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Video Game / Vice: Project Doom

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Vice: Project Doom is an Action Game developed by Aicom and published by Sammy that was released in 1991 for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

2139 A.D. The world is generally content, with war no longer an issue and national borders all but non-existent. However, while nations no longer engage in war, there's still conflict between criminal organizations, with the situation getting even worse when MegaCorps get involved themselves. For this reason, a worldwide anti-crime network known as VICE has come into being to intercept these conflicts before they get particularly deadly.

You play as Detective Quinn Hart, a member of VICE who intends to stop the BEDA Corporation and its leader, Damian Hawke, from selling a mysterious yet dangerous drug known as Gel (in the Japanese, "just" a specially modified form of cocaine) with the lovely side effect of gradually turning those who use it into bestial horrors. This is one of few NES games that shows its plot through cutscenes (with another notable example being the Ninja Gaiden trilogy games that preceded this). The gameplay itself mostly involves side-scrolling platforming, but there are also two driving stages (you actually start in one) and two shooting gallery-like stages.

Compare The Ultimate Stuntman, another late-release NES action game that switches up its gameplay (albeit that one's unlicensed).

This game provides examples of:

  • Ancient Conspiracy: Damian/Melaney implies as much before and after the battles with him, as well as his reminiscence in the beginning of how he'd come to BEDA thirty years ago. Even though he's apparently the original of Hart and the clone near the Gu-Matonn, BEDA or whatever its original guise was have apparently been in operation for a long time.
  • Bio-Armor: The true nature of the last side-scrolling boss before Damian, the Gu-Matonn Mobile Suit. What's worse is that the Gu-Matonn is the actual combatant, with its wearer/host unconscious during the entire fight. And the luckless wearer was Christy...
  • Bittersweet Ending: Hart succeeds in his mission of stopping BEDA from achieving their evil plans, but in the process, he ends up losing both his girlfriend Christy (whom he had been forced to kill because she was the Gu-Matonn's host) and his old comrade Reese (who was assassinated before he could consider joining back up with Hart). In addition to this, Hart's Evil Doppelgänger, Damian Hawke, warns him during the latter's dying moment that this entire scenario is only a small part of a much bigger threat and the final scene of the game after the credits roll shows that the clone of Damian—and essentially twin of Hart—from the Gu-Matonn's facility is waking up from his suspended animation stasis.
  • Bottomless Pits: Falling off the screen is deadly.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • In the Japanese version, the cutscene following Stage 6 shows the character Reese being shot in the head. The English version leaves out the actual bullet, but there's still an explosive sound that catches Hart's attention, implying an off-screen impact of bullet to skull. In terms of theme, this also applies to how Damian's Motive Rant leaves out Melaney's original Humans Are Morons view and intention to put them under new management.
    • In addition, the English language manual involves a matter of hidden aliens, some malicious members of whom used one of their food sources to begin producing Gel. No such reference in the Japanese manual. Given the gargoyles in Melaney's chamber for his first fight and his One-Winged Angel for the second, it's strongly implied that demons are ultimately behind BEDA.
  • Chinese Vampire: There's some jiangshi hopping around in the early part of the game, essentially foreshadowing that the rumors of Kim Long being a sorcerer are true.
  • Clone Angst: Hart is actually a clone of Damian/Melaney, and there's a second clone, still dormant, in the Gu-Matonn's facility, although Hart doesn't figure the situation out until Damian spells it out. Damian tells Hart that the cloning was done expressly so someone exactly like him could always be around to run BEDA, although it's somewhat ambiguous if Damian is a clone or something similar of someone else. He's only clear that he is as much of a puppet, albeit a willing one, as Hart and his "brother" are destined to be.
  • Collapsing Lair: The keep where Hart fights Damian collapses shortly after the latter's death.
  • Conspicuous Electric Obstacle: Early in the game, the player encounters sparks that travel along wires and surfaces. Then later in the game, the player encounters exposed very visibly electrical cables and even spiky electric bolt emitters that shoot electric bolts at regular intervals.
  • Covers Always Lie: For some reason, Hart looks just like Mel Gibson on the cover. This game has nothing to do with Mel Gibson and Hart looks very different in-game.
  • Cyborg: Jeff Reese proves to be this after he's defeated, the back of his head turned into mechanism that presumably makes it easier for him to utilize the Vardkin armor.
  • Deadly Droplets: In Stage 9, there are sections where purple damaging droplets fall from the ceiling at regular intervals.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Normal enemies explode into four particles upon defeat, while bosses undergo a Post-Defeat Explosion Chain.
  • Distressed Damsel: BEDA kidnaps Christy while Hart is busy in Ricardo. Turns out they needed a host for the Gu-Matonn.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • Quinn Hart was originally Hart Brabham.
    • Christy was originally just Chris, more fully Chris Fawcett.
    • Sophia's family name wasn't included in the English manual. It's Koizumi. Similarly, Reese's given name of Jeff was not included.
    • Damian Hawke was originally Melaney Forer.
  • Duel Boss: Hawke's first phase, which sees Hart and Hawke engage in a 1v1 shootout where Hawke not only has all the same abilities as Hart, but is even better at them. Luckily, he can be baited into standing still and shooting over your head if you duck right after he lands after jumping.
  • Dying Clue: Christy mentions BEDA to Hart just before she dies. Neither he nor Sophia knew who was behind Kim Long and Reese until then.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Hart's former mercenary commander, Jeff Reese, was originally a "war hero", but joined BEDA as a "death merchant" because he no longer had any comfort outside of a war zone. That said, the fact that he apprises Hart of Christy's kidnapping may mean that he thinks involving her, even though she's part of VICE, is beyond the pale.
  • Final Exam Finale: Stages 10 and 11 involve going through every type of gameplay that was established prior (platforming, light gun and shoot 'em up).
  • Flame Spewer Obstacle: Early in the game, there are metal grills that shoot out constant flames. Later in the game, there are green flame emitters instead.
  • Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt: Conveyor belts moving either left or right is a common hazard for the player to navigate. These also move enemies around.
  • Laser Blade: Hart's main weapon, aside from his limited-use gun and grenades. For whatever reason, this was changed to a laser whip in the English translation.
  • Life Meter: The player character and the boss each have a 20-segment lifebar in the bottom-right corner.
  • Locomotive Level: Stage 7-1 takes place on top of a train, with eight layers of scenery scrolling in the background.
  • Meaningful Name: BEDA, from a Russian word meaning "calamity", as in "doom". Given that the original given name of the Big Bad, Melaney, is also Russian (derived from the Greek Melaneus/"become black/dark"; "Forer" seems to be German, with little presence in Russia proper, and probably chosen for playing with Four Is Death), it fits even more securely.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: The first stage, which you complete even before the actual title screen, is essentially just Hart taking out a ridiculously violent truck driver before he can do more harm. Then he sees that the deceased's hand shows signs of becoming that of some beast's forepaw, and has an impossibly-advanced tachyon firearm, resulting in him and Christy getting embroiled in the world domination schemes of BEDA, whose escaped test subject he'd been chasing down back then...
  • Motion Parallax: The train stage is rendered by eight levels of parallax scrolling in the background in order to fully capture the feeling of movement of a train. Since the NES consoles don't have parallax as the default, this was done by means of added software.
  • One-Winged Angel: Damian transforms into a giant, demonic-looking creature for the final battle on the keep's roof. He returns to his human form when he's finally slain.
  • Pesky Pigeons: The purple birds from the South America stage love to dive-bomb you into pits during the tricky platforming segments. You'll probably die getting knocked into pits by them more than any other cause of death combined (though thankfully they and the game as a whole are much more forgiving than Ninja Gaiden).
  • Roaring Rapids: Some levels have water currents that the player must resist against to proceed.
  • Segmented Serpent: The Centipede at the end of Stage 10.
  • Super-Soldier: This seems to be what BEDA is up to. "Recruits" are souped up with Kim Long's cocaine that's apparently enchanted to turn them into beastmen like Paitan, while given top-end weaponry supplied by Reese's factory in Ricardo. If the biological experiments late in the game are anything to go by, their beastman forms aren't the actual end step Damian/Melaney has in mind for them.
  • Timed Mission: Each level has to beaten within a few hundred seconds.
  • Warm-Up Boss:
    • The first vehicle boss in Stage 1-1 doesn't take long to kill and has a predictable attack pattern, with five shots and paired flying cars.
    • The first platforming boss in Stage 2-2, Paitan, attacks by tossing iron beams which you have to jump on or ignore. He can leap to the other side of the screen, but should be no problem to beat with a ranged weapon.