The beat ’em up genre works really well in arcades. The cabinet allows for more than one player (oftentimes more than two players), meaning more money in a shorter time. The nature of the games themselves means players will likely lose at some point, only to come back later to spend more money to get a bit further, only to lose again and cough up more quarters. It’s a big incentive for an arcade operator to have these types of games in their arcade.
Because of that, dozens if not hundreds of beat ’em up games came out in the 80s and 90s. A dominant name in the beat ’em up genre is Konami, having released amazing games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and X-Men, to name a few. So you could imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this hard to miss Crime Fighters cabinet only to discover it, too, is a Konami game.
Crime Fighters has a lot of similarities to other games in the genre, such as multiplayer gameplay, defeated enemies dropping weapons you can use, and ridiculous boss fights at the end of each stage. Though the game has some insane 80s/90s cabinet art, the visuals are fairly standard for the time. Bright colors, bright backdrops, and cliche “gang members” as enemies. Still though, despite the overall blandness, the game is fun for a few minutes simply by being a multiplayer arcade brawler.
I find it hard to believe a game like this would draw in crowds like the classics would. Crime Fighters feels like it belongs in a budget pizza place that couldn’t afford the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cabinet. You’ll still have some fun playing it, but the enjoyment will diminish after the continue screen hits zero.
*Played at Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, IL – 2019