Madonna's been kidnapped and the villains responsible are more violent than Sean Penn and crazier than Iran's mad mullahs. While the pop world panics, music lovers applaud and the police wonder where to being our hero takes the law into his own hands.
The first level of this Irem coin-op conversion has the vigilante strolling down a very quiet and peaceful-looking street. The bower boys soon arrive though, fully equipped with lead piping lead piping, knives, shuriken stars etc. To avoid getting duffed up, the hero must punch and kick the heck out of the thugs. Although initially unarmed, he can pick up a nunchukka (two pieces of wood joined by a bicycle chain) to really bash the baddies. But watch that energy bar as even the vigilante takes a trip to rigor mortis land if hit too many times. A timer is also in operation - ninety nine seconds are allowed to reach the end of level where a big fatso waits to give him a good pounding.
Beat him and the multiload gives four more levels, including junkyards, bridges, another street scene and finally a construction site. And at the end of it all there' s a tearful reunion with Madonna.
I'm a great fan of thump-'em-up games and Vigilante is no exception. After playing the brilliant PC Engine version I couldn't wait to see what the Speccy could do. I'm pleased to report that this game has retained most of the original's pleasantly frustrating gameplay. At the start, the time limit is easy to beat, but as you get deeper into the action the sheer number of enemies slows you down. I wasn't too pleased with Ocean's attempt at Dragon Ninja (one of my other fave beat-' em-ups), so it's a case of well done US Gold!
MARK ... 88%
'There may be the odd spoilsport (Mike!) who will say that Vigilante looks and plays like Renegade and endless other titles. This may be true, but but most of them never proved to be much of a challenge - unlike Vigilante! The enemies in each level don't vary too much with the occasional biker trying to run you down and nasty men with sticks beating you up, but there is a different hit man at the end of each level to give you a hard time just when you think you've finished. Colourful backdrops and detailed sprites boost up the graphics rating, and although sound leaves much to be desired, the game holds together well. Vigilante is definitely one of the best beat-'em-ups around.'
NICK ... 85%
'Vigilante has more than a slight similarity to a certain game called Renegade! That said, it's fin and addictive. Gameplay is excellent, though the content of a scrolling kick-'em-up game is obviously limited. It's quite difficult to play well; not too hard, but enough of a challenge to make it very addictive. The only real disappointment is the sound - FX aren't exactly overindulgent, and there's no music to speak of. But the graphics are very good - the colour/mono graphics option is useful (it also means I can't moan about the garishness or boringness of the colour!). Vigilante is a jolly good biff; value for your dosh if you didn't buy Renegade. If you did, then it might not be such a wise investment, but still well worth thinking about.'
MIKE … 84%
Excellent graphics and challenging gameplay make this an addictive beat-'em-up.
Ninety-five seconds to go and in deep trouble.
Who needs a dentist when Mr Vigilante is about?