Undercover Cops (アンダーカバーコップス) is a beat'em up arcade game by Irem. It is Irem's first attempt in the modern beat 'em up genre founded by Capcom's Final Fight. Few years later after its release, a lot of the team (artists, programmers, composers, designers, etc.) who made the game went on to form Nazca, who created the Metal Slug game series. The team have also worked on the Hammerin' Harry series, Superior Soldiers, In The Hunt and GunForce 2. In Japan, the game inspired a little-known series of underground comics due its brief popularity.
Players control "city sweepers," who fight crime by beating up thugs. It is notable for its detailed backgrounds and grimy futuristic setting. For its time, it was relatively gory, featuring crow-pecked skeletons in the midst of its urban wastelands or lose a life by being crushed by a garbage compactor during the first boss battle. While the gameplay is inspired by Capcom's Final Fight, some of the enemies are unique. Besides the usual human thugs, players fight strange mole creatures and mutants with jet packs and blades for hands. Players can never use enemy weapons, but the stages contain objects that can be picked up and used instead such as burning oil drums, steel girders, long concrete columns that shatter on impact, boxes of grenades and fish. The characters eat mice, frogs, birds and snails to restore their health (many people in Japanese society eat these for their nutritional value).
- Claude (known in Japan as Zan Takahara (ザン・タカハラ)) - A scruffy former karate master, banned from formal tournaments after killing a man in self-defence. He is similar in effect to Rosa. He has the ability to shoot multiple fireballs.
- Bubba (known in Japan as Matt Gables (マット・ゲーブルズ)) - An ex-gridiron player turned city sweeper after a false accusation of murder. He is the most powerful character, but also the slowest. However, he has the ability to run for a short period of time. Also, he can dive through the ground when he uses his airborne attack.
- Flame (known in Japan as Rosa Felmond (ローザ・フェルモンド)) - A tough blonde female vigilante whose lover was murdered by thugs. She is fast and easy to use. She can send surrounding waves of energy if surrounded by enemies.
- Cue Ball (known in Japan as Parcs (パークス)) - a Terminator-like cyborg. He is the only boss that can be defeated normally or crushed in a garbage compactor.
- Fatso (known in Japan as Fransowors (フランソワーズ)) - an obese, jackhammer-wielding dominatrix. She summons lesser enemies and cries when hit. When her life bar is half-empty, she bawls loudly
- Gunpuncher (known in Japan as Moguralian β (Beta) (モグラリアンβ（ベータ）)) - the heavily-armed leader of the mole creatures who utters simple Japanese phrases. He is armed with a machine gun and explosives.
- Cone Head (known in Japan as Balbarotch (バルバロッチ)) - a crazed carnival freak with a metal claw. He attacks with a wide range of concealed weapons.
- Dr. Crayborn (クレイボーン博士) - a small, bespectacled scientist who turns into a giant monster.
The Japanese arcade version differs from the World version in several respects. The characters have a number of moves not seen in the World version, including dash + jump attacks, up to two different kinds of throws, and a powerful airborne special attack. The backgrounds and graphics are also different, especially at the start of Level Two and the end of Level Three. The music in the Japanese version has a more electronic feel and includes more voice samples. Some enemies carry broken bottles, knives and axes (in the World version these are replaced by planks and clubs). The mole creatures are weaker, taking only one hit to kill. Players' jump attacks do less damage, but their wider range of attacks makes them much more versatile.
Undercover Cops later got a Game Boy spin-off titled Undercover Cops Gaiden: Hakaishin Garumaa (アンダーカバーコップス 破壊神ガルマァ), and a more accurate translation called Undercover Cops Alpha (アンダーカバーコップスα), which retains the details of the original arcade version. Undercover Cops was later ported to the Super Famicom by the company Varie. An American localization was planned, but canceled. The unreleased American version was reviewed in Vol. 58 of Nintendo Power. In the Super Famicom version, the player can adjust the number of lives and credits, as well as the skill setting. However, there is no 2-player mode. Playing "easy" mode only gets the player to the end of the third level. Then the game ends, giving the player a stern message in Japanese, then asking him in English to try the next level (normal). This is followed by the game over screen, just as if they lost the game. Undercover Cops also got it own manga, authorized by Waita Uziga.
The appearance and functions of the police car seen at the end of Undercover Cops exactly resembles the appearance and functions of the tank from Moon Patrol, another arcade game by Irem. The boss from Stage 1 of the first R-Type, also by Irem, can be seen on the screens of some red television sets. Undercover Cops was later advertised on a blimp seen in the arcade flyers of Irem's second modern beat 'em up, Ninja Baseball Bat Man.
- ↑ "Now Playing - March 1994". Nintendo Power (Volume 58): p. 102. March 1994.
- Undercover Cops at Museum of the Game
- Undercover Cops at arcade-history
- 'Undercover Cops' at MobyGamesfr:Undercover Cops