Ah, nostalgia. It’s interesting reviewing games that were released to support a movie back in the 90s and analyze them not only from the perspective of a movie-induced game, but from a nostalgic perspective that recognizes that a decade and a half has passed since.
On the scale of movie games, Demolition Man does a surprisingly decent job for its era. It takes the approach of trying to pull the player through the movie in Stalone’s shoes. What amused me the most was its ability to generate a small adrenaline burst, even when you’re just looking at a bunch of pixelated masses.
It features two game modes. The first is largely a Flashback-style side scroller, where you just shoot anything that moves and proceed to the right as efficiently as possible. Its main weakness is that the controls are somewhat awkward, and that there are the usual screen-edge repopping of bad guys. The rest is pretty well balanced. It’s somewhat fun to barrel through these stages in a sonic-like manner, and just shoot incessantly.
That brings me to my second praise: the game recognizes that having infinite ammo can actually be a tonne of fun. You basically never stop shooting in the game. Not only does that make the game more fun, but it also lets you get the Stalone Rambo thing going, and have extra fun channeling him. It’s stupid, but in this era, that was something, and it’s still somewhat entertaining. It amused me enough to make me bother to deal with the awkward controls and complete a few stages.
The second game mode is an Ikari Warriors-like top view working through labs. They make it work reasonably well. The controls are unfortunately a bit unresponsive, and enemy repopping is a perpetual pain. If the controls responded better to flick reflexes, it would be fine. As is, the frustration comes from the game not responding to your movements quickly enough. I’m reminded of the lag while playing the original NES Turtles, with the accompanying screen-refresh choppiness. It’s somewhat forgivable. Somewhat.
The game features some traditional trash talking between Stalone and Snipes. And the music gives you a bit of a beat. It’s entertaining if you’ve just seen the movie, reliving some of the post-apocalyptic visions of the 90s.
Verdict: Demolition Man managed to not wholly suck. That’s saying a lot for games that came out to support movies and were released in the 90s. You could pick it up and play for a few stages and have a good time. It won’t sustain you for more than that, but for a couple of bucks at a garage sale, picking it up could be worth the nostalgia.