SNES A Day 137: Lethal Weapon


Approximate Release Date: December 31, 1992
Genre: Action
Developer: Ocean Software
Publisher: Ocean Software

The neat stylized graphics of Lethal Weapon aren’t enough to hide the rotten gameplay underneath.

I call the graphics “neat” because Lethal Weapon doesn’t look like a game based on a live-action movie. It doesn’t try for realism or large, emotive sprites; instead, it comes across as trying to take an almost NES kind of side-scrolling aesthetic and bump it up graphically across the board. It never looks as good as a Joe & Mac or Super Castlevania IV – not even close – but there’s something about it that I find appealing. It’s simple.

Lethal Weapon does sprinkle in some photographs from the film before (and after, I presume) each mission. They look awful, though. Of course, the Super Nintendo’s limited color palette wasn’t going to do a great job at reproducing the images, but the images suffer from distracting color dithering and you can see the individual pixels of color in each picture. These are rare, thankfully. I think I do recognize some of the music from the series, and these tunes fare much better in their 16-bit conversion.

It has been a very long time since I’ve seen the movies, so I can’t tell if each of the four playable missions is based on plots in the Lethal Weapon franchise. You control either Riggs or Murtaugh as you kick and shoot terrorists while traversing the very traditional stages. Riggs can shoot a little faster and Murtaugh jumps a little higher, but they aren’t different enough to make a difference for the most part.

But the game isn’t good. At all. There’s a lot of precision jumping that is difficult only because the controls are stiff and the game has a habit of putting enemies in the exact place that will knock you into a pit or at the bottom of a jumping puzzle. Most puzzling is how the time limit in the levels are stupidly restrictive. I have no idea how you’re supposed to beat any level in Lethal Weapon when you only have a few minutes until you get a “time out.”

Those might be good enough reasons to not play Lethal Weapon. Which is good, because you shouldn’t. But there’s one aspect that highlights how clueless the developers were in making the movies into a game.

There’s no multiplayer.

Ocean Software didn’t put multiplayer in a game based on a buddy cop film.

Think about that!

Tomorrow: I doubt Musya sold more than six copies in North America based on the name alone.

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