"Vigilante" is a side scrolling 2D beat 'em game that bears a striking resemblance to games such as "China Warrior" and "Kung-Fu Master". While "Vigilante" far surpasses its predecessors in terms of graphics, sound, and playability, it does not include the depth of say "Double Dragon" or "Streets of Rage". "Vigilante" is however a total blast to play, due in no small part to the kitschy '80s feel of the game . "Vigilante" is what "China Warrior" should have been, and what "Kung-Fu Master" aspired to be.
One of the best parts of "Vigilante" is the story. As the Vigilante (the only name the protagonist is referred to), you must save your girlfriend, hilariously named Madonna. The game makes no attempt to disambiguate your girlfriend from the pop star, which is classic because, you know, it's the 80s. To rescue your material girl, you must fight through a lawless and morally corrupt New York City, because, you know, it's the 80s. While making your way through New York City you must defeat various punks and skinheads clad in denim jackets and skin tight pants, because, you know... OK I'll stop, but seriously, it seems this game had a hard time picking an '80s cliché, so instead just opted to utilize all of them. I'm not sure if this game was meant to be tongue in cheek, but that was the way I received it for my review, and the result was I discovered one of the most gut busting, drop dead hilarious games on the Console Classix site.
The Vigilante must make his way through five stages of '80s clichés to reach his beloved Madonna. A gang boss must be defeated at the end of each stage for the Vigilante to progress. The Vigilante attacks with punches, kicks, and weapons. Enemies react differently to different attacks, so pay attention to their reaction, and judge what is the most helpful attack to execute on each enemy. The Vigilante has the ability to pick up weapons, however, when upon being hit the Vigilante will drop his weapon.
Aside from saving Madonna, the player also has the given objective of scoring as many points as possible. Each enemy is worth a different point value. Overcoming several gang members at one time will award the Vigilante the enemies' collective point value. If the Vigilante can accrue 5000 points, then he will earn an extra life
The Vigilante is granted three lives. When all three lives have been lost, the player is given the option to continue. When the player continues, they will restart at the beginning of the last level played. When all three continues have been used, the game is over.
At the top of the screen is the status display. The status display illustrates the player's score, Vigilante energy gauge, enemy energy gauge, high score, lives remaining, and time remaining in the round. The Vigilante has a finite amount of time to finish each level.