Tales Of The Arcade – NARC
We’ve seen the uproar against the Grand Theft Auto series, the disgust surrounding Mortal Kombat on consoles, and plenty of other instances. Well, for some reason this censorship rarely ever found its way into the arcades of old. Games of all types of content managed to picture tube their way into the hearts of token toting kids for quite some time. Whether it was slightly inappropriate female jiggle animation or just flat out blood and guts on the screen, the arcades of old contained all types of nearly “R-Rated” content games.
Arcades were the nerdy teenage hang-out hub of every local mall across the country for years until the console craze began to take over the scene in the 90’s. These dark and chaotically loud dens of quarter hoarding are the focus of what I like the call Tales Of The Arcade!
Today, we take a look back at one of my favorite side-scrolling shooters of all time, NARC. Back when the use of photo realistic characters on a 2-side scrolling game were a thing (think Pit Fighter and the like) NARC seemed to stand out like a king amongst kings. You could walk into any loud arcade and easily pick out the sounds of NARC overpowering the beeps, boops, and booms of the rest of the crowd. The digitized sound design was extremely memorable but the game as a whole was a legendary masterstroke of quarter gulping adventure!
Your digitized policemen look like the old school origins of Red Vs. Blue Halo videos as they wear these outlandish red and blue get-ups with matching helmets covered with a huge black face-mask. No, you never saw your own face but your iconic machine gun toting walk certainly proved you could hold your pee under the hectic drug busting action. The name of this wacked out game was certainly ‘over the top’ as the designer of such games like Defender and Smash TV, Eugene Jarvis, brought junkie after, prostitute, after mutant bug after you in swarms that you wouldn’t believe.
I mean, man. Mr. Big must have had his cloning machine on overdrive on this one!
Probably the most memorable thing about this game was the odd enemies you fight and their names. There was the prostitute stealing clown Kinky Pinky, the ogre-like Joe Rockhead, Dr. Spike Rush, AKA “The Hypoman” and his hypodermic needle attack, the mullet mounted Sergeant Skyhigh, as well as a few others.
As you transitioned from stage to stage, a ridiculously loud sequence would occur where your copper would use the NARC 2000 computer. A keypad would appear and be pressed on screen to display your next drug lord target. Their picture would come up with a short audio and their name and off you go! The sound effect to this was iconic and quite memorable for the time. LET’S GO!
The big honcho Mr. Big is the real deal kind of boss though. After battling this armed wheel-chaired drug kingpin, you must defeat probably the most ridiculous boss ever…. Mecha Mr. Big! Looking like he was straight out of Smash TV, this huge head must be blasted apart in the midst of fire, shooting tongues at you, and a lunging skull attack. It is super gross looking and certainly a worthy boss battle to be witnessed. I remember kids being crowded all around NARC as whomever it was reached the final stage just to see this boss go to work.
As with most games in the arcade, the end game boss battles were typically a big draw. Since everyone didn’t have the money to do a straight play through of most games, the only way to see it beaten was to wait around until you saw someone else doing it! This was back in the day when a good gamer was considered someone who had the reflexes to dodge insane amounts of bullets and enemies on the screen to somehow come out unscathed. Oh how times have changed!