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Lethal Enforcers

Lethal Enforcers Arcade CabinetLethal Enforcers is a light gun arcade game developed and published by Konami.  Released in 1992 the game caused quite a bit of controversy due to its in-game graphics being comprised of digitized photographs of real people allowing players to shoot photo realistic representations of enemies.

The plot of the game was simple, set in Chicago players take the role of a police officer named Don Marshall responding to a bank robbery.  Discovering that a major crime organization has invaded town the bank robbery is only the beginning of the crime spree in which players must stop.

The game features a shooting range for training along with five stages with five different assignments: The Bank Robbery, Chinatown Assault, Hijacking, The Drug Dealers and Chemical Plant Sabotage.  Armed with a standard-issued police service revolver players must try to shoot the armed criminals while avoiding harming innocent by-standers, hostages and fellow officers.  During each level players progress through the stage where they must defeat an enemy in a boss battle at the end of each stage in order to complete the assignment and advance to the next stage.

The service revolver can hold up to six bullets at a time and needs to be reloaded by aiming the light gun away from the screen and squeezing the trigger. Players can upgrade their weapons during the course of play by shooting dropped enemy weapons.   Available weapons that can be obtained throughout the game are a .357 Magnum, a semi-automatic pistol, a combat shotgun, an assault rifle, a sub-machine gun and a grenade launcher.  The sub-machine gun and grenade launcher can only be used once while other weapons can be reloaded.

Lethal Enforcers Logo
SeriesLethal Enforcers
SuccessorLethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters
Media TypeArcade Cabinet
ReleaseJP: October 8, 1992
EU: October 14, 1992
NA: November 19, 1992
Genre(s)Light Gun
Development TimeTBD
RatingVRC: MA-17
Rereleased Platform(s)Ports
Sega CD -1993
Genesis -1993
Super Nintendo -1994

PlayStation -1997

Lethal Enforcers Sega CD GunAt the end of each round the players performance will be graded by taking into account the number of shots fired, number of hits, accuracy and number of victims harmed to determine the players rank.  The different ranks that can be achieved are Patrolman, Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and Commander.

The popularity of the arcade game opened the door for console ports.   Konami decided to port the game to the Sega Genesis, Sega CD and the Super Nintendo but since each system did not have a standard suitable light gun peripheral one needed to be developed for the games release.  Konami would end up designing and manufacturing the light gun peripheral themselves and included it bundle with the game.   The light gun was designed in the shape of a revolver and was marketed as “The Justifier”. 

The Justifier was modeled after the Colt Python revolver but were brightly coloured due to the early 1990s fear that light guns could lead to gun crimes and to clearly distinguish the gun as a toy.  Konami designed Lethal Enforcers to only work with The Justifier and is incompatible with other light guns such as the Sega Menacer and Nintendo’s Super Scope.   This was done as Konami felt that the existing first party light guns were not adequate enough to replicate the arcade experience.  Since Lethal Enforcers was only compatible with The Justifier all versions of the game came packaged with the peripheral.

Konami Justifier GunsKonami included a port in the bottom of The Justifier that was bundled in with the game to allow for a second player experience.  The standard light gun which was bundled in with the game was blue and sold separately directly by Konami via mail order gamers could purchase a second pink multiplayer version which would plug directly into the bottom The Justifier with a 6-pin RJ-11 phone cord.  Since the pink multiplayer version of The Justifier uses a RJ-11 connector that connects to the primary light gun and not the home consoles directly, the pink Justifier is compatible with both the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.  Because of this, the packaging for the second Justifier does not feature branding for either Sega or Nintendo.

 The game was involved in the video game violence controversy of the early 1990s and at the time was not sold in toy stores.   On December 7, 1993 and March 5, 1994, members of the United States Senate Committees on Governmental Affairs and the Judiciary held congressional hearings with officials in the video game industry including Nintendo and Sega.  The hearings were regarding violence in video games and perceived impacts on children.  The hearing was a result of public concern on the 1993 home console releases of Night Trap and Mortal Kombat but quickly expanded to cover gun violence bringing Lethal Enforcers and The Justifier to the forefront of many heated discussions.

The Justifier in Congress HearingAlong with Night Trap, the Genesis version of the game was one of the first video games to receive a MA-17 rating by the Videogame Rating Council (VRC), Sega’s video game rating system that predated the industry-wide standard Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).  Despite the controversial nature of the game and its involvement in government hearings as well as being referenced in the Video Game Rating Act of 1994 the game was successful enough for Konami to develop a sequel the following year, Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters.

Game Screenshots:

A look at Lethal Enforcers arcade cabinet & home console version

Profile PlaceholderYoshiaki HatanoDirector
Masahiro UenoMasahiro UenoConsole Version Director
Console Version Programmer
Profile PlaceholderSteve JohnsonGame Graphics
Tomikazu KiritaTomikazu KiritaConsole Version Producer
Yoshinori SasakiYoshinori SasakiConsole Version Programmer
Norio TakemotoNorio TakemotoConsole Version Game Graphics
Kenichiro FukuiKenichiro FukuiMusic Composer
Tappi IwaseTappi IwaseConsole Version Music Arrange
Kazuki MuraokaKazuki MuraokaConsole Version Sound Effects
Tom duBoisTom duBoisCover Artwork
Profile PlaceholderJun NaritaPhotographers
Profile PlaceholderD. MarshallPhotographers
Profile PlaceholderHidenori MaezawaSound Effects
Profile PlaceholderHiroshi MatsuuraHardware Designer
Profile PlaceholderH. UenoHardware Designer
Profile PlaceholderK. HaleCabinet Graphics
Randy SeverinRandy SeverinCast
Profile PlaceholderJ. KorbeckiCast
Profile PlaceholderMichael GalloCast
Profile PlaceholderMasa OtaniCast
Profile PlaceholderRich WisniewskiCast
Profile PlaceholderTina FergusonCast
Profile PlaceholderL. TorresCast
Profile PlaceholderSteve BolfCast
Profile PlaceholderS. YamaneCast
Profile PlaceholderMattCast
Profile PlaceholderSam OmiCast
Profile PlaceholderNobu KajiCast
Profile PlaceholderYoshi HatanoCast
Profile PlaceholderFrank P.Cast
Profile PlaceholderKenji HiraokaCast
Profile PlaceholderNaokoCast
Profile PlaceholderMike KubinCast
Profile PlaceholderDavid UedaCast
Profile PlaceholderGeorge LimonezCast
Profile PlaceholderHitenCast
Profile PlaceholderY. MatsuhanaConsole Version Programmer
Profile PlaceholderKazuhisa HashimotoConsole Version Programmer
Profile PlaceholderN. SasakiConsole Version Game Graphics
Profile PlaceholderAtsushi FujioConsole Version Sound Effects
Profile PlaceholderKazuhito ImaiConsole Version Sound Effects
Profile PlaceholderMotoaki FurukawaConsole Version Guitar Player
Profile PlaceholderM. OkadaThe Justifier Design
Profile PlaceholderT. OhishiThe Justifier Design
Profile PlaceholderYoshihashiPackage Design
Profile PlaceholderSasakiConsole Director
Sachiyo SagoiSachiyo SagoiSpecial Thanks

Arcade Cabinet (North American Release)

Genesis (North American Release)

Sega CD (North American Release)

Mega CD (Japanese Release)

Super Nintendo (North American Release)

PlayStation (North American Release)

Media & Promotional Material