Video Game / NARC

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Pictured: The war on drugs.
"Say no or die!"

NARC was an Arcade Game released in 1988 by Williams Electronics where one or two players take part in the War on Drugs.

The player controls members of N.O. (Narcotics Opposition) officers code-named "Max Force" or "Hit Man" as they wage war on drugs. And we do mean war. The entire game consists of shooting drug dealers and other crooks with machine guns and rocket launchers en masse. For a bit of variety, sometimes you run them over with your car instead.note  Your ultimate goal is to defeat the man behind the entire operation, "Mr. Big". Naturally, the players do this by making him explode. Turning the murder-factor Up to Eleven was essentially the only way to make teenagers pay attention to a game with an anti-drug message.

NARC is notable for being the first 32-bit arcade game, using the TI TMS34010 processor.

The Nintendo Entertainment System version, developed by Rare, was released in 1990 by Acclaim, who licensed out several characters from the game for Video Power.

A remake was released in 2005, changing the formula from an arcade shoot'em up to a Grand Theft Auto-style experience. It had rather mixed reviews.

NARC contains examples of:

  • A Winner is You: A very odd example; after defeating Mr. Big, players are rewarded the message, "You have completed the NARC training mission... CONTACT YOUR LOCAL DEA RECRUITER."
  • Aesop Amnesia: The original arcade game treated drugs as bad. The 2005 remake treated the drugs as power-ups.
  • Animated Adaptation: Max Force was one of the main heroes in the Acclaim's Power Team cartoon, while Mr. Big and his lackeys (Dr. Spike Rush and Joe Rockhead) were the main villains.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The true Mr. Big is only vulnerable when shot in the eyes. Then after he turns into a skull, his spine has to be blown apart vertebra-by-vertebra starting at the top.
  • Beating A Dead Player: If Max Force or Hit Man loses his last life to a dog, the dog will drag his body around the screen during the continue countdown.
  • BFG: Your rocket launcher. It can bring down a mass of mooks, a few
  • Big Bad: Mr. Big, of course.
  • Booby Trap: Sergeant Skyhigh has a few of his ganja plants rigged with explosives. You've got to hope the plant you take won't explode. Joe Rockhead might also grab a plant so he can hurt you when he throws it, then you WANT the plant to explode and take Joe down (same effect as hitting him with a rocket).
  • Bowdlerize: The NES version, which changed the color of the blood spatter from red to yellow, renamed the "K.R.A.K." stores into "K.W.A.K." stores and changed the game's catchphrase from "Say no... or die" to "Just say no."
  • The Brute: Mr. Big has three:
    • Muscle-wise Joe Rockhead, The Juggernaut and PCP addict. You've got to blast him with lots of bullets or one rocket; he'll kill you if you try to bust him.
    • Gun-wise, Sergeant Skyhigh. His machine gun and his flamethrower can keep up with your own machine gun and BFG.
    • Ax-Crazy Knife Nut (and possibly The Berserker of K.R.A.K.) Kinky Pinky.
  • Collision Damage: Inverted with the weaker mooks: colliding with them immobilizes them, and if you can keep them that way for about a second you slap a pair of cuffs on them and they disappear. Played straight by Elite Mooks Joe Rockhead and Kinky Pinky, as well as the attack dogs. Averted both ways for Sergeant Skyhigh; you and he will pass right through each other.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Max Force has light skin and wears a blue outfit; Hit Man has dark skin and wears a red outfit.
  • Cool Car: The Porsches on the Bridge stage. They have Bottomless Magazines for the machine guns inside them, so you won't run out of ammo if you stay in the Porsches AND don't get them destroyed (by crashing into stuff, driving onto a mine or getting bombed by an enemy chopper).
    • Car Fu: You can run over some of the bad guys with the Porsche — the exception is Joe Rockhead, but he can be blasted with the Porsche's machine guns. If an enemy chopper is on the ground, you can go at it with the Porsche, then jump out before impact to take down the chopper and score the points for the drug bags in it
  • Cover Version: The Pixies covered the game's main theme as a B-side. The lyrics are literally just Black Francis wailing "Theme from NARC!"
  • Cowboy Cop: You are playing a police officer... one who solves his problems with mass murder. In a slight subversion, you are encouraged to bust enemies whenever you can, instead of shooting them. (Shooting might drop cash worth 1000 points or drug bags worth 2000, while a "BUST" gives you 5000 points.)
    • However there is a limit to the number of busts you can make per level (perhaps the local lockup fills up?) After that you can no longer arrest perps and wasting them is the only option. However, it's a pretty high number, and grinding for it is risky.
    • "Wasting him" IS the only option against Joe Rockhead: he'll kill you if you try "busting" him. Same with Kinky Pinky. Sergeant Skyhigh moves too fast to bust, and his weaponry won't let you get close enough to try to.
  • The Dragon: Spike Rush in the "Power Team" cartoons.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Why else would the cops walk down Main Street shooting all the drug users with fully automatic weapons?
    • Amusingly, the remake reverses this by treating drugs as powerups (for instance, crack temporarily makes you a "crack shot.") Use them too often, though, and you get addicted to them, meaning you need methadone to get back to normal.
  • Dumb Muscle: Joe Rockhead in the above "Power Team" cartoons. Befits as he's also The Brute.
  • Every 100,000 points: Every 100,000 points grants a 1-Up, and if you get hurt, it's a Wound That Will Not Heal. There are NO healing items in NARC, nor is your current player's life replenished at the start of the next stage. So you have to hope you can get plenty of extra lives (though 20 busts is a quick way to get an extra life, as well as loading up on cash and drug bags.)
  • Evil Genius: For his organization, Mr. Big has two: Spike Rush is the drug maker, Kinky Pinky runs the porn operations. Gives Sergeant Skyhigh grows the marijuana (ganja), he might be a third.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Our heroes are employed by a group called the Narcotics Opposition, or "N.O." for short.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: So... why exactly does Mr. Big turn out to be a disembodied big giant head that shoots fire out of its eyes and spits out an endless stream of severed tongues?
  • Goomba Stomp: Your only defense against giant flying roaches.
  • Guns Akimbo: You dual wield a machine gun and a rocket launcher.
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: There are giant flasks and beakers (which can be shot and blown up) in Dr. Spike Rush's "clandestine drug lab."
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • Spike Rush flings hypodermic syringes with enough drug to take a good bit of your life bar.
    • Joe Rockhead picks up and throws garbage dumpsters. And trash cans. And in Sergeant Skyhigh's stage, ganja pots (but a few were rigged to explode on impact by Sergeant Skyhigh, so you WANT Joe to grab the rigged ones).
  • Kaizo Trap:
    • Think you're home free after defeating Mr. Big's skeletal head form? Those huge deadly cockroaches will start spawning from his corpse to destroy you until you quickly enter the door.
    • The final room counts as well. After beating Mr. Big and taking all the gold, don't dally around before entering the final door, otherwise mooks will actually spawn in and try to end your victory.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: What happens when you hit a baddie with a rocket launcher.
  • Monster Clown: One of the villains, Kinky Pinky. For even more creepy, he's the one running Mr. Big's porn business. He's also a Knife Nut: his butcher knife means you can't bust him; one bullet or one rocket kills him.
  • More Dakka: The players, and one of the Mook in stage five utilizes this.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The identities of the player characters are Max Force and Hit Man.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: For all the geysers of blood in this game, shooting an attack dog simply makes it turn into a puppy and run away.
  • No Indoor Voice: Once you put a coin in the slot, you're almost knocked backwards by how loud the speakers are turned up (the synthesized quality of 80s video-game sound effects didn't help).
  • One-Hit Kill: In the remake, ANYONE on the wrong end of a user of Liquid Soul can become this. All it takes is one punch and they die. What's worse is the user can't tell friend from foe.
  • Pyro Maniac: Sergeant Skyhigh can also use a flamethrower as well as a machine gun.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: In Spike Rush's stage, destroying the lab he has is encouraged.
  • Smash Mook: Joe Rockhead, a PCP addict who's super-strong and can lift dumpsters to hurt you. He takes a LOT of bullets or one rocket to bring down—don't even THINK about trying to "Bust" him as he will manhandle/kill you if you get within physical-grab range.
  • Stalked by the Bell/Increasingly Lethal Enemy: Hanging out in the same area for too long after collecting the keycard will spawn large groups of attack dogs. Fighting them off will just invoke the wrath of black-furred dogs, the fastest enemies in the game who will quickly tear you to shreds. They dart off-screen after taking a life, but they'll be back soon. Fighting them off spawn deadly roaches the size of a television set who will just latch on and suck you dry, and they respawn with faster flight speed. The roaches also spawn from the final boss's corpse, so hurry to the right.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Your reward for beating the game. No joke.
  • Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000: Although the remake trades off the ultraviolence for... the glorification of drug use, oddly enough.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: With Joe Rockhead (he'll kill you if you try to bust him with his brute strength), Kinky Pinky (he'll stab you repeatedly with his butcher knife), Sergeant Skyhigh (he'll shoot you before you can get into "Bust" range), and Mr. Big (you've got to first nail his weaponized wheelchair with a rocket three times, then take out his "giant head" form), you've GOT to kill them as you can't "Bust" them. And of course, the dogs can only be shot to turn them from full-grown into whining puppies.

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