So, I got this review unit for Undercover Cops CE months after the product was out of the zeitgeist. They found it and asked if I’d like to cover it and I was much obliged. I thought they were crazy to send it over to me months after its release. And yet, as I was going through the motions of recording the video, it hit me. Even though I was covering a product that had already come out, I realized that it helped keep the brand alive. I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment helping bring up this product again. Maybe some people didn’t see it months ago and will be introduced to it now. Who knows? Now, this review will be over the product itself and not the game. I usually review the games, but I want to save that for another time. Today is just over the hardware, let’s dig in!
‘It’s 2043 and crime has taken over the city in this post-apocalyptic world. The mayor appoints the City Sweepers, disguised as Undercover Cops, to take out the villains, and now it’s up to you to choose between Zan Takahara, Matt Gables, or Rosa Felmond and fight against strange creatures to find out what the Marenko Corporation is up to!
Fight your way past 5 bosses and multiple mutated enemies until you meet Dr. Crayborn himself! Beat him to prevent his plan to bomb the city, and bring safety to NYC! Fail, and not only will the city be destroyed, but your licenses will be revoked.’
- ‘Mutant SNES® Cartridge
- Hard-embossed City Sweeper Packaging and Outer Slipcover with Exclusive Artwork
- SNES® Collectible Cartridge Box
- Full-Colored Instruction Manual
- City Sweepers Edition Sticker Set
- Certificate of Authenticity
- Rosa Felmonde Vinyl Figure
- Exclusive Double-Sided Poster
- Identification Profile Cards with Envelope
- Crazy Chicken Acrylic Keychain’
- Add-ons. Let’s just start with the fun out of the gate. We’re going to list everything that you will find in this boxset, in-depth. This is not just for those who didn’t watch my unboxing video. This is also for those who did watch it. I need to put the finest point that I can on how much stuff was in the release so you can see what you’re missing out on! Let’s start from the outside of the box and work our way in.
- The outside most portion of the box is a clear protective sleeve. It’s held shut with a sticker on the top and the bottom. The sticker features a rooster looking very agitated. Likely a reference to the game…? I think so!
- Just inside of that large protective box is a slipcover. The slipcover is adorned with faux bricks, printed onto it. There is an empty space on the front as if a wall was broken through. There are faces peeking through, naturally. Just below that is the Undercover Cops logo.
- Let’s slip off the slipcover now. Underneath that is what appears to be a metal shipping container or crate. You’ll likely find these bad boys in the background of the game whilst playing. It looks grizzled and chewed up and it features print on the side. On the very front of it are the faces that were peaking through the brick wall slipcover. The logo again adorns just underneath their faces.
- You can now open that crate box to find a black shoebox-type box. Pull it out and remove the lid off of it. The box itself is not necessarily a fun appendage to the boxset. It is, however, very nice and matte and is structurally sound.
- Now you’ve opened the box. You’ll immediately see a number of things. Let’s start with the fact that at one end is the rooster keychain. It’s a big boy, don’t be intimidated by it. It does come complete with the actual keyring to connect it to your keys.
- Next to that is a figure box. If you face it toward you, you’ll see a cute Rosa figure inside. She is one of the three playable characters within Undercover Cops. Feel free to watch the unboxing video to see my thoughts on her.
- There is an envelope underneath that. Within the envelope, you can find many things. First off, you’ll find your certificate of authenticity. It explains the number out of 3,000 that your boxset is.
- Staying within the envelope, one will find the three character cards. They explain the characters’ names, stats, backstory. All of this likely is on the attract screen on the game as well.
- My favorite item that is found within the envelope is, you guessed it, stickers. There are stickers of sprites, there are stickers of concept art, there is a logo sticker too!
- Underneath the envelope, you’ll see the game. The game box itself. This has also been sold as the “Standard Version” of the game. You’ll get the same items within even if you only buy the standard. But yeah, you get a nice decorative, small, horizontal cardboard display box (like Super Famicom games).
- Inside of that cardboard box is also the manual. This bad boy is full color and goes into a lot of depth. I was honestly surprised at the thickness of it!
- Next, for the poster aficionados, you’ll find a large double-sided poster within the envelope. Each side features a different kind of promotional art for the game.
- Lastly, is the game itself. It is in a transparent orange shell. It’s aptly called the “mutant” cartridge and I am incredibly in love with it. The orange of the cart against the purple of the North American SNES is magical.
- Typos? Dude, Retro-Bit, I don’t even know how to discuss this. Is her last name Felmond? It could be, and it does sound ultra Anglo. Or is her last name Felmonde which sounds super Spanish? Someone out there must know the correct last name for Rosa. I would think that her last name is Felmonde. Rosa Felmonde sounds very Spanish indeed. However, I only saw that spelling once and I was super confused by the whole thing. I’ve never seen typos on products before, so I’m not sure that it is one. Maybe it’s intentional to match promotional verbiage of the time. Maybe they’re taking the charm from the old Japanese arcades and making sure those who know what to look for see it. But for the rest of us, it seems like a glaring mistake. Surely someone knows!
- Packing. This one is a doozy. It’s both a pro and a con. Who doesn’t love packing on their gaming products? We all love a good clear sticker pull, it’s so satisfying. And who doesn’t love protective box covers on their gaming hardware so as to prevent scratching and scuffing of the color? Well, it just so happens that this packing was overdone and tremendously so. I’ve never, even with blister packing, had to take over 10 minutes trying to open it. It was so incredibly over-engineered to protect that it practically kept me out. I saw some other YouTube videos where they also struggled to get it disassembled. What’s worse is that you risk hurting it if you don’t know how to open it. The only upshot here is that mostly only opened copies on eBay exist, so you should be fine. If you’re buying it sealed, you are unlikely to open it yourself anyhow.
Oh and we’re not done yet. First off, I understand the whole use of cardboard for the SNES games. I get that you want to make it feel like the ’90s. I will not forget this, but I will forgive it (unless it keeps happening). My gripe is not about that when it comes to the game cartridge. It’s about the fact that the cardboard box itself is in plastic wrap. And then you finally get that off, hopefully without scratching or scraping the cardboard. Then you slide the insert holding the game out and it too has plastic around it. Is the plastic the same? No, it couldn’t possibly be.
The plastic around the actual game just has to be another kind of sleeve. This one around the game comes with a sticky, resealable end. Why couldn’t there have just been only one of those and that be the external one? What a weird use of plastic overall, especially on a planet that needs to be taken care of? We can have a healthy Earth and express our love of retro games. There can be a balance struck.Look, I have liked the packing on previous releases to this. They were just as protective but easy to open as well as put back together. Let’s go back to less plastic and incorporate more thoughtful packing.
- Build Quality. How brazen of these guys to include acrylic in the set? It’s notorious for scratching and coming unglued and being ugly with age. They even went further and made the acrylic keychain large as hell! I applaud their gusto when it comes to the oversized acrylic keychain. It takes some serious balls to make a keychain of a…um…rooster.
Getting your hands on the printed materials such as the poster, the character cards, the stickers, you’ll see they all feel fantastic. These aren’t just printed on base 65# cardstock (176 gsm) and then laminated. Retro-Bit does what they always do and puts out great printed materials. I would in fact love to use the stickers and put up the poster, but the collector in me will absolutely not let me do that.
The cartridge and its subsequent PCB inside are undoubtedly solid. I know I’ve hit this one over the head countless times, so I’ll be brief. The plastic is beautiful in the light and holds its own against the physical testing that I put it through. The PCB is from somewhere that I’m unsure of, but it’s a low-profile board. I don’t know if it is something that they make in-house or source from Infinite New Lives, but it’s simple and gets the job done.
Now let’s talk about the danger in the box. You already know where I’m going with this if you saw my unboxing video. Someone needs to explain where there are no less than 8 dangerous points on the back of Rosa’s head. I actually mean they could truly draw blood. I’m very serious when I say that with little to no force they could put out an eye. There’s simply no reason that in the world of figures that we need to have a vinyl so hard that it can hurt people. If it had a warning of pointed edges on the box, maybe. But the hair should be soft, harmless, and as soft as TPU. This was a relatively large overengineering faux pas especially since your demographic have small children.
- Deep Cut. Can we talk about the history of this game for a moment? As the author, I feel as though I have a responsibility to explain why this game is being remade. If you want to read the entire history, just click here. But I will be brief and whip out the main points so that you can understand the importance. Back in 1992, Irem published an arcade game for Japanese arcade halls. The game was a beat em up, in the same vein as the heavy hitters (Streets of Rage, Double Dragon, Final Fight, etc). Their title, Undercover Cops, featured just that but ~50 years later, in 2043.
The game’s world was perceivably darker and the game was a bit gorier, especially for its time and for kids to see. But, the game was popular enough for them to try their hand at a home port. 3 years later, the world saw Undercover Cops make it to the Super Famicom system in Japan. The port was done by Varie and features some cuts so that it works on home consoles. From animations to characters’ moves, this version was notably reduced. Still, the Japanese arcade remained popular enough on the home version that a Western version was created. They translated the entire thing and it was even mentioned in a Nintendo Power magazine. The version never came out in Western markets for one reason or another.
I wanted to really pat the backs of the team(s) involved with bringing this out to a Western market in 2021. The importance of a game that had the intention of being released internationally cannot be understated. We have to assume that at the time that money was a potential reason for deciding to cancel the international release. According to Nintendo Power, it was supposed to be released in March of 1993 on Super Nintendo. The Japanese release happened in 1995 and that means that the home release of this game was marred with issues. Do I need to say it again? This. Release. Is. Important.
- Limited. Now what an inspirational segway to talk about something that is a con. I don’t want to discuss it, but it really is the largest bummer overall. I’m willing to bet other people are also bummed. There have to be way more people that wanted this CE box set. Why does it have to be so limited? I understand quite clearly that it is a collector’s edition. I also understand supply chain issues and stuck ships cause delays. What I’m driving at is that maybe in this time, we increase the number of items available. Maybe instead of 3,000, you could do 5,000 of it available.
We should see more people being able to partake in retro gaming, not the same amount or less. This should not be a time to worry about a bottom dollar, but to raise up fellow gamers. In addition to that, I think that review copies should just be unnumbered extra stock. Or near-complete prototypes so that we can share what is in these box sets. Don’t send us numbered stock, it seems to defeat the purpose. I’m grateful to be where I’m at, but I’m saddened to know someone could’ve bought this brand new and sealed if they wanted.
I’m incredibly grateful that these hardware rereleases just keep coming. I understand that they are not original run game carts and as such, they’re not near as valuable on the market. But these are for fans, not resellers. These also have great add-ins that the original releases didn’t have. So it’s a trade-off either way.
Should you go with the original, first run of a rare Japanese-only game? Or should you go with a modern release that is guaranteed to work, has fun, extra goodies, is easy to find, all in English, and is more affordable? Furthermore, it’s probably pretty unlikely that you’re buying the game for its nostalgia as we did not receive it in Western markets. Should you get the full Japanese beat em up experience with a rounded cartridge to run on your imported Super Famicom? Or do you go with the release that comes complete with (potential) typos, too much packing, and a dangerous toy inside?
I would think that most of you are buying this game so you can get your hands on an officially licensed all English version of the game. Something that was not available in the ’90s. If so, please be a responsible adult once you’ve finally gotten into the product. Hide it away from your kids until they’re old enough to not accidentally hurt themselves with animated hair.