64th Street – A Detective Story Review

The ‘˜80s and early ‘˜90s were a glorious time for action movies. Cineplexes were crammed full of movies that showed Sly Stallone, Ahnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, J. C. Van Damme, and Steven Seagal bringing the pain to an endless stream of deserving, greasy, long-haired scumbags. Nowadays cheesy one-man-army movies like these are all but extinct.

But don’t despair! Through ports like Double Dragon and 64th Street – A Detective Story, we can relive that kind of righteous violence on our iPhones. In case you missed it the first time around, 64th Street first popped up in arcades in 1991, but a new port brings the exact same arcade beat-’em-up action to your pocket.

I’m sorry sir, but I’m going to break your leg.

In the iPhone version, you can choose to play in Story mode or Survival mode. The only difference between the two is that Story mode lets you continue as many times as you’d like, while Survival mode only gives you one credit (with five lives) to get as far as you can. The game is definitely no cakewalk, so we suggest starting with Story mode.

Beat-’em-ups are all about using your brawling skills to crack skulls, and 64th Street is no exception. Unfortunately, the only buttons you get are jump and attack. They’re enough to let you punch, grapple, jump kick, and do a couple of charged moves, but for the most part you’ll just be mashing the attack button the whole time. You can’t use any mega combos, or learn new moves as you progress. The game is very much what-you-see-is-what-you-get.

Nice day for a seaside brawl.

That would be more palatable if the level designs were interesting. But for the most part you’ll just find yourself walking from left to right, fighting a handful of dudes, and then continuing to the right until you fight the boss of the level. There are a few weapons and health power-ups scattered around, and the environments change, but there’s not much to interact with. Also, the bad guys become more powerful and aggressive as you progress through the five levels, and it becomes fairly challenging even by stage two.

Regardless, the game has appealing retro graphics, and the controls are very tight. And if you pumped quarters into an arcade cabinet to play this game back in the day, you shouldn’t mind dropping a buck on it now. But gamers who don’t remember it fondly might want to look for a brawler with a little more meat on its bones.

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