The 1990’s was a decade that oozed with edginess. From Sonic’s spiky hair and impatient foot-tapping, shows like Beavis and Butthead and Darla, to albums including Dookie by Green Day and Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette, attitude reigned supreme.
Too many companies to count capitalized on this fad, and Data East was no different. Two Crude represents part of the leading edge (no pun intended) of this cultural tsunami, and like many aspects of that era, it hasn’t aged particularly well. Ironically, the reasons for this are mainly rooted in its gameplay, as opposed to its punk-apocalyptic style.
Two Crude (localized from the Japanese title… “Crude Buster”) is a very standard-playing beat ‘em up in the vein of Bad Dudes. I would go as far to suggest this is the 90s to Bad Dudes 80s, and in many ways, it’s an improvement. The sprites are considerably more detailed, and feel more like characters than just enemies, the music is as punk as early 90s arcade hardware could produce, and the gameplay is very smooth. Data East added a pickup/grab/throw mechanic which really gives some variety to the gameplay compared to earlier games.
Flying Tiger Entertainment again provides an excellent port of the original arcade experience. I especially enjoyed using the RGB scanlines display selection on this specific game, as it just reeked of those quintessential 90s arcade experiences of my early teens. I’d still love to see a button-remapping option, but it was less of an issue on this particular game due to the grab button being in the mix, and the beefy, slower character feel really downplayed the need for precise jumping.
The graphics are extremely colorful in a post-apocalyptic-irradiated-mutant way. The saturation on the chromatic spectrum is cranked up, giving each non-earth tone a vibrant, shimmering look. The sprite-work and animation are really something else (if you can get to the big cat boss you’ll see what I mean!), and a significant step up from other Data East games, like Sly Spy.
This progress comes at a cost in Two Crude, however. The slow(er) moving enemy sprites, particularly the bosses, get knocked off screen, sometimes with a single hit, and can take 10-20 seconds to come back on screen, making the already long fights tedious. Another issue that cropped up for me is that enemies can grab, just like you can. That’s fine in other games like TMNT, where you have a lot of room to move in the vertical axis, but in Two Crude, you can get chain grabbed by a swarm of enemies. Break one to immediately get grabbed again, and again, and again, and then die. That brutality in gameplay is absolutely a part of arcade design, but in the case of Two Crude, can frequently extend from “frustrating challenge” to “cheap”, and was an issue even in co-op.
I want to be clear that these issues aren’t the fault of the FTE team, they’re just inherent to the game. These quirks shouldn’t put you off checking out Two Crude, though. Currently, the arcade beat ‘em up ports are few and far between on the Switch eShop, so if you’re a fan of the genre, and especially of the oh-so-edgy 1990’s oeuvre, this one is definitely worth a look at $7.99.
Charlie’s first attempts at gaming did not go well. Repeated, failed run-ins with the first Goomba in Super Mario Brothers 1 plagued his maiden gaming voyage. Undaunted, he would go on to become an avid gamer of all platforms, with Nintendo always sitting atop the highest pedestal. Except for that Halo 3 incident in 2007. We don’t talk about it. It never happened.
Currently, Charlie enjoys playing games on as many platforms as he can get his hands on, with current favorites being the Switch, 3DS and Neo Geo. When he’s not playing games, Charlie is a live sound engineer and manager for his production company, Clear Harmonies, based in Washington, D.C.
Charlie enjoys talking about games nearly as much as playing them, and loves meeting new people, so hit him up!
Plays: All of them games. Seriously.