Review by xenodolf
Reviewed: 08/14/07 | Updated: 03/08/10
Could you beat your best friend to death in a fight over irradiated cans of soda?
I'm sure a decent portion of gamers, especially ones who grew up with the NES, remember Data East's iconic beat 'em up Bad Dudes (aka Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja). It was originally an arcade game that was ported to Nintendo's 8-bit console - keeping intact its absurd plot and famous line "The President has been kidnapped by ninjas! Are you a bad enough dude to rescue The President?". While that introduction was comic gold, the game itself was pretty average. A few years later, Data East created a similar beat 'em up premise - involving a pair of giant men destroying a vicious gang in post-apocalyptic NYC. Despite a familiar style, better graphics, and more fighting options - the game didn't catch on like Bad Dudes. It was eventually ported to the Sega Genesis / Megadrive in 1992, and was pretty accurate to the arcade version. In an effort to help Two Crude Dudes obtain more exposure than it has on its own, I'm going to review it.
In 2010, New York City is devastated by nuclear blasts from unknown origin. 20 Years have passed since that event, and the surviving residents are struggling to restore their beloved city. It is then that a brutal organization known as "Big Valley" arrives and breaks down what little order had been re-established. Punks, raiders, outcasts, and biologically engineered monstrosities with animal traits roam the streets, looking for blood and terrorizing what is left of the civil portion of civilization. Reminiscent of John Carpenter's "Escape from New York", the government calls in two huge men - likely former criminals from the looks of them - and promises them a large cash reward if they would go in alone and shut down the infrastructure of Big Valley. Their aliases are known as... TWO CRUDE DUDES!
While not as detailed as the arcade game and having scaled down brawling environments - the graphics are pretty good for a 1992 game on Sega's console. There is a decent variety of enemy designs - featuring bearded goons, soldiers with flame-throwers, blood-thirsty attack dogs, freaky hunchbacks, obese wrestlers, and more. The setting is accurate for the storyline - full of wrecked cars, weathered metal beams, eroded concrete ravaged by graffiti, and mounds of brick and mud that can be smashed apart. The animation is about average in quality, but the bodies still bounce around well enough.
The music isn't as impressive as the arcade version, as expected, and all of the digitized vocals are absent. However, the tunes here are still pretty fitting - an early 90s kind of synthesizer beat that would go along with some old school rap. The battle noise is pretty hard hitting - and it should be with all the cars being heaved around and savage thugs being nailed beaten by the bodies of their home-boys. The grunts and mortally-wounded moan of your crude dude are decent sounding - and the enemies have a death cry as well, even if every enemy has the exact same one.
Your attacks are limited to kicking when carrying around a car or metal beam, and they don't have much range to kick away the cannon fodder while you're hauling around the giant object. If you are injured while holding something, it falls off the screen and disappears instead of hitting the ground and being reusable like most weapons in beat 'em ups. Other than that, the operating of all the combat is smooth and there isn't any response lag or slowdown. The button layout scheme is also great, featuring a separate button for attacking, jumping, and throwing to prevent you from performing the wrong move if you're the mashing type.
Like Bad Dudes, the combat often takes place on multiple levels of combat with enemies drifting in from all sides to meet you in battle. Two Crude Dudes brings a new move into the formula, though - a throw. Not only can you yank out beams rooted in the ground to use as weapons, or heave ruined cars at the enemies - but you can toss the baddies onto the ground or at each other for serious damage. Most of the enemies can be defeated with a couple of normal blows, but Two Crude Dudes also features some tougher foes (like the flame-thrower soldiers) who require a bit of thought and planning to defeat. The bosses can be rather difficult, and you'll have to exploit any openings in their defense and memorize attack patterns. There are no special attacks in this game, so mashing a button to clear the screen isn't an option for better or worse. Instead of breaking open crates to find first-aid kits, all health in this game is restored by punching can out of soda machines that somehow survived the nuclear blast and slurping down the irradiated cola. You have to be careful, though, and make sure you don't destroy the machine while there are still cans lying around it or they will melt in the explosions and you'll have lost a chance to health yourself. Since Two Crude Dudes supports 2-player co-op, you'll have fun trying to take all the drinks for yourself while injuring your partner (this game features friendly fire) while he is trying to gulp down a can. I finally got around to playing the arcade version on the Wii's Data East Arcade Classics, and was disappointed that this brew-over-bro mini-game was exclusive to the Genesis version, although that is a perk for people who only have this on the Sega console. Two Crude Dudes also seems more tongue-in-cheek than Bad Dudes, with less serious enemy designs (like men dressed as Santa tossing around explosives) and little details like the dudes posing at the end of each stage and doing their best to smile at the camera. While the game-play isn't as fast-paced as the average beat 'em up - it is innovative and an engaging diversion from the run-of-the-mill combat engine.
Replay value 4/10
While Two Crude Dudes is a fun experience to go through on your own, it does much better with a second player. You can protect each other's backs or simply pester your friend by knocking him around along with the enemy combatants. There isn't a difference between the two characters, and no versus mode or separate endings were packaged into the cart. This category ranks about average for a brawler - since I rarely rank higher than 7/10.
Released rather early in the Genesis/Megadrive life-time, Two Crude Dudes managed to stand out from the normal brawlers already existing on the console. Even if most people forgot about it or simply never played it - it deserves recognition for its solid, entertaining game-play and good graphics and sound. Since the arcade version is pretty hard to locate (unless you emulate) and Data East has been sold off to another company, you'll have to either purchase this version on cartridge or wait and see if it eventually ends up on the Wii's Virtual Console. I think all beat 'em up enthusiasts should own this game, and it is worth an $8-$10 price tag.
Product Release: Two Crude Dudes (US, 12/31/92)
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