Everyone loves the renegade cop, at least fictional ones. Guys who make their own rules, don't listen to the old men in their ivory towers and get the job done no matter whose toes are stepped on. Videogames have their fair share of these characters, but Lewis Cannon, the hero of throwback beat-'em-up Tokyo Beat Down for DS, is the most Miranda-ignoring, suspect-abusing, and aptly named rogue cop we've ever played as.
Despite the game's ensemble cast, with play shifting from character to character depending on the stage, Cannon is the one we like beating up crooks with the most. What we've enjoyed about him is that he just beats people up no matter what the crime. Even when he finds out that some guys he punched, kicked, and even shot at (with "rubber" bullets) were only guilty of running out on a restaurant bill, he still feels secure in his belief that justice was served. Such childlike definitions of right and wrong might frighten us in real cops, but it's only made Lewis all the more endearing.
The basic gameplay harkens back to Final Fight or Double Dragon; just keep walking right and you'll find people to whale on until you reach the end of the stage. Helpful items, like food or guns, will appear under trash cans or phone booths, you'll know you can walk to the right and fight new guys when a blinking arrow appears and eventually you’ll have to face down a boss. It's purposefully old-school, which is fun, though we wonder if it can keep our interest for the whole game.
Fortunately it has the usual clever, witty, and above all first-rate translation that almost all Atlus titles are known for. Plus it's an interesting way to explore Tokyo; we've already visited the docks, Shinjuku, and Akihabara. We'll give you a full rundown to our trip through this digital city when Tokyo Beat Down releases in March.
Feb 4, 2009