Bonus – The Video Games of Dick Tracy

Posted 11 years ago by Games


Not only did the Dick Tracy movie spawn all sorts of fun toys, it also had it’s fair share of video games. In 1990, Tracy invaded our homes and our pockets with NES, Sega Master System, and Gameboy games. Most of the time I associate video game nostalgia with the 8 bit era, but when I actually fire up NES games and then play a SNES or Sega game, I wonder why. I always forget how limiting NES games were, with their simple graphics and gameplay. I grew up a hardcore Sega fan.



The Sega version of Dick Tracy was undoubtedly the best of the three. It had the best graphics, music, and gameplay. Still, that’s not saying much, because all you do in these games is shoot people. The cool thing with this one is that you shoot people on two levels. Dudes coming up to you on the sidewalk get shot point blank, while the guys creeping around on the other side of the street get taken out with your Tommy Gun. Nice.

You basically just reek havoc on mobsters and try to avoid dying, but it’s worth it to die a couple times because it looks sweet when you fall to the ground and your hat floats down after you.

And people think video games are violent today? Honestly, what could all of those thugs have done to deserve getting shot in the head one after another? I’m sure when you win the game a newspaper spins up to the screen that says something like, “Dick Tracy Saves Day”, when in reality it would be something more along the lines of:


Regardless, if you want a Dick Tracy game, you’re going to want to stick with the Sega version, because it only gets worse from here.



As expected, the Gameboy version is a little uglier and a lot less fun. I honestly couldn’t stand to play it for very long, but what I saw of it was mainly punching thugs that look like Muppets. Sometimes they crouch down, and you have to crouch down and have a low-punch fight.

It’s also really hard. There’s nothing worse than an old game that is not fun and insanely difficult at the same time. Games like this are what created Angry Video Game Nerds.



The NES version lies somewhere between the other two. It’s not quite as annoying as the Gameboy game, but it’s definitely not as cool as the Sega game. It starts with a top-down perspective of the city as you’re driving around in your car, looking for trouble and avoiding snipers.

If you can figure out what you’re supposed to do, you get to progress to the side-scrolling part of the level, where (surprise) you proceed to shoot people in the head. You think they’d put a little more emphasis on the fact that he is a great detective. There are some clues to be found, but for the most part its just a shoot-em-up.

Don’t worry, there won’t be any more Dick Tracy posts for a while.

  • The NES version is the only I’ve ever played, and I still have it. I know AVGN bashed it, and while it was challenging at times, I enjoyed it overall.

    The driving scenes aren’t *as* bad as he made it seem.