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 Afringe Home / Reviews / Police 911 04/23/2014 
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INFO FILE
Title:
Police 911
Format:
Arcade Game
Production:
Konami
Comments:
The best one-player shooting game ever.
Overall Rating:
91%

Animefringe Reviews:
Police 911
By Jake Forbes

In its never ending struggle to make arcade gamers look silly in front of bystanders, Konami has created another winner (after DDR and the rest of the music games): Police 911. The name and the storyline may be as generic as they come, but the gameplay of this innovative new shooter, is nothing short of brilliant. Time Crisis wowed light gun fans a few years back by introducing the dodge petal; it was a great idea, adding a new element of strategy to the tired shooting genre. Police 911 one-ups the foot pedal feature by using motion sensors to have your onscreen character duck and lean as you do, and damn, is it cool.

You really have to play the game to understand how profound this change is. Dodging isn't something you can half-ass your way through; the more you duck or lean, the more your character does. Have you ever watched someone play Dance Dance Revolution who doesn't really get into it who just ignores the music and steps as un-rhythmically as possible because they're afraid they'll look like an idiot (which really makes them look even more stupid than people who try) and ends up failing an easy song? This game is the same. When you drop, you'd better drop fast and pop up just as quick. When you insert your tokens, leave your inhibitions behind.

Movement is crucial in interacting with the environment. If you're hiding behind a big rig, you have to crouch low and lean behind the tire if you're going to get the bad guys. On driving levels, how you lean affects which windows you can see out off and how clear your shot is (the pillar between the windshield and side window gets in your way if you're not careful). Later levels have environmental hazards like speeding cars that will try to knock you out if you don't dodge quickly. It just feels natural and immerses you in the world like no other game.

Vulnerability of enemies is also very realistic here. When you're shooting at cars, hitting the guys in the backseat will save you in the short-term, but hitting the driver will make the car crash. Boss characters are much more human, and can be killed in one shot if you time it right. It's too bad your shots don't register differently if you hit different parts of the body, but since the game moves so quickly, you don't have time to watch enemy animations that carefully anyway.

If there's one place the game fails, it's environmental interaction. There are very few background items you can shoot-no shattering windows, no explosive barrels. The graphics look like blurred photographs, more realistic than 3-D renders, and not as silly as the video captures of some early 90's light gun games. It's a great look, but without animations and interaction, it comes off a little too flat.

Police 911 isn't that difficult a game to survive in, after all, you can hide behind obstacles at any time. The challenge of this game is beating the clock. You start off with a set amount of time (2 minutes, I think) which is constantly ticking down. You get extra time by defeating all of the bad guys in a location, so the quicker you can move along, the farther you'll get. The more conservatively you play, the less likely you are to get very far. If you hide, plan your shot, then pick off one bad guy at a time, you'll run out of time.

You have four lives, which in typical light gun fashion are lost when you get shot or you shoot an innocent bystander. It's hard to die that many times unless you're really careless, so the main problem with getting shot is the 5 seconds of time you lose as you're character falls to the ground and is replaced by a new cop. Enemy bullets act like they're being fired through molasses, moving so slow that they're quite easy to dodge. Later weapons are more dangerous and other hazards can surprise you the first time they appear and take a life before you know what hit you.

Next time you're in an arcade, give Police 911 a chance. Depending on the "jack-itude" of the arcade's prices, expect to pay 4-6 tokens for a game, but as you'll get between 4-6 minutes of gameplay in your first few tries, it's not that bad a deal. Even if you don't usually like light gun games, the movement feature will quickly get you hooked. It's too bad only one player can play at once, but because of the space needed for all the movement, a two player version would have to be huge. Anyway, it's almost more fun to watch this game than it is to play! Move over SEGA: Konami's now the king of arcades.

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