Back in the early 1990's with TFGs such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat making their point in the arcade room, so were light gun games. Before we heard of such games like Time Crisis or House of The Dead, there was this game: Lethal Enforcers.
Lethal Enforcers takes place in modern day Chicago where police officer named Don Marshal (who looks like Miami Vice star Don Johnson) got word that the criminal activity suddenly explosive, now he and his partner must stop them at all costs.
Like Mortal Kombat, Lethal Enforcers has digitized graphics, meaning that the backgrounds and the character sprites are actual places and people digitized into the game, and unlike in previous arcade shooters, there are also female enemies to shoot as well as male enemies.
Now by the 1990's light gun games were not a new phenomenon, especially that there was such games like Revolution X and it's licensed counterpart Terminator 2. However, Lethal Enforcers was different, instead of the gun being mounted on the arcade cabinet itself, it is held like as if it were a real gun, because of this it also creates some interesting styles of gameplay. Unlike in the other arcade shooters before this, you carry a 6-round revolver which you have to reload by shooting off screen.
But there is more to it than that, Lethal Enforcers is also the first game where you have to control your aim, because in almost every stage in the game innocent civilians will recklessly get themselves into the line of fire, shooting a civilian will not only cost you a life, but it'll also deduct your ranking (which appears at the end of every stage).
This game also has a variety of weapons which you can use (once you find one). Now, these special weapons you find have their own unique abilities, but because most of the enemies are eliminated by one shot they don't do more damage than your standard revolver.
Magnum Rounds: You'll get 6 Magnum Rounds, what these rounds do is that they go through one target and hit something or somebody behind them, which may be an innocent civilian.
Automatic: This gun has twice the ammo as your standard revolver, so you can shoot enemies without having to reload constantly.
Shotgun: One of the bigger guns to use, this has a wider radius of hitscan, meaning you can hit multiple targets with this gun, it holds 6 rounds.
Rifle: This weapon has the "Tri-Burst" fire mode, meaning 3 rounds fire at one time, this has 12 rounds.
Machine Gun: This weapon has a huge magazine as it holds 36 rounds and can fire on full automatic. But unlike the other weapons which you can reload and are only lost when you lose a life, this weapon can't be reloaded and once it runs out of ammo, it is gone.
Grenade Launcher: This holds 6 rounds and covers a lot of area when fired. But like the Machine Gun, this weapon disappears once it runs out of ammo, and can't be reloaded.
This game also has 5 stages in it (with an optional shooting gallery which you can use to test your shooting skills), eventhough a lot of the stages have some unique environments to it such as stopping a violent bank robbery, stopping a riot in China Town, eliminate drug dealers or stopping terrorists at either an airport or a chemical plant, your objective is the same: Shoot as many enemies as you can. At the end of each stage (of course) you'll face a boss who'll often have a huge weapon that shoots either rockets or missiles which you can shoot and destroy before they hit you. At the end of each stage (as mentioned before) you'll be ranked depending on your accuracy, the less shots missed, the better your ranking, and (as mentioned before) if you shot any innocent civilians it'll lower your ranking.
Lethal Enforcers 2: Gun Fighters/Lethal Enforcers 2: The Western
A few years later, Lethal Enforcers surprisingly a sequel (or a prequel).
In the western USA in 1873, Outlaws are everywhere and they're harassing the Townspeople, you the Lethal Enforcer must stop them.
This game is almost the same as the last one, just taken place at a different place and at a different time. Your task is also the same, make sure your shots count as you shoot the enemies, and of course shooting innocent civilians will cost you a life and a deduction in your rank.
The special weapons also have the same function, but they appear in the style appropriate for the time.
.50 Cailber Sharp Rounds: They have the same function as the Magnum Rounds in the first game, they penetrate through targets and other objects, caution is advised when using these rounds. There are 6 rounds with this weapon.
Double Rig: The same as the Automatic in the first game, you are armed with 2 pistols, giving you twice the ammo as you would have otherwise.
Shotgun: Has the same function and the same shot radius as the weapon from the first game, and it has 6 rounds.
Rifle: Like in the first game it has 12 rounds, but unlike in the first game it's a semi-automatic weapon.
Gatling Gun: The game's version of the Machine Gun, it holds 24 rounds. Like it's counterpart it's unreloadable and it's gone once the ammo runs out.
Cannon: The game's version of the Grenade Launcher, it has a wide blast radius and leaves big holes in the background, but it can not be reloaded and it's gone once the ammo is out.
Like in the first game, your objective in each stage is to shoot the enemies in similar environments like in the first game, but because the game takes place in the Old West, the scenarios are that of the Archetypal Old West such as stopping robbers from robbing a bank, protecting a convoy of stages, elminate hijackers from a train or having a good old fashioned Gun fight at a Saloon. One notable difference in this game is that the bosses at each stage are very unique to each other, instead of using a weapon that fires missiles or rockets they either use a cannon, throw either Dynamite or Barrels loaded with Gunpowder, fighting a fire breathing Native American (or Indian) or having an iconic quick draw Gunfight with enemies. Another difference is that there are actual bonus stages, though you shoot bottles. The first bonus stage has the bottles stationary where the second one has them being thrown into the air by a Saloon woman.
Just like in the first game, your accuarcy will be tallied, the more of your shots actually hit enemies and how many innocient civilians you may have shot during the stage will determine your rank for that stage.
Both games received console ports. The Sega CD version of LE2 is considered to be by far the most difficult of any of the ports.
For the first Playstation, both LE games were released on one disc, it also has some graphical dfferences to meet the PS game size, and even some new enemies to shoot or modified (like the Asian Female Criminal you face in the Chinatown riot stage has a pink dress and a different hit animation)
Lethal Enforcers 3
Just a few years after LE2, this game was released.
This is a Japan exclusive arcade game which does away with the digitized graphics and went full 3-D. It also borrowed some gameplay elements from Time Crisis as the player now uses a Shield to both protect itself from enemy fire and to reload their current weapon. You can also use other weapons as well.
It has been a while since this game which (as stated bofore) was only released in Japan. However, it's legend lives on in other shooter games.
RAW Thrills has released this interesting arcade cabinet which plays very similar to Lethal Enforcers, you may even say that Target: Terror is the "Spiritual Successor" to Lethal Enforcers. Like in LE, the character sprites are fully digitized live-action people. The gameplay is also similar, and you'll also have to deal with overly scared and panicky innocent civilains that will (of course) put themselves in danger, causing you to control your shooting to make sure you don't shoot them recklessly, also like in LE there are special weapons such as a Machine Gun and a Shotgun (which can be reloaded) and others such as a flamethrower, an ice gun, a giant taser and a rocket launcher which are one time use weapons. Of course, reloading your weapon works the same too (by shooting off screen).
There are also bonus stages, though they require some feats in order to find them (such as shooting windows or something like that). The bonus stages consist of either a shooting gallery, a golfer aiming to take out terrorists in Golf Carts, shooting pigs wired with Dynamite or a Missile Command like game.
There are 10 stages in all, where you have to stop terrorists at either an Airport, The Golden Gate Bridge, a Ship a Chemical Plant or trying to stop a Plane Hijacking (which may or may not brought on some controversy since the game came out after the Sept.11 Attacks)
The game however is more violent than LE as the enemies bleed when shot (though you can adjust the game's violence in the options menu on the Wii version where the enemies will spill green slime rather than blood, but weapons such as the famethrower and the taser also won't be used as weapons in the Non-Violent mode).