Undercover Cops (アンダーカバーコップス?) is an arcade-style beat 'em up video game by Irem. It is Irem's first attempt in the modern beat 'em up genre that was founded by Capcom's Final Fight. A few years later after its release, a lot of the team (artists, programmers, composers, designers, etc.) who made the game went on to form Nazca, who created the Metal Slug game series. The team have also worked on the Hammerin' Harry series, Superior Soldiers, In The Hunt and GunForce 2. In Japan, the game inspired a little-known series of underground comics due its brief popularity.
Players control "city sweepers" who fight crime by destroying thugs in New York City of the year 2043.
The video game is notable for its detailed backgrounds and grimy futuristic setting. For its time, it was relatively gory, featuring crow-pecked skeletons in the midst of its urban wastelands and forcing players to lose a life by being crushed by a garbage compactor during the first boss battle. While the gameplay is inspired by Capcom's Final Fight, some of the enemies are unique. Besides the usual human thugs, players fight strange mole creatures and mutants with jet packs and blades for hands. Players can never use enemy weapons, but the stages contain objects that can be picked up and used instead such as burning oil drums, steel girders, long concrete columns that shatter on impact, boxes of hand grenades and fish.
The characters eat mice, frogs, birds and snails to restore their health (many people in Japanese society eat these for their nutritional value).
The Japanese arcade version differs from the World version in several respects. The characters have a number of moves not seen in the World version, including dash + jump attacks, up to two different kinds of throws, and a powerful airborne special attack. The backgrounds and graphics are also different, especially at the start of Level Two and the end of Level Three. The music in the Japanese version has a more electronic feel and includes more voice samples. Some enemies carry broken bottles, knives and axes (in the World version these are replaced by planks and clubs). The mole creatures are weaker, taking only one hit to kill. Players' jump attacks do less damage, but their wider range of attacks makes them much more versatile.
Source: Wikipedia, "Undercover Cops", available under the CC-BY-SA License.