Ryo Saeba - a "Sweeper", bodyguard for hire, handsome, talented and the finest shot in Shinjuku. He's also a monumental lecher who only accepts beautiful female clients and will do anything to get a peek at their bodies. But keeping watch on him is his partner Kaori, sister to his ex-partner who was killed on one fateful night. Kaori has talents herself, being able to produce enormous mallets seemingly from thin air whenever Ryo is acting up around the ladies - and she isn't afraid to use them.
City Hunter is based on the very popular manga/anime by Tsukasa Hojo. The game itself is a kind of action/adventure split into several different 'stories', of which you can choose in any order (with the exception of the final chapter). Gameplay mostly involves running around buildings, shooting the bad guys that constantly appear ahead of you and trying out the doorways scattered around. These doors often lead to separate rooms, sometimes with that essential character in that you need to talk to to progress the story. Aside from armed mobsters, you'll also have to navigate around laser beams, crushing machines and spikes that shoot from the ground. Around each level you will also find a nurse to heal you - although stumbling into a room with a semi-naked gal inside has pretty much the same effect. As you progress through the levels, you also gain extra weaponry - the bazooka being particularly useful in a crowded room.
Firstly, let me say that I do like this game. Gameplay isn't great, but fun enough and not too difficult, and it does suffer not being able to follow the Japanese storyline as this is a major aspect of the levels. Character animation on Ryo is nice, if a little flappy, and generally backgrounds are pleasing, despite there not being much variety. Making progress is a little hit-and-miss and you'll find yourself doing plenty of backtracking in levels in case you've not spoken to that critical character some way along the road. Also, the music is superb and is probably the main hook that makes me enjoy the game to the extent that I do (that and me being a massive City Hunter fan of course).
There are some very heavy criticisms I can lay down here. Given that they had the whole City Hunter world to work with, it's pretty shocking what the final product was. It's almost as though the game was well into production before they got the licence and they just slotted the characters in the best they could. For example, the genetic blobs and robot bosses featured in the game are just so out of place in City Hunter, which is anything but science fiction, that it's hard to believe they made it in. The scenery is 95% interiors...no walking the streets of Shinjuku, no Cat's Eye, nothing at Ryo's apartment...characters like Umibozu only appear from time to time (where it would have been an ideal opportunity to be able to switch from one to another) and the overboard visual humour is almost non-existant. As a licensed product, it just fails to feel like City Hunter. As a game, it's fun for a while.
FINAL LEVEL/ALL ITEMS: Enter password HQJURIY NOERLO.