version. That makes our version one of the most difficult games ever made. I remember being shocked by the difficulty as a child and not making it through the first level. To my credit, I have made it halfway through the game since. But I eventually got tired of playing it. It’s not a bad game, and arguably even good, but the difficulty is wearying.
I assume the reason for the difference between versions is because this industry was so young a lot of its companies had difficulty communicating between their international divisions. That’s why we occasionally got changes between different versions of the same game. The subject of this review is the Japanese version, Mad City. The difficulty is more manageable, making this so much better than our version.
Plot: 7 out of 10
I can be a little lenient to this game for having yet another “save the girl” plot. The Dundee movies did have this subplot as well if I’m not mistaken. Billy West’s girlfriend, Annabelle, has been kidnapped by New Orleans mob boss Godfather Gordon to lure Billy to his death. The manual, at least for our version, is pretty funny. Billy is described as having been “raised by a family of gators.” That line alone makes it worth reading. Sadly, there’s none of that humor in the game. Gordon does make a great villain in the cutscenes, though.
Also, there’s an alternate ending if you avoid Annabelle as she walks towards you after the last fight that has Billy leaving her. The default ending is your standard romantic one.
Graphics: 7 out of 10
Graphics are mostly good. Enemies are well-done, as are the surroundings. Trouble is, a lot of things repeat over and over. Also, I always thought it weird how Billy’s hat covers his face.
Sound: 8 out of 10
The songs are absolutely awesome! They have a fantastic beat that fits with the southern feel to boot! Alas, there is a lot of repetition like with the graphics. Also, one thing that our version actually improved is producing possibly the first instances of voice acting in a game. They’re not heard in this version.
Gameplay: 10 out of 10
Some might think this a generous score, but I’m giving it to Mad City anyway because of how well it does multiple styles of gameplay. They are as follows:
Beat ’em up: by far the core of the game, This is punching, kicking, jump-kicking, and the use of weapons that you knock out of the pockets of enemies, the best being the whip and gun. Why not just the gun? Because some enemies have bulletproof vests that you can take from them as well. This portion of the game is done every bit as well as the original Double Dragon.
Shooting: Basically, you shoot enemies who come into view and also use gunshots to deflect explosives from a first-person perspective. Depending on what mode you use, you may have to plug in your Zapper. Not a lot of other games used it, did they? I think that the two levels that use the Zapper are better than either Duck Hunt* or Hogan’s Alley. That’s kinda sad.
Driving: This is the worst part of our version because of the one-hit deaths and the fact that when turning, you can’t actually steer, just sort of “hug” the wall. This version does it so much better. Death doesn’t come so easily and the controls are acceptable.
*Shove the hate mail, Duck Hunt fans! That game is about doing the same thing over and over again.
Challenge: 9 out of 10
About average in difficulty, but still fun due to the well-done styles of play. Also, learning curve is average, which is exactly the way it should be.
Overall: 9 out of 10
I’d always thought that the Adventures Of Bayou Billy would be a classic if only it weren’t so f*cking hard. I would still rate it a respectable 7 out of 10, but now I have played Mad City. With its fairer difficulty, I have to consider it a true classic.