Re(?)Considered: Dashin' Desperadoes

Nil desper-random! Cowboy chaos on Sega Mega Drive

It has likely not escaped you that the Mega Drive Mini has been hacked. The extremely exciting Project Lunar software has made adding games to M2's box of wonders an absolute breeze, which to Sega fiends like myself is an enticing prospect.

More enticing yet is the newfound ability to put the best Mega Drive game ever, Dashin' Desperadoes, on there. You can do that. You can put it on. It scans for the boxart and everything, it's incredible. But then the game doesn't actually work. It isn't compatible for some reason. Reader, I dropkicked my Mega Drive Mini into a burning bin.

At this juncture I feel as though I should make it crystal clear that while Dashin' Desperadoes has a single-player mode, I have nothing to say about it. I don't care that it exists. I may have played it once, in a moment of madness, but that is not what Data East's masterpiece is about. It's a split-screen versus multiplayer game through and through, and anyone ascribing any level of solo-play worth to it whatsoever should be treated as hostile.

Players 1 and 2, each inhabiting the body of a digital desperado, must - yes - dash. Why? For love, of course. Love and raw sex. Characters Will and Rick, you see, are both in love with the same girl - the blond bombshell known only as Jenny. Across treacherous wilderness, through bustling metropolises (metropoli?) and even ancient ruins, they follow their dicks to the finish line, or "prize", Jenny herself. The winner of this extremely regressive, deeply sexist and problematically heteronormative contest gets a single kiss on the cheek, which judging by the interstitial screens prompts an immediate mind-blowing orgasm. I'll have what she's having! Wait, she is having men literally kill each other to get to her. I will not have that, thanks.

Eye-rolling premise aside, I am not exaggerating when I call this the best Mega Drive game. I'm not even prepared to use Opinion Phrases like my favourite, because I am not a coward and am also completely right. It is absolute joy to play with a pal, as you both charge through the environments throwing bombs at one another, rolling forward to squash your opponent flat, or funniest of all, letting them pass you and hitting "down" to sweep the leg and trip them up. There are versus games and then there are versus games, the kind of thing where you and your friends never stop yelling the entire time. Mario Strikers Charged is one. Dashin' Desperadoes is the king of the goddamn mountain.

The excellent graphics are reminiscent of slightly better-known NeoGeo platforming yo-yo-'em-up, Spinmaster, and suit the madcap pace of the game very well indeed. The music is pleasant enough too, but you won't hear it over your yelling. There's even some impressive and humorous digitised speech from Jenny and the desperadoes - "Come on!!" "Okay!!" Presentation overall is very good but never exceptional; it doesn't need to be.

Six worlds with three levels in each means you're far from getting short-changed, and frankly Dashin' Desperadoes is so good that it would still be amazing even if it had a third of this content. It's a magnificently frantic run-n'-chase that shines like a crazy diamond with a friend.

In real life though, you must be sure not to run at full pelt towards women. You will be sent to prison.