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Who Shot Johnny Rock? is the title of a live-action full motion video laserdisc video game produced by American Laser Games and released in the arcade in 1991, as well as for MS-DOS, Sega CD, 3DO and CD-i in or around 1994. As part of a series of similar-styled games released by the company, Who Shot Johnny Rock? introduces a different setting than most of the others, while maintaining almost identical gameplay. The game was re-released by Digital Leisure around 2003 with updated video and sound, in addition to several bonus options.

Who Shot Johnny Rock?
Developer(s)American Laser Games
Origin Systems (3DO)
Publisher(s)American Laser Games
Phillips Interactive Media (CD-i)
Digital Leisure (DVD)
Platform(s)Arcade, MS-DOS, Sega CD, Philips CD-i, 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, DVD
ReleaseArcade & MS-DOS
Sega CD
  • NA: November 28, 2001
Genre(s)Interactive movie, Light gun shooter



The game is set a Hollywood version of 1930s Chicago, where one plays a private detective that has been hired to find out who murdered a nightclub singer named Johnny Rock. The player must attempt to reach Johnny Rock's killer, shooting villains and interrogating individuals. The game takes the player through the gangs of four gangsters with suggestive names - Measles, Mumps, Smallpox, and Lockjaw Lil, who all knew Rock - and locations such as a warehouse, a pool hall, a garage and a casino.


As is the case with other American Laser Games releases, the format is from a first-person perspective of the player watching the full motion video, listening to the various characters and shooting the right enemies at the right time with a powerful Tommy gun. Most other games produced by the company - with minor exceptions such as The Last Bounty Hunter, where the player can use a shotgun for a limited amount of time - feature no more than a simple pistol, which must be used to eliminate successive foes. Also, the player narrates the story.

Unlike previous games, such as Mad Dog McCree and Crime Patrol, the player's Tommy gun does not need to be reloaded, but one does need to buy extra ammunition. Also, when health is lost, the player needs to have enough money to be able to pay the city doctor to give him or her an extra life. If money runs out, the game is over. The player must also try to avoid hitting innocent bystanders, as doing so results in having to pay funeral expenses. The doctor also gives advice (usually fake) and criticizes the player's actions.

Along the way, clues have to be collected and it is them that will eventually allow the player to determine Johnny Rock's murderer; one of the final sequences takes place in Rock's mansion, where a final clue will point to the killer, who must be eliminated to end the game.

As in most rail shooters by American Laser Games, the DOS and 3DO versions include mouse and light gun support. The Sega CD version supports the Konami Justifier light gun.


Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the 3DO version a 4.8 out of 10. They commented that the game's whodunnit concept is appealing, but that the graphics are poor by 3DO standards, the gameplay is frustrating, and the cursor moves too slow when using the control pad, making it impossible to progress in the game without a Gamegun, which was sold separately.[1] Computer Gaming World said in June 1994 of the PC version that "The storyline and acting are decent for this sort of game, but the gameplay is simplistic to the extreme".[2]

The game appeared on the 1992/1993 series of GamesMaster, with Tony Slattery playing. During the segment, Slattery stated that he hated video games, and later failed the challenge by shooting an innocent victim.


  1. ^ "Review Crew: Who Shot Johnny Rock?". Electronic Gaming Monthly (61). EGM Media, LLC. August 1994. p. 36.
  2. ^ "Taking A Peek". Computer Gaming World. June 1994. pp. 168–172.

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