Vigilante logo


If you thought the only way of transforming mankind into repugnant monsters was by dropping the Bomb, and making melting flesh into a fashion trend, then Vigilante offers you an insight into 1994 New York where absolutely everyone wants to wrap a crowbar around your neck.

It has been lovingly converted from the IREM arcade machine which, unlike the majority of street-fighting games, saw you obeying a vague plot. The idea is that in 1994 the street slime - which once made a home in the gutter - have slithered onto the turf of respectable people. Being generally offensive creatures with a penchant for the type of haircut likely to make their mother think twice about giving them a bottle of Brut for Christmas, they have executed a plan to kidnap Madonna. Even though you are fending off Sean Penn-type characters, she is no relation to the real Madonna.

In true R-Type fashion you move through a scrolling backdrop warding off everything from guys with pistols to persistent green-jacketed creatures. A few chainsaw masochists are thrown in for good measure. At the end of each level there is a large chap who must be destroyed to get onto the next stage. Five levels take you from the main street, through a junkyard, Brooklyn Bridge and the back streets to a construction scene where Madonna is winched into the air.
You must employ a whole host of high foot-kicks to win here.


Graphically, Vigilante bears an astonishing resemblance to its arcade parent. The movement is not as smooth as it should be and gameplay slows down when the scrolling starts. However, a wide variety of street gangs keep the pace going so you probably won't notice. Death is one of those tiresome faults to living; a health panel at the top of the screen lets you know how far away you are from an invite to tea with the Almighty. Instead of dropping down dead your foes tumble off the pavement as if it were a crumbling cliff top. Vigilante has the usual range of noises accompanying each blow to your torso. Here they have been sampled from the arcade game - however, they are nothing inspiring. To accompany this is awful loading music which is certain to have you reaching for the volume control.


Surviving different characters requires you to lay into them at just the right time. The joystick is extremely responsive in this area so you can tackle all your foes with relative ease by employing any of eight different movements. Real problems occur when you are confronted with more than one skinhead at a time. You can find yourself gripped at the neck by one of the green-jacketed guys while another is sawing off your legs.
This is one of the better street-fighting games - certainly ins a superior league to the likes of double dragon - despite lengthy disk accesses. However, in the end it offers little more than a multitude of blood-spattered body blows obeying the age-old street-fighting principles of punch everything that moves until you have been kicked to death.

Vigilante logo

US Gold
Price: £19.99

As a coin-op, Vigilante had no real claims to greatness. It was not a step forward in arcade technology, and it did not offer much variation in its beat em up gameplay. It was not good for much more than a couple of goes.
Your missus, who goes by the name of Madonna, has been kidnapped by the skinheads - not any old skinheads but the skinheads. You, being from a rough and tumble neighbourhood, have no qualms whatsoever about going out and beating seventeen complete and altogether different varieties of crap out of everybody you meet, and this you do, over a selection of levels based around the street-fighting theme. This is not a game for those with an aversion to violence.

In terms of gameplay, Vigilante is closest to Kung Fu Master. You scroll from left to right, and bad guys run from both sides and have to be punched or kicked off the screen. The basic, grab-hold-and-reduce-your-energy henchmen, take only one hit to knock away. Others, such as Nunchaku or knife wielders have to be hit repeatedly before they cop it - and when there is one on either side, it proves to be a problem. At times you feel like you ought to be some kind of Ninja Octopus.

The thing is, Vigilante is very unplayable. It is just too slow and unresponsive. Gameplaying skills go out of the window when your on-screen character just does not move fast enough to be able to kick out the two bad guys standing in front of him. Picking up extra weapons is pointless, as the idiot throws them away the moment he is hit.

Graphically, Vigilante is fairly faithful to the coin-op. The sprites are not quite as large, but they are recognisable, as are the backdrops. Vigilante was written by Emerald software, the same team that wrote The Running Man, which might explain the speed of the game (but then again, I am not one to cast aspersions!).

Sound. What a curious concept. There is not much ear-vibration to be found to Vigilante. A tune plays throughout, and there are a few weak FX in there as well. A game such as this should have plenty of hard-sounding "thwocks".

Vigilante is a poor game. I might have finished by saying it is a good conversion, which is some ways it is. It is just not much of a game. The whole point of a simple beat-em-up is it provides short adrenalin bursts and a little bit of excitement. But a frustratingly slow game is not one of the purchases I go looking for when I go shopping for software.

Vigilante logo

US Gold, Amiga £14.99

It gets worse doesn't it? I mean, you go down the pub for a few bevvies and you get psychopath skinheads accosting you saying things like 'I saw you bad mouthing me' when you weren't even talking to them. That's when you get a smack in the face. Usually, it gets you a bit wound up but you can ignore it. This time, however, they've just gone too far.

You'd only nipped out to the lav for a second and when you come back they've napped your girlfriend, Madonna! Well, this calls for immediate action. Off you run into the street to give chase.

Unfortunately, at this point you discover that all the town's skinheads are in one gang and they're all trying to stop you from reaching Madonna. No sooner do you step on the pavement than a string of thugs rush at you. You swiftly get rid of them by punching and kicking them over. Oh, sorry didn't I mention that you're a Martial Arts expert? Well, now I have.

There are quite a lot skinheads around, so it's lucky for you that other fighting type people have dropped Nunchukkas on the pavement for you to use. WHAM! Ooops! A skinhead punches you in the face and you lose your weapon.

Zzap's Rockford: Come on! I've got me bovver boots on!

Eventually you see the van that the gang have stashed Madonna in, but it's guarded by a big nasty looking brute that takes some beating before he'll lie down like a good boy, allowing you to follow the van to the skinheads' junkyard hangout. Here you must wend your way through wrecked cars, fighting off the skinheads. At the end of the yard two mean brothers somersault all over the place trying to stamp on your head.
Once these bad sons of... er... you know... have been dealt with, the van speeds off again across the city bridge, along which the skinheads race their motorbikes.

Next is the fairground scene with you battling through a carnival scene to get to the construction works, where you must walk along the girders belting the thugs to rescue the fair Madonna (hasn't she dyed her hair dark now? Sorry, bad joke).
And after all that, you can return home and let your hard-man espadrilles cool down.

Gordon Houghton Well, I disagree with Maff on this once, since I found the conversion of Vigilante to be very close to the coin-op original. The graphics are pretty accurate, if a bit small and squat, and the sound more or less mimics the arcade version (i.e. not very much of it, and that limited to yaaa and ouf!. As for the gameplay, the joystick handling and the logic on your opponents has been tweaked a lot since the first version we saw, and the whole thing isn't as hard as it was. It'll still take you a long time to complete the first couple of levels, but it's definitely worth persevering; and if you were a fan of the coin-op, you should take a look at this - particularly at that brilliant price.
Maff Evans On first sight, the arcade version of Vigilante seems far too difficult - after a few goes, however, you soon get into the swing of things. The Amiga version on the other hand starts off incredibly difficult and stays that way. It's hardly fair that the enemy characters move about four times as fast as you so that you can only shuffle along the pavement a couple of steps before several hard men clatter into you. This wouldn't be so bad if the defensive moves were a little more accessible, but after mashing the joystick for ten minutes I still couldn't get a sensible move out of the thing. It's a shame really, as it could have been brilliant, but it isn't - it's just all right.
Zzap's Thing: Get into the groove! Boy you've gonna prove your love for me-e!