Retro Review: Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon

Released: 1992

Platform: Super Nintendo

Publisher: Ocean Software

Developer: Ocean Software

Moving on from the brilliant Terminator game, in this week’s movie tie-in review I decided to take a look at Lethal Weapon on the Super Nintendo. Watch the video below to find out if I really am too old for this shit!

I have enjoyed the Lethal Weapon series since I first watched the original on VHS towards the end of the 80’s. Lethal Weapon was another movie watched at a very young age with my Nan; and it introduced me to the brilliant writing of Shane Black and wonderful performances from Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.

Not only was it a gritty action thriller but it also raised the bar in terms of buddy cop movies, and in turn made Mel Gibson and Danny Glover household names. I think sometimes we forget just how good Gibson is in the first movie. He plays Martin Riggs, a Vietnam veteran and cop on the edge following the premature death of his wife. There is a scene near the start of the movie where he is cleaning his gun and contemplating killing himself. It is such an incredibly tense moment that is made all the better for Mel Gibson’s superb acting! Danny Glover plays family man Roger Murtaugh who is close to retirement and unlucky enough to be partnered with the unhinged Riggs. Lethal Weapon went onto be a big hit at the box office and the rest as they say is history.

Lethal Weapon 2 was another VHS favourite (this time viewed with my Mom) and expanded the story of Riggs and Murtaugh with more action and comedy. It introduced new characters including Joe Pesci as Leo Getz and the gorgeous Patsy Kensit who would play a love interest for Riggs. Some would argue that Lethal Weapon 2 is where the rot starts to set into the series, but for me it is the third where it loses its edge.

Don’t get me wrong I still enjoy Lethal Weapon 3 and 4 and they both have some great moments, but you can definitely tell that they are playing more for laughs and the grittiness that made the characters so special has all but gone. This didn’t stop Lethal Weapon 3 becoming the most financially successful movie of the series taking over $300,000,000 at the box office!

It’s been 20 years since the last Lethal Weapon movie, so it was time to resurrect it for a new generation of television watchers. I know this maybe sacrilege for many and despite my reservations I have to say that I really enjoy the TV show! Yes it is very silly, full of explosions and crazy scenarios, but I think Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayons do a great job playing Riggs and Murtaugh!

Anyway, I can hear you saying “this is a video game review, not a movie review so get on with it you blithering idiot”, but the truth is that Lethal Weapon the game is much less interesting than Lethal Weapon the movie.

Lethal Weapon is a side scrolling platform shooter and not a very good one if I’m completely honest! The game loosely follows the plot of Lethal Weapon 3 where you get to control Riggs and Murtaugh as they fight crime and bad guys. There are 5 missions and interestingly you can tackle the missions in any order, except the fifth mission which can only be unlocked when you have completed the others. I doubt you will have the patience to complete one level let alone five without resisting the urge to smash your face into the television!

My first complaint is that the controls are about as responsive as a sedated sloth which has been running through wet cement…….very slowly! It felt like I was constantly fighting against the controller which made it no fun to play. There is also no real difference between playing with Riggs or Murtaugh except Murtaugh can jump a little higher. Obviously the makers of the game were big fans of the movie White Men Can’t Jump!

I know games were more difficult back in the 80’s and 90’s, but Lethal Weapon is so punishingly difficult I think I would have preferred to be sitting on a toilet filled with explosives! You have limited bullets and even though you can kick, you might as well give up at that point. They say you shouldn’t bring a knife to a gun fight, so imagine bringing a flying kick to a flamethrower fight and there is only going to be one winner.

One of the biggest crimes in the game that had me scratching my head was that you cannot duck and shoot at the same time! You can jump and shoot so why in the mother of all that is holy did they think it would be a good idea to restrict you from the most basic of moves?

The final straw that had me tearing out my hair is the awful platforming and jumping! Not only is it very easy to be knocked off a platform to your death, but there is a section where you have to negotiate jumping over a set of chutes. Just watch the video below to see what I mean, but make sure there are no children around when you do!

Graphically the game is very mediocre and although the main characters resemble Riggs and Murtaugh there is nothing that impresses. There are some digitised stills from the movie but all they achieved was make me want to watch the films instead of playing the game. The music is ok, but again, nothing particularly interesting and it just feels very bland.

Lethal Weapon is a terrible game and one of the worst I’ve played in a long time. My advice would be go and watch the movies, TV show or my gameplay video instead of wasting your time with this drivel.

Graphics – Boring and bland with the all the levels looking the same. The main characters look like Riggs and Murtagh but that’s the least you would expect. 3

Sound – Inoffensive but also completely uninspiring with no particular tune sticking in your head. 2

Playability – Shocking gameplay which is frustrating and no fun to play. The controls are stiff and it feels like you are constantly fighting to achieve the simplest movement. 2

Re-Playability – Even if you can forgive the bland graphics and music, the terrible controls and ridiculously hard gameplay are enough to ensure that I will not be playing this game again. 1

Overall – You would have to be crazier than Riggs to enjoy this game! A terrible waste of a movie licence and a sad way to see Ocean Software go after releasing some belting games. 2

Review by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With)