Namco are a frustrating company to like. Sure, they're the producers of such classic arcade games as Pac-Man and Galaga, but they can also be the worst assholes in the world when it comes to home conversions. There seems to be this very strange gap, around the mid-90's, where a lot of Namco games simply weren't brought home, like Nebulasray and Tinkle Pit. Sure, you may think that the Namco Museum series is here to cover this, but the recent ones are just regurgitating the same (still classic) games... There are only so many conversions of Pac-Man that one man needs! They sometimes include a token cult classic, like the absolutely bitchin' Cutie Q in the recent Namco Museum Remix, but it's still amongst the same endlessly repeated games like Galaxian and Mappy. As such, the 90s is very poorly represented, which is a shame, because, well, to me, the 90s were the best era for arcade gaming. Then again, I would say that- my love for 90s gaming is well documented

Even the original Playstation Namco Museum collections didn't cover this period of time, and they had games like Assault and Gempei Toumaden/The Genji & Heike Clans included. Where's the 90s love? Hell, the most depressing thing about the PS1 Namco Museum games (aside from introducing me to the torment that is The Tower of Druaga) is the 'complete Namco arcade games' list included in each volume. When you see what's actually covered by the Museum series, you can see that while it covers the classics and a few choice obscurities here and there, it's by no means a complete discography... Not that I'm asking that, of course. Crap like Finest Hour and Exvania can stay in the arcades (even if Finest Hour is out on the Virtual Console Arcade, for inexplicable reasons) but some of the better games, now that's different...

I've come to terms with the fact that Lucky & Wild will never be brought home.

I can even excuse the lack of a port of Numan Athletics Tank Force uh, Tinkle Pit.

But leaving The Outfoxies in the arcades? Unforgivable.

Released in arcades in 1994, The Outfoxies is an all-out slugfest. Two people enter an volatile arena, you hear the cry of, "KILL YOUR ENEMY BY ANY MEANS!" and then only one leaves. Each player has a life bar with multiple colours- starting at green, then down to yellow, and finally to red, which leads to death when emptied. Last man/woman/monkey standing wins. Since each stage can be pretty big, the camera scales out where appropriate, using that funky scaling technology that was all the rage back in the 90s, although this does make screenshots sometimes difficult to discern afterwards... If anything, it's like a distant 2D relative of Smash Bros. or Power Stone, but considerably more violent: it's all about the killin', because for these guys, killin' is their business... And business is good.

The story goes that the mysterious Mr. Acme has decided to hire seven deadly assassins to kill seven deadly, uh, art collectors. In a strange move, however, each one was also assigned to off the other six killers... Obviously, there are some shady goings-on here, but as the intro asks, 'What is in store for the survivor? Is it a large reward and the reputation as being the number one killer?" Now there's a tempting proposition! In the one-player mode, you take on each assassin in turn, with each being displayed on a TV screen before Mr. Acme gives you his instructions, telling you (in distorted speech) the location, the reward (in Swiss Francs) and that, of course, you should "Proceed with Caution!". As a nice touch, each character has a different way of indicating victory- Betty switches the TV off, Dweeb changes the channel, and Bernard smashes the screen with his fist. Sweet.

The actual game itself feels like Rolling Thunder in terms of controls (according to Action, it was developed by the same team) but it's considerably more sophisticated, even if it shares the same two-button layout, Shoot and Jump. Each killer can run, jump, grab ledges, roll out of harm's way, swim, and do some basic physical attacks. The crux of the whole thing lies in two areas; first, the levels themselves, which we'll address on the next page, and second, the weapons. My stars, the weapons! Each stage is littered with them, and you pick them up by pressing Down. Honestly, there's too many to cover individually- in fact, I probably didn't even pick up all of them while I played- but some of the things you can arm yourself with include pistols, machine guns, rocket launchers, grenades with a 7-second fuse, flame throwers, and weird stuff like lumps of coal and fruit baskets... Yeah, really. Even better, they can sometimes affect the stages- you can destroy certain barriers with grenades, and the flame thrower can set fire to boxes and the floor, which results in your opponent having to stop, drop and roll to fan the flames out. Awesome.

Even before you actually start playing The Outfoxies, you know that something's a bit different about this particular game; the cast gives it away. They certainly seem to be a colourful bunch, definitely a step away from the standard fighting game roster of the time. The differences between the characters aren't really that pronounced- generally, the biggest differences are those in size and the animations of their attacks, rather than speed or attack power. Still, at least they're not all cookie-cutter clones from other fighting games. Time for a rundown.

John Smith

Age: 38
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 177 lbs

The man who would do anything from babysitting to agitating a revolution to get money.

Arena: Skyscraper.

The man who doesn't so much give an example of 'normal' but practically defines it, John Smith has a boring name, pretty normal attire, and he looks like Harrison Ford. I think Namco were going for the 'All American hero' vibe here, but hilariously failed, as Johnny Boy here is wearing this on his shirt. Esoteric Japanese references aside, John Smith is a pretty standard character, willing to do anything- even babysitting- for money.

FUN BONUS FACT: His running attack looks like a Dragon Punch. Shoryuken!

Betty Doe

Age: 33
Height: 5'02''
Weight: 55 lbs

A successful international business-woman who desperately needs capital to fund her several businesses.
Her diverse background includes being a former high paid hitwoman.

Arena: Seaside Aquarium

Betty Doe is the female equivalent of John Smith, i.e. just a bog-standard, normal character. Unlike John, she doesn't even have anything like a cool t-shirt to differentiate her from the other cast members, and is almost certainly the most boring character in the game. Yaaaaaawn. Can I stop talking about her yet?

FUN BONUS FACT: Seriously, she is so boring but she has one of the coolest stages, what gives?

Bernard White

Age: 36
Height: 7'01''
Weight: 298 lbs

A bio-tech engineer with super human strength.
An experiment resulted in him losing his hand.
He now has an artificial hand made of steel.

Arena: Rocky Mountain Train

One of the only characters where you can definitely see a difference in power, probably because of that steel hand, Bernard is a very imposing adversary. His physical attacks have better range than the other characters, and they hit for slightly more damage... But to be honest, is that really going to help you here when the enemy is packing weapons like rocket launchers and hot soup?! Besides, it means he's a much larger target, so he can be hit a lot easier.

FUN BONUS FACT: He has some of the funniest animations in the game, including his run. Especially his run..


Age: 29
Height: 5'05''
Weight: 111 lbs

A "has been" film starlet.
Now a thief to support her lavish lifestyle.
She has the skill to break into Nox Fortress with the aid of her well-trained lizard.

Arena: The Greatest Circus

Uh, I think they were trying to say 'Fort Knox' with that description, but the rest is pretty accurate. It's at this point that the characters start to get a little more, er, esoteric, as Eve certainly looks... Different. Her lizard does indeed join in the fight, but doesn't really do much- it'll try to stay on Eve's shoulder as much as it can, but the two of them can be separated, and the lizard will, pretty much, do its own thing.

FUN BONUS FACT: If they're separated, you can attack her pet lizard! He can't be killed, though.

Professor Ching

Age: 82
Height (No Wheelchair): 5'02''
Height with Wheelchair: 7'01''
Weight (No Wheelchair): 100 lbs
Weight with Wheelchair: 550 lbs

The mysterious oriental scientist who rides on a killer wheel-chair he designed.
Though partially handicapped, he is a famous master of Chinese martial arts.

Arena: Weapons Factory

Wait... What?! A man in a wheelchair, who can also do Chinese martial arts?! The specifics of his handicap are never thoroughly discussed, as it seems he can use both his hands (he sometimes uses them to utilise weapons) and his legs (his standard melee attack is kicking) so... Well, the next challengers on this list are even stranger, so we'd better not worry about little details. His 'killer wheel-chair' has a small crane on the back, and he uses this for anything- from holding on to weapons to grabbing ropes, and as pointed out by vigilant reader Jake, that wheelchair can also block bullets from behind!

FUN BONUS FACT: When he dies, his wheelchair explodes and takes him with it!


Age: 10
Height: 2'09''
Weight: 62 lbs

The only known professional killer who works for bananas.
He is the kidnapped son of the famous TV star, world's most intelligent chimpanzee "Mr. Happy".

Arena: Airplane

It's an ape wearing a top-hat.

FUN BONUS FACT: It's also wearing a bow-tie.

Danny & Demi

Age: 11
Danny's Height: 4'03''
Demi's Height: 4'04''
Danny's Weight: 77 lbs
Demi's Weight: 78 lbs

The ex-Siamese twins, seperated by a train crush.
Besides being extremely intelligent, they both possess a sinister and criminal mind.

Arena: Fishing Boat

Easily the stand-out characters in this game, Danny and Demi are really quite worrying. In case you're thinking there's going to be some Ice Climber-esque shenanigans going on here, you'll be disappointed, as the two can't be separated (aside from, apparently, a train crush- their spelling not mine) and do everything together- when one's got the gun, the other's got their finger on the trigger, they both carry the rocket launcher, they even die together with one jumping on top of the other as their faces explode with blood. Ew!

FUN BONUS FACT: When you pick them as your character, Demi brings out what appears to be a huge whip. Oo-err!

With the cast out of the way, it's best to look at the levels now. There isn't any strict level order aside from the final boss, so I'm going to be dealing with each one in order of relative complexity, starting with the simpler stages, and ending with the more elaborate and intricate settings. Time for the instructions to come in from Mr. Acme... Let's play The Outfoxies!