When NARC first landed in arcades in 1988, it definitely raised a few eyebrows. From Eugene Jarvis, the innovator behind Robotron: 2084 and Defender, NARC was immediately noticed for its high level of violence and controversial subject matter. In this entertaining side scrolling action game, one or two players clean up the mean city streets to take down drug kingpin Mr. Big. Complete with an imposing black cabinet and blood-spattered marquee, the game went all the way with its gruesome aesthetic in a time when video games were often censored and marketed to kids.
Players confiscate contraband and currency in each level that is completed with a character-driven boss battle. All of the criminals and dealers are members of the drug gang K.R.A.K., led by the repulsive Mr. Big. NARC was also notable for its innovation in graphical style. Sporting a higher resolution than most arcade games, it made use of video and photographed sprites, a presentation that would later be popularized with Mortal Kombat. In addition, the game sports some great audio, with recorded speech and screams. Grab a friend and blast your way to the headquarters of Mr. Big – and remember, Winners Don’t Use Drugs!