The bombs fell in New York back in 2010 and turned the once prosperous metropolis into a nightmarish radioactive junkyard. It is now the year 2030 and the U.S government has decided to take back the city from the criminal ‘Big Valley’ gang of freakish mutants. But with the Bad Dudes now well into their 60s and Snake Plissken out of copyright reach, who are you gonna call? A couple of guys who would not look out of place in a WWF ring in the '80s, of course: enter Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Two Crude Dudes.
Despite never having reached the popularity of Bad Dudes, this game is the closest we ever got to a proper sequel. It's also incredible that both games were just two years apart when you consider their graphics; Two Crude features big, detailed and colourful sprites along with some intricate scenarios (and even a few neat graphical effects as seen in the snow and tornado levels). Quite a decent amount of sampled speech helps to flesh out the zany humour further. It completely nails the '90s arcade salon vibe in a single package.
Gameplay is very similar to Bad Dudes; one button is used to bash people/mutants into submission (now allowing you to hit straight up as well) while a second button allows you to jump, switch from the upper or lower plane and even do a handy dodge roll along the floor by hitting it while aiming diagonally down. But it's the magical third button that sets this one apart from not only Bad Dudes but the entire genre: the grab button!
Pretty much anything you see in the levels that isn't nailed down to the ground can be grabbed and used as a melee or impromptu throwing weapon. Enemies are also there to be grabbed and can be unwillingly thrown back at their colleagues. It's hard not to be impressed when your dude lifts up a whole tank and sends it smashing back to the ground for explosive consequences. If you’re playing with a friend and there is nothing else to grab, you can just grab them and use them as a ranged weapon. Just make sure you apologise afterwards and ensure it was just an accident despite being the twentieth or so time it happens.
The game throws six levels at you, longer and more feature packed than Bad Dudes along with outrageous mutated bosses. It's an enjoyable romp alone, but it shines brightest with a friend along for the ride. As previously mentioned, the graphics are nicely detailed, the soundtrack offers some memorable tunes, sound effects are appropriately meaty and the speech samples wrap things up nicely. Both your characters and the Big Valley gang crew designs could have lifted straight from Fist of the North Star and no one would bat an eye.
Johnny Turbo’s emulation wrapper once again falls sadly short of the competition's offerings by having just a few graphics filters and aspect ratio options, once again keeping the all-important DIP switch settings locked away from the player. Bilinear filtering is also always on, so those looking for a sharp, pixelated experience will not find one here.
Two Crude is one of the funniest grab-'em-ups ever made and 27 years later nothing has diluted the insane '90s colourful vibe in this package. Data East once more succeeded in adapting popular culture into a video game that ends up being more than the mere sum of its parts. Grab a friend and have no fear plunging into a fun-filled half an hour of pure arcade entertainment. Just make sure it looks like an accident every time you toss your partner around.