Human beings are strange creatures. As we get old we develop these selective memories, where we weed out all the crap and bad stuff from the past. This is defiantly true of gamers, take a quick look at the popularity of retrogamming nowadays and you'll run across a lot of people who when faced with the latest next-gen PS-360 GTA-Halo clone with graphics that look like a Hollywood movie and gameplay that blows chunks will say shit like "Look at this overhyped underdeveloped buggy hunk of Garbage. They don't make'm like they used to."
No, they don't make'm like they used to. In some cases they make'm better. Take for example Two Crude Dudes. This game in one fell swoop encompasses everything that was embarrassing about the early 1990s. Examine the neon-punk Mohawks, the Oakley-looking Terminator sunglasses, and the garishly clashing wardrobe of our two heroes. Look how ridiculously silly they are. The story here is that you are some type of futuristic vigilante who is trying to rid New York city from mutated cyber gangsters in the year 2020 with your bare hands. Yeah that makes sense. Observe how the levels show some kind of Mad Max-post apocalyptic cityscape because everyone who grew up under the Cold war thought the world was actually going to look like this in the future. Some bad guys even wear what looks like Football shoulder pads, because everyone knows this is the only type of body armor available to all apocalyptic warriors. The graphics are not bad (they're actually quite detailed,) it's the content, the content looks like something out of VH1's Behind the Music. It's cheesy beyond comparison.
If you can look past the garishness and cliches you'll see there actually is a game buried underneath the surface of all this embarrassment. The game is a follow up to Data East's own Bad Dudes, not exactly a sequel, more like a retooling with a little more humor thrown in. Your "Crude Due" (ugh!) can punch, kick, sweep, jump kick, barrel roll, and punch upwards just like in the earlier game. You don't get any weapons but can pick up various objects (rocks, oil drums, crushed up cars, and other enemies) and throw them for good effect. This is accomplished with a button that serves to pick up the objects, which is actually a good idea and makes it a lot easier than in similar games (such as Double Dragon or Final Fight) where you must collide with an enemy until you automatically "grab" them. Here you can grab them with a button press before they even get close and proceed to throw them into walls or other enemies. In two player mode (which was thankfully retained from the arcade) you can even grab your friend and use him as a weapon.
The game has a sense of humor. Your character looks stupid enough, and as you beat down the usual endless stream of bad guys who all shop at the same clothing store little animated bits of onomatopoeia flash by, Krack! and BAM! and such. At the end of each level after you beat the boss your Crude Dude (blagh!) makes a little muscleman pose. There are also little touches of brilliance here and there, like beating up a soda machine to regain energy.
Overall the game isn't half bad, although the pick-up button makes it a bit easy. All one needs to do is get close enough to pick someone up, toss into bad guys, repeat. The same strategy even works with the bosses (which are pretty imaginative.) Difficulty does ramp up significantly in later levels but it's nothing that can't be completed by anyone with mediocre skills. A pretty good game marred with very ugly style and a stupid name.
Graphics: Clear and detailed, although some of the stuff you won't want to see.
Sound: Not too bad, the usual crunches and bangs, not very many voice samples. Levels are punctuated by the usual catchy synth rock music these types of games have, it's decent but it won't have you singing it in the shower or anything.
Gameplay: Thankfully the game is full of side scrolling beat'em-up goodness. Playing with two players can get a little chaotic as you have a tendency to get in each other's way and get nailed too often by friendly fire (which happens mostly in sections where there is no upper level.) A decent follow up to Bad Dudes, although it's hard to improve upon perfection.