One of the long forgotten pulp heroes of the 30’s was a gumshoe named Dick Tracy. In 1931 he was created by Chester Gould for The Detroit Mirror, then The New York Daily News picked him up, and so on. Soon the comic strip takes the country by storm. Gould would continue to write and draw Dick Tracy for 77 more years, contributing to an icon that still carries on today, though not to the degree it once knew. Sadly not much has been done with the character recently. Everyone remembers Warren Beatty’s donning of the yellow trench-coat, and IDW has been releasing the comic strips in order in over-sized hardbacks. So obviously he needs some love in this decade, and video games can dole out that love.
Dick Tracy started off as just a normal guy, starting his life with his newly crowned fiance, Tess Trueheart, when tragedy happens. On the way to Tess’ parents’ grocery store, they saw that it had been robbed. While in shock at the destruction, Tracy is knocked out and Tess is kidnapped by Big Boy Caprice. Upon regaining consciousness, Tracy gets up and sees what has been done. He vows to get his girl back and to bring justice to Big Boy Caprice. And thus the legend was born. Tracy, after rescuing his fiance, vows to become one of the best plains-clothes detectives there is. Some might say “The Greatest Detective” (but we all know who that title goes to). His tough, golden boy character would translate well into a game’s protagonist.
Imagine a world where Team Bondi didn’t disband and they were given the task of creating the world of Dick Tracy. With Rockstar and Gould’s estate helping with the story, and the colorful cast of rogues Tracy has, this game would be pure gold. Solving cases in the yellow trench-coat, capturing the small time crooks like Cueball, The Mole and Flattop, and slowly finding clues and interrogating information to get all the way up to the bosses like Big Boy and Larceny Lu would drive the player to continue on and on.
Tracy’s “Two-Way Wrist Radio” could act as the save and inventory system. It would work along the lines of Metal Gear Solid’s Codec and Fallout 3’s Pipboy. You could call the police station and save your progress, look at your case files, check out the map of the city, see which perps are lose, what cases you are working on and so forth. Team Bondi could also use the wrist radio as Arkham Asylum used “detective vision.” What would they call it though? How about “Dick Vision? ” Hmmm, maybe not.
Team Bondi would have to make the game a bit more action packed though. While L.A. Noire was an amazing story-driven game, the action segments were relatively few and far between. While most didn’t mind fighting crime by interrogating and searching for clues, there will need to be some major Tommy-gun action in Dick Tracy. Third-person over the shoulder like Resident Evil 4 would suit Tracy pretty well, the yellow trench-coat blowing in the wind as he fills some gangsters full of lead. Pure tear-to-the-eye beauty.
This would be a great game should video game companies begin to mine the comic book world for ideas. With the success of the Arkham games and Deadpool, it’s bewildering that companies aren’t looking for comic books IP’s. Instead of pumping out sequel after sequel, it would behoove companies to look at lost and older comic book characters that would translate well. It seems like a huge vein of gold, just waiting to be mined.