A long time ago, I used to be a child. While I was a child, I lived in a brand-new street with only a handful of finished and inhabited houses in it. One of these homes was right next door to me, and when I wasn’t trespassing on a vacant block and throwing dirt rocks at my siblings, I was there hanging out with the neighbour kid, Shane. Shane was my age but had behavioural development problems, so he’d often be perfectly nice one day but then hit me and tell me I have a small willy the next. Still, we had something in common that transcended all that – our love for the SEGA Mega Drive (Genesis, for anyone in the States). We’d play all of the staples of course, Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Shinobi, but the game that got the most play was a lesser-known one by the name of Two Crude Dudes.
This is the most 90s thing I’ve seen in a while
Described in its advertising at the time as a ‘side-scrolling grab-em-up’, Two Crude Dudes was a Mega Drive port of the arcade game Two Crude. I’m not sure why SEGA opted to add ‘Dudes’ to the title, perhaps they thought the original title’s pun wasn’t cool and edgy enough. Fast forward to today, and a company named Flying Tiger Entertainment is bringing a bunch of old Data East arcade games to the Nintendo Switch and promoting them with Turbo Technologies Inc’s old company mascot, Johnny Turbo. I’m not sure why anyone thought that was a good idea, but here we are. Anyway, the latest in the Johnny Turbo’s Arcade line just happens to be a port Two Crude, the original arcade version, and so it is by way of the Nintendo Switch and a long-standing publisher with a terrible mascot and a bunch of old arcade licenses that I get to relive one of my favourite childhood games. Weird.
Don’t rush me!
Two Crude is a pretty typical (for the time) side-scrolling beat-em-up with two player support and enough early 90s macho edge to put Terminator 2 to shame. The core gimmick that earns the game its ‘grab-em-up’ moniker is in the titular crude dudes’ ability to pick up and throw (or weaponise) objects, parts of the environments, enemies and even the other player. The game was always decent fun solo, but was definitely design to be played with someone else. Beating on the cast of weird, pseudo sci-fi crims and creeps is best done when you can pick up and hurl the other guy at a group in a pinch, knocking them down like fleshy bowling pins. It also makes the level of difficulty much more manageable, this being a port of an arcade game balanced specifically to suck copious amounts of change out of the pockets of exploitable kids.
I don’t really know what’s going on here
The Switch version of Two Crude is by and large a faithful port, with a spate of expected quality-of-life features for modern players. While the game retains its arcade level of challenge, extra credits can be added at any time at the touch of a button, and the game can be saved and loaded at any time from the pause menu. There are also a bunch of visual options to simulate older technologies like CRT panels and VHS video, which is a cute way to add to the nostalgia factor. There’s an option to switch between the original 4:3 aspect ratio and full screen too, although the stretched graphics don’t look great. Above it all though, perhaps the most exciting thing about this version is the potential for portable, tabletop co-op play. Playing the game on the small Switch screen with one Joy Con per player is a great way to play thanks to the simple visuals and control scheme. My only real gripe is that there is a fair amount of slowdown when there are a lot of enemies on screen, though this is likely a holdover from the arcade version, such is the trouble with faithful emulation.
Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Two Crude is the kind of title that would make me completely ignore a game on the Switch’s eShop had I not been familiar with the source material. That goes for the game in general; anyone who played and loved any version of this game in the 90s will get a kick out of smashing and grabbing their way through with an equally nostalgic friend on the go, but those outside of that target audience won’t find much of value here. Now if only Flying Tiger hadn’t chosen to resurrect Johnny Turbo. Seriously, Google that shit.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch | Review code supplied by publisher