Konami's shamelessly sleazy but brilliant brawler Vendetta hits the Arcade Archives


If Cannon Films made video games

This week’s Arcade Archives release from the retro fans over at Hamster is a real game. Getting its first-ever official home port is Konami’s notorious side-scrolling beat-’em-up Crime Fighters 2, better known to most arcade fans as Vendetta.

Released in 1991 as a sequel to the rubbish Crime Fighters, Vendetta is a shameless knock-off of the genre examples that came before it but captures its own amazing identity with gratuitous slapstick violence, jaw-dropping controversy, and shameless, lawsuit-teasing references to pop culture icons. Vendetta tells the sleazy story of street gang The Cobras, protectors of the crime-riddled Dead End City. Local crime boss Faust kidnaps The Cobras lone lady member, “Kate Kutie” in an effort to warn The Cobras off the turf, only to find this act merely ignites a fire in The Cobras, who take to the streets to rescue Kate, free Dead End City city, and bring an end to Faust’s criminal operations once and for all.

Check out the carnage below, in this video from YouTuber RetroHawk.

One to four players choose from The Cobras suspiciously familiar heroes (how Hogan didn’t sue I’ll never know) before battling their way through abandoned piers, a construction rig, warehouses, grocery stores, and even on the back of a speeding truck. A massive variety of punks and scumbags await The Cobras, as do a selection of scuzzy boss characters. There are a metric ton of weapons available, from bricks, bottles, and baseball bats to chains, molotovs, and shotguns. Hell, you can even stick a bucket on a dude’s head. Vendetta also has a bizarre obsession with people getting smashed in the bollocks.

On the more controversial side, the uncensored version of Vendetta featured villainous leather daddies and horny Doberman dogs, both equipped with their own… erm… “unique” attack patterns… Quite honestly, it’s fucking outrageous. While I’m yet to check out this Hamster port personally, there is some testimony online that both the U.S. and Japanese ROMs featured in this release are the censored ROMs.

While there have been many, many brawlers produced over the years, Crime Fighters 2/Vendetta is legitimately one of the best, featuring a plethora of heroes and villains, four-player co-op, fantastic sound design, creative boss battles, intricately detailed stages, and a genuine appetite for destruction. Vendetta might borrow liberally from Final Fight, Double Dragon, pro-wrestling, TV, movies, and many other forms of media, but Konami mixed the ingredients perfectly to create an all-time arcade classic.

Crime Fighters 2/Vendetta is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at around $8.