Lethal Enforcers is a 1992 Light Gun Game by Konami in which you are a police officer trying to take out criminals and terrorists. Shooting the bad guys will increase your rank, which is needed to get through the stages, but killing any innocent bystanders or police officers in the process will reduce your rank instead. There are five missions to complete in the game, each ending with a Boss Battle. The Bank Robbery, in which you must stop bank robbers from escaping and stealing the money, Chinatown Assault, in which you must battle The Triads and the Tongs as well as Chinese Knife Nuts that have overrun Chinatown, The Hijack, in which you must prevent a general and his group of terrorists from taking a plane and escaping, The Drug Dealers, where you must stop the bad guys from selling drugs to innocent people, and The Chemical Plant, where you must stop terrorists from sabotaging a chemical plant to poison the water supply.
Among the light gun games that filled the arcades, Lethal Enforcers stood out as the first to use Digitized Sprites, specifically based on photographs of live actors and locales, giving the game a photorealistic (if pixelated) appearance. Combined with violent gameplay, like the similar use in Mortal Kombat (albeit without the famous blood and gore), this resulted in controversy.
In 1994, Konami released a sequel, Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters (called Lethal Enforcers II: The Western in Japan). While the previous game was set in modern times, this game changes the setting to The Wild West. The gameplay is the same, only now you fight outlaws in Old West settings such as a saloon and a stagecoach holdup.
Home ports of both games were released for the Sega Genesis, Sega CD and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (first game only) bundled with the Justifier light gun. These were followed by a Compilation Re-release for the PlayStation.
There is also a spin-off series called Police 911, also a sequel to the first game and is set in Japan. In these games, you race through each stage, clearing out enemies in the High-Speed Battle in order to reach the Cat-and-Mouse Boss stage, while using a Time Crisis-style cover system to avoid enemy gunfire. You are tasked to tracking down an international Yakuza group named Gokudou-kai.
Lethal Enforcers 3 was released in 2005 for arcades only, and plays completely different from its predecessors (but similar to the Police 911 spinoff). This is because it is actually the localization of Seigi no Hero ("Heroes of Justice"), the Spiritual Successor to the Police 911 spinoff. The game plays like a mix between a gun game and a racing game; you and an opponent race through each stage, clearing out enemies in order to reach the goal before the other player, while using a Time Crisis-style cover system to avoid enemy gunfire.
The series as a whole contains examples of:
- Bloodless Carnage: A slash mark appears on the screen when a blade hits you, but otherwise no blood is shed.
- Compilation Re-release: Lethal Enforcers I & II for the PlayStation.
- Instant Death Bullet: Every shot fired by the player will kill a mook instantly. In the third game, this applies to bosses as well.
- Police Are Useless: Every cop except you. While other officers will show up to provide "backup", they don't actually help you at all and really do nothing except provide more innocent targets that player has to avoid shooting by mistake.
- Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: The cover art of the first◊ two◊ games.
The first game contains examples of:
- Bank Robbery: The first stage of the game requires you to put a stop to this.
- Battle Amongst the Flames: Before the Final Boss battle in the Chemical Plant, an explosion occurs and the area darkens with flames in the background, forcing you to put on your night vision goggles while you shoot at the terrorists and tanks.
- Behind the Black: Mooks, especially knife mooks, will emerge right on top of you, no matter how well you watch your position.
- Blatant Burglar: Per the North American version of the trope, all the bank robbers wear black clothing and balaclavas.
- Bowdlerise: Stage 4, "The Drug Dealer," becomes "The Gunrunners" in the Super NES port. It also removes all references to Chinatown in "Chinatown Assault," with the title becoming "Downtown Assault" and the "China Inn" renamed to simply "Restaurant." Most oddly, no one flinches from any shot. Enemies will simply blink away in the frame of animation you shot them on; and hostages will be unharmed, but the game will throw a "Caution!" message on the screen and take away a life.
- Card-Carrying Villain: The Stage 2 boss has a kanji which means "villain". Also doubles as Bilingual Bonus.
- Dark Action Girl: Plenty of female criminals will try to put a bullet through you. You must shoot them.
- Digitized Sprites: The first Light Gun Game to use them.
- Dual Wielding: The Stage 2 boss has an infinite supply of swords to dual wield and throw at you.
- Dynamic Difficulty: When the game begins, enemies will take around three seconds to shoot. The longer you go without losing a life, however, the less time they wait before shooting, until you have to have superhuman reflexes to take them out. Losing a life will reset it back to normal. The game will also become tougher, with extra enemies showing up, if you play with two players.
- Everything Fades: Enemies flinch and blink out of existence when shot. Hostages simply vanish a few seconds after being shot, but not before the game admonishes and punishes you for shooting them.
- Friendly Local Chinatown: The not-so-friendly setting of Stage 2 (Chinatown Assault).
- Gameplay Grading: From "Patrolman" to "Commander." Being a good shot will raise your rank, but shooting innocents will lower it.
- Gas Mask Mooks: The terrorists in the Chemical Plant wear NBC/hazmat equipment, complete with gas masks.
- Grenade Launcher: You can pick one up in Stage 3; it has a wide blast range and (like the below-mentioned Magnum) can shoot enemies through their cover. However, it cannot be reloaded; once you're out of ammo, you revert to your default revolver.
- Guns Akimbo: You can do this with both guns—if you're good enough.
- Hand Cannon: The Magnum, which allows you to shoot enemies through their cover.
- Hostage Spirit Link: One of the Trope Codifiers; shooting an innocent will cost you one life.
- Knife Nut: You'll fight lots of 'em in the second stage.
- Macross Missile Massacre: On the hardest difficulty, the Final Boss in the Chemical Plant Sabotage mission will launch more missiles at you to shoot at.
- More Dakka: The assault rifle (with a three-round burst) and machine gun, which will cause most mooks in the arcade version to flinch from each shot. If you're fast on the trigger, you can replicate this with your revolver and shotgun.
- The bonus at the end of a level is based on how many hits you've landed, too, meaning that applying this trope is the quickest path to a 1-Up.
- Night-Vision Goggles: You throw these on in Stage 5 (The Chemical Plant) when the power goes out near the end.
- Parrying Bullets: The Stage 2 boss can block bullets with his swords, but not always.
- Point of No Continues: No matter if you have lots of coins handy, even the Arcade version can limit the number of times you can continue per playtrough!
- Red Shirt:
- During the opening montage for stage 2 ("Chinatown/Downtown Assault"), a police officer is shown being shot to death. This gets censored in the console ports, though.
- It's implied that another police officer is shot and killed during the opening montage for stage 4 ("The Drug Dealer/The Gunrunners").
- Rewarding Vandalism: Given you are in the middle of a ferocious firefight. You can still deliberately shoot surveillance cameras, glass windows, car fenders, etc. and uncover gun power-ups.
- Sequential Boss: The Final Boss. After you take out the helicopter's machine guns, missiles, and rockets, the pilot will take you on personally using a handgun.
- Shooting Gallery: The bonus stage.
- Shoot the Bullet: The basic premise of surviving boss battles. You can also shoot any Mooks' thrown weapons.
- Shout-Out: The title screen◊ resembles the opening titles◊ to the Dirty Harry movie Magnum Force. The game also features the famous .44 Magnum sound effect from the films.
- Sunglasses at Night: If they're not wearing masks, the enemies are wearing sunglasses, even indoors.
- The Triads and the Tongs: You're fighting them in the second stage.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The Stage 2 boss attacks this way, and it does Always Work unless you shoot the swords out of the air.
- Western Terrorists: The last stage has you fighting against these.
- What the Hell, Player?: The game will call you out if you shoot several innocent bystanders or fellow cops with comments such as "What are you doing?!" and "Concentrate, man!"
- Wraparound Background: Present in Stage 1 and 4's car chases and the subway train battle in Stage 2. The chase in Stage 1 (The Bank Robbery) takes place on a seemingly never-ending block with "a lot of National Rubber Stamp Co.'s," as noted by The Angry Video Game Nerd while reviewing the Sega CD version.
This second game contains examples of:
- Bad-Guy Bar: The location of the aptly named Saloon Showdown.
- Bank Robbery: You start off having to stop one in the Old West, too.
- BFG: The player can pick up cannons and use them as a personal firearm, which acts like the Grenade Launcher from the previous game. Just like before, however, it cannot be reloaded; run out of cannonballs and it's back to the revolver.
- Dark Action Girl: Just like the first game, female gunslingers are out for your hide.
- Dynamic Difficulty: Same as the previous game, but even more punishing than before.
- Everything Fades: As in the first game.
- Gameplay Grading: From "Posse" to "U.S. Marshall," working much like the previous game.
- Gatling Good: The old west style hand cranked version is available.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The mastermind of the outlaws is a necromantic Native American shaman.
- Guns Akimbo: The double rig allows Dual Wielding six-shooters. You can also try playing with both guns if you're good enough.
- Homage: The Spaghetti Western genre.
- Hostage Spirit Link: Shooting innocent folks deducts a life just as before.
- I Surrender, Suckers: Beware, some outlaws will pretend to give up but are still hostile.
- Magical Native American: The above-mentioned final boss, who casts fireballs and raises the dead to fight for him ("Arise, my friends!").
- Market-Based Title: It's called Lethal Enforcers II: The Western in Japan.
- Posse: Your starting rank.
- Quick Draw: The boss fight in Stage 3 is this trope versus three gunslingers at the same time. If you have two players, however, you have to deal with six gunslingers.
- The Savage Indian: Some of the enemies in Stage 2 are this type; their arrows must be shot out of the air before they hit you.
- The Sheriff: The player character is one. Available as a rank.
- Shoot the Bullet: As with the previous game.
- Showdown at High Noon: Averted, the boss battle of the third stage is a one-draw duel against three gunslingers, where the sky is visibly dark implying nighttime.
- Spiritual Successor: The Darker and Edgier first-person shooter version of Konami's earlier sh'mup Sunset Riders.
- Stripped to the Bone: Upon defeating the Magical Native American final boss, he deteriorates into nothing but a pile of bones.
- Throw a Barrel at It: The Stage 2 boss attacks this way.
- Throw Down the Bomblet: The Stage 4 boss throws bundles of dynamite as his weapon.
- What the Hell, Player?: Shooting the gunslingers during the Showdown at High Noon boss battle in the third stage before they draw will prompt the gunslingers to say, "I said you can't shoot 'til we draw!"
This third game contains examples of:
- Art Shift: While all the other scenarios have standard intro sequences, "Justice and Judgment" begins with an anime-style intro.
- Battle in the Rain: The Boss Battle in "Justice and Judgment" takes place in a thunderstorm.
- Big Bad: Yoshiki Tokita, the leader of the rogue JGSDF troops in the final mission.
- Bilingual Bonus: The game is entirely in Japanese.
- Dolled-Up Installment: This was originally Seigi no Hero, a Spiritual Successor to Police 911.
- Dub Name Change: Mission titles. "Justice and Judgement" is actually "Lethal Enforcers 3" in Japanese version.
- Genre Shift: The game doubles as a Racing Game, since you're trying to beat your opponent to the next checkpoint by taking out enemies who are slowing your progress down.
- Far East Asian Terrorists: The villains of "Airport 2004" and the rogue JGSDF soldiers in "Lethal Enforcers 3".
- Hostage Spirit Link: Averted; shooting innocents won't lose you a life, but it'll cost you your rank.Newspaper headline: "(victim occupation) shot by mistake"
- Market-Based Title: As mentioned above, the original title was Seigi no Hero ("Heroes of Justice"); "Lethal Enforcers 3" was the original name of the "Justice and Judgment" level. "Cops in the City" was also originally labeled as part of The Keisatsukan, the Japanese version of Police 911.
- Middle Eastern Terrorists: The main villains of "Justice and Judgment", who take over a nuclear plant, with their leader resembling Osama bin Laden. The JGSDF is sent in to take the plant back from the terrorists.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The boss in "Justice and Judgment" is basically Osama bin Laden with an eyepatch.
- Take Cover!: Point the gun away from the screen to raise your shield.
- Title Drop: The final mission in both versions.
- Yakuza: Your opponents in "Rival Heat", who are actually Gokudou-kai members.