You're the titular Dick Tracy, on a case to rid the city of the notorious gang boss Big Boy Caprice. The game is a sidescroller action title where you take control of Tracy as he searches for clues and battles numerous gangsters and bosses.
The gameplay consists of Tracy walking left-to-right along the foreground of the screen, but the twist is that occasionally enemies will try to attack Tracy from the background, as they shoot "into" the screen. Tracy can pull out his Tommy Gun to shoot the background enemies. The boss battles in the game have this set up. Players have to quickly react to both the foreground and background action to succeed in the game. The game will ramp up the challenge with swarming enemies from both planes, forcing the player to do quick reflexes to deal with the action. Don't get too caught up in one enemy, because it only takes a second for another enemy to land a sneak attack on you.
Along the way, Tracy will encounter and fight iconic villains in thrilling boss battles, like Pruneface, Flattop, and Lips Manlis. The game has very detailed and colorful graphics, and a banging swing jazz soundtrack.
A Sega Master System version was also released.
This Video Game contains examples of:
- Beat 'em Up: In some levels, Tracy loses the ability to use his gun and has to rely on his fists to punch enemies out. The game handwaves it by saying he ran out of bullets.
- Big Bad: While there are many gangsters and mobsters involved, Big Boy is the head honcho criminal Tracy is after.
- Boss Battle:
- Round 1: Itchy
- Round 2: The Brow
- Round 3: Lips Manlis
- Round 4: Pruneface
- Round 5: Flattop
- Round 6: Big Boy
- Chase Scene: Stages 2-B, 3-B, and 5-B has Tracy riding on the Police Car en route to his next clue. Enemies drive along the foreground and background trying to gun you down.
- Clockworks Area: Level 6-C Showdown At The Gearhouse is the final stage where Big Boy is fought. Be wary as Big Boy will shoot the gears to get them to drop on top of Tracy.
- Down the Drain: Stage 6-A takes place in a sewer.
- Evil vs. Evil: Big Boy wants to wipe out Lips Manlis, his nearest competition in the city.
- Gangster Land: The general setting.
- Interface Screw: During the boss battle with Flattop. Flattop will periodically cut the lights to prevent the player from seeing him as he shoots them.
- Mob War: Tracy learns that Big Boy wants to get rid of Lips Manlis by blowing up his business with nitroglyerin. Manlis sent the Brow to stop the shipment.
- Rewarding Vandalism: Inverted. Players are rewarded a bonus for not blasting everything in sight with the Tommy Gun.
- Quick Melee: Tracy punches enemies who are close to him instead of using his gun. You are rewarded extra bonus points for doing this.