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Video Game / Lethal Enforcers

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Criminal: Eat lead, Copper!
Hostage: Don't shoot!
You'll be hearing these words a lot.

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-wielding triads 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 (1992) (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 Rerelease for the PlayStation.

There is also a spin-off series called Police 911 (The Keisatsukan in Japan and Asia), 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 motion tracker as you can physically move your body to dodge 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:

The first game contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The player character is a police officer named Don Marshall and the game is set in Chicago, Illinois.
  • 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.
  • Car Chase Shoot-Out: The first and fourth levels have the player(s) taking on escaped bank robbers and drug dealers, respectively, in a car chase while firing at enemies periodically sticking themselves out to shoot at the players. Both levels culminate in a boss battle, respectively against a rocket-launcher wielding boss on an armored car and a helicopter whose side-turret spams missiles on the players.
  • 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.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Be on guard for mooks who pop up armed and who do something along the lines of screaming "DON'T SHOOT!".
  • 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.
  • Pink Is Feminine: The cabinet art for the first game shows a female cop in a pink tank top as Don Marshall’s partner.
  • 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! Downplayed in that second players can still join in should things go downhill for you after continuing for the final time in a particular playthrough, so you'd better count on them.
  • Puzzle Boss: The chemical plant boss' helicopter will effortlessly tank every single round you put into the fuselage until you first destroy the numerous guns and missile pods on each stabilizer wing, at which point a life meter appears and you can finally start doing damage to the pilot.
  • 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 game as a whole was inspired by the Dirty Harry franchise, right down to the title screen resembling the opening titles to Magnum Force. The game also features the famous .44 Magnum sound effect from the films for the player's default gun.
    • Near the end of the Drug Dealers level, an enemy resembling a T-800 is fought.
  • 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:

The 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.
  • Buddy Cop Show: The "Rival Heat" stage, which has two rival detectives teaming up to take down the Gokudo-kai.
  • 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.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: At one point, you’ll play as operators from Special Investigation Team (SIT) and Special Assault Team (SAT) tactical teams.
  • Far East Asian Terrorists: The villains of "Airport 2004".
  • Forklift Fu: Akihito Kawanishi attacks the player using one in "Coast Intruders".
  • 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.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: The main villains of "Airport 2004".
  • Rogue Soldier: The rogue JGSDF soldiers in "Lethal Enforcers 3" after they raid the Diet building.
  • Take Cover!: Point the gun away from the screen to raise your shield.
  • Title Drop: The final mission in both versions.
  • Timed Mission: The game runs on a strict timer. Once it reaches zero, you lose all lives and continuing will demote you back to the lowest rank.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: The main villains of "Coast Intruders" are the Dragonheads.
  • Yakuza: Your opponents in "Rival Heat", who are actually Gokudou-kai members.

"Situation under control, Unit 5 out."