Johnny Turbo’s Arcade – It’s Spy, Sly Spy

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission.

There have been thousands of arcade games throughout the years. Most of them have faded into obscurity as the decades have passed. Some have found new life through console conversions. Data East produced some of the more unique games from the peak of the arcade era, including many classics that have stood the test of time. Sly Spy is a game that most people probably don’t know, but they should.

Hey isn’t the guy who throws a hat a Bond character? Waaaait a minu…

Let’s address the elephant in the room… this game is a blatant rip-off of James Bond, so much so one imagines that a pending licensing deal must have fallen through at some stage during development. That said, Sly Spy is a fantastic arcade game, with varied levels, a fair challenge, and tons of awesome, not-subtle references to one of the best movie franchises of all time.


Sly Spy starts off with a bang, you select your spy code number, and immediately jump out of a plane, shooting enemies all the way to the ground. From there you’ll travel through a large variety of levels including a motorcycle chase where enemies assail you from jetpacks, an underwater level a la “Thunderball.”

The scuba levels were my favorite in the game.

As usual, Johnny Turbo brings a great presentation to the table. I would like to see them offer a remapping control option in the future. The more excellent ports of arcade games that come to the Switch, the more likely enthusiasts will look into using a fight/arcade controller with those games, and those nearly always need remapping. It’s a minor quibble, however, and not likely to be an issue for most people, but would really capture the attention of the arcade fan.

The sprite-work on Sly Spy especially makes for a nice transition to HD, and the usual array of filters and picture modes are here, as with all Johnny Turbo releases. This is one of the more bright and colorful games in the Data East library, and this conversion makes the visuals pop.

Is that… Jaws? Come on, now, this *had* to be a licensing deal fail.

I own the arcade PCB for Sly Spy, and it was nice to see the music and sound effects recreated so faithfully, as they are often thoughtlessly overlooked when porting arcade boards to home consoles. I commend the Flying Tiger team for their attention to detail here, as the music in this game is great, and this version can easily stand as a near-perfect substitute for the original PCB.


This game can get challenging, with a ton of enemies on screen in the later levels.

Once again, Johnny Turbo has brought another arcade game that borders on the edge of obscure (but bears examination) to the Switch, and to excellent effect. Sly Spy is a title that every fan of 2D arcade gaming should be aware of, and for $7.99 on the US Nintendo eShop, there’s no reason not to snag this colorful, challenging title for your library.

Now, Nintendo, where’s that folder system so I can organize all of my arcade classics?

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Flying Tiger Entertainment, Inc.
Price – $7.99
Genre – Arcade / Shooter / Beat ‘Em Up
Size – 60.8MB

One thought on “Johnny Turbo’s Arcade – It’s Spy, Sly Spy

Leave a Reply