Dirty Harry (NES)

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Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry - NES - USA.jpg
Platform: NES
Year: 1990
Developer: Gray Matter
Buy: Amazon

Dirty Harry is an action game developed by Gray Matter and published by Mindscape. The game has garnered the subtitle The War Against Drugs, although this subtitle is not found neither in the game nor the packaging.

The player takes the role of Detective Harry Callahan, who must stop a drug lord known as the Anaconda, who bears a resemblance to the Marvel comic book villain The Kingpin. To stop him, Harry must go through three levels, each with several sections. In the first level, Harry must explore the streets, buildings, and finally the sewers of the city. In the second level, Harry must make it past the docks into Alcatraz. In the final stage, Harry is on the Alcatraz island and must make it to the Anaconda and defeat him.

The game was received poorly by critics due to its poor gameplay. Some of the complains include having to press both the A and B buttons to perform a jump, the first level being cryptic, as well as the first level having a room that the player cannot escape from. However, the game had some innovative features for its time. For example, Harry can holster and unholster his weapon, fire in different directions a la Contra (NES), and the game is known for having two high-quality digitized soundbytes from the films. The first one is heard on the title screen with Harry saying, "Go ahead... make my day...", and the second being his Do you feel lucky? speech.


Dirty Harry - NES - Title Screen.png

The title screen.

Dirty Harry - Streets - 1.png

Shooting enemies in the first level.

Dirty Harry - NES - Ha Ha Ha.png

The developers' little way of laughing at you.

Dirty Harry - NES - Warehouse - 1.png

The start of the second level, the Warehouse.

Dirty Harry - NES - Alcatraz - 1.png

The last level, at Alcatraz.

Dirty Harry - NES - Ending - 2.png

"Do you feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?"


Two professional composers Steven Samler and Elliott Delman collaborated to write the music to Dirty Harry. None of the music is from the movie. In the game's credits, Elliott's name is misspelled calling him 'Elliot Delman', however the composers names are on the back of the game's box (which is the only game to do that) and Elliott's name is spelled correctly. According to Steven Samler, the game's soundtrack was composed in Performer. All the music is written at a tempo of 150 BPM.

Elliott Delman said the authoring line was blurred since the way they would compose would be independent, dependent, and sometimes they would pass ideas to each other and compose a song together.

The game also credits Nick Eastridge in the Special Thanks credits. Looking at the code, it is revealed that the game uses his sound driver. Additionally, it is the same variant used in the unreleased version of Days of Thunder, which was slightly tweaked by Chris Oberth. Eastridge programmed the composers' compositions in 6502 assembly macros. All the instruments in the game use the hardware decay instruments, which was common in most early NES games. Steven and Elliott said they had nothing to do with designing the audio driver.

Aside from music, the game also has a couple of high quality PCM voices from the movie. When the player turns on the game, they are greeted by Harry's famous line, "Go ahead, make my day." After the player finishes off the final boss, Harry says his famous "Do you feel lucky?" speech.

The game also features an unused song. It was probably meant for the Game Over music, but the Game Over screen has no music.


# Title ComposerArranger Length Listen Download
01 Title Lalo Schifrin, Steven Samler, Elliott DelmanNick Eastridge 0:28
02 Password Steven Samler, Elliott DelmanNick Eastridge 1:40
03 Streets Steven Samler, Elliott DelmanNick Eastridge 1:46
04 Building Steven Samler, Elliott DelmanNick Eastridge 1:27
05 Sewer Steven Samler, Elliott DelmanNick Eastridge 1:43
06 Woman Steven Samler, Elliott DelmanNick Eastridge 1:27
07 Dock Steven Samler, Elliott DelmanNick Eastridge 1:52
08 Alcatraz Steven Samler, Elliott DelmanNick Eastridge 1:21
09 Boss Steven Samler, Elliott DelmanNick Eastridge 1:52
10 Unknown 1 Steven Samler, Elliott DelmanNick Eastridge 0:22
11 Radio Man (Unknown 2) Steven Samler, Elliott DelmanNick Eastridge 0:06


(Sources: title sequence, back of the box)

Game Rip





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  USA.svg   USA
Dirty Harry - NES - USA.jpg
Title: Dirty Harry
Platform: NES
Released: 1990-12-??
Publisher: Mindscape, Inc.