(Arcade, Super Famicom, 1992):
1-3 players(up to 2 or 3, changeable in MAME's dip switch settings, but only 1 player on the SFC. Arcade/MAME players will be happy to know that 3 player mode does allow the players to choose their characters, rather than having the coin slots being permanently attached to specific characters)
Button 1/Y: Attack/pick up object/pull object out of the ground(by pressing the button repeatedly)
Button 2/B: Jump
Claude/Zan, Bubba/Matt, & Flame/Rosa(pictured above)
Holding Up or Down during strike combos will end them on a different move for either direction, than just hitting 1/Y by itself the entire time. However, the speed of which you press 1/Y on the basic combo will determine how that one ends. 2/B, 1/Y to jump attack. 2/B, forward & 1/Y for an alternate jump attack. 1/Y & 2/B(or A if you don't change the options) for a special attack, which drains health if it connects, but doesn't otherwise. If you get knocked down, keep tapping 2/B for a recovery attack. Double tap Left/Right to dash(Bubba actually runs. This can be L on the Super Famicom if you change the default option). Dash & 1/Y to dash strike. Dash, 2/B, 1/Y to dash jump strike. When you have a weapon that can be swung(usually the ones you'll pull out of the ground), press 1/Y, then away to go for a broad swing, which is useful if you're surrounded. You can also throw such weapons by pressing 1/Y & 2/B(or A), as if you were going for a special. Walk into an enemy to grab them. During a grab, press away & 1/Y to throw enemies behind, forward & 1/Y to throw enemies in front, Down & 1/Y for an alternate behind throw for Claude, or just keep hitting 1/Y by itself for a combo into a throw. If you press Up/Down with the last hit of the grab strike combo, you'll perform a different throw(Since Bubba's grab combo is a strange grab in itself, you can hold Up/Down the whole time in his case. Claude is the only one that does something different with each direction). With Claude, press 2/B, quarter circle(Down to forward/away) & 1/Y for his super, which drains a lot more health than when the characters connects with their specials. For Bubba's super, press 2/B, Up, Down/Down, Up & 1/Y. Flame's super is 2/B, Half Circle(Left to Down to Right/Right to Down to Left) & 1/Y(it's not too difficult to pull off, but because of the motion, you don't have as much time to do it).
Thanks to Goh_Billy/Billy_Kane(mainly for info on the supers, and overall just being really damn good at figuring out full move sets in beat 'em ups. His guide's here: http://www.gamefaqs.com/arcade/567405-undercover-cops/faqs/69211)
About the arcade version. The parent rom is the World version, which is an unfinished alpha that's missing moves for the playable characters, stage objects, end stage info(more on that below); some character bio info is different, the background in parts of stage 2 are different, and a lot of other changes from the completed version that would make this game feel generic to a first time player. What you want to do is also
(you always need the parent roms in arcade emulation) get the Alpha Renewal Version, which was a conversion kit that was installed on the actual World versions arcade cabinets, to make the world version into the complete version.
Important gameplay notes quoted from c_monyet's guide ( http://www.gamefaqs.com/arcade/567405-undercover-cops/faqs/53139 ):
^under "Version Differences" he does a good job of going over everything that's missing or changed about in the World version.
2.5 -- Finess Trick [FIT]
Finess [sic] Trick is basically a fighting style score. You can
accumulate Finess Trick by hitting the enemy with various moves. Every
move worth different Finess Trick. Use the move which yield the most
Finess Trick as many as possible for maximum score. You can see how good
Finess Tricks you performed by looking at the star icons below your
Health Bar. Small star represent one good Finess Trick and a big star
represents ten small stars. In the Japan version, each star worth 10
The main purpose of Finess Trick is to cover the deficit between your
Evaluation Score and Border Score at Assessment Day. Read the section
below for detail.
2.6 -- Assessment Day [ASD]
The Assessment Day is the evaluation of your performance. After each
stage, your performance on how good you are in sweeping the bad guys
throughout the stage will be calculated. Your Evaluation Score will
depends on how many bad guys you defeated in that stage and how many
Finess Tricks you accumulate.
Beside the Evaluation Score, there is also Border Score. Border Score is
the minimal amount of score that you need to reach at each Assessment
Day. If your Evaluation Score is more or same as the stage's Border
Score, then you are successful in sweeping said stage and you would get
an award bonus. Collect two award bonus and you will get an extra life.
It is important for you to accumulate as many as Finess Tricks as
possible if you want to have a successful Assessment Day. With the
exception of the first stage, the number of enemies will not produce
enough points for you to reach the Border Score. Therefore, to kill
enemies instantly like throwing them to pits is a bad idea, since you
won't get a lot of Finess Tricks that way. Instead, try to kill each
enemy slowly, preferably with a move which worth a lot of Finess Tricks.
Believe me, when you're playing Undercover Cops, you will want that extra
live. Here are the numbers of enemy in each stage, all Border Scores, as
well as the point deficit you need to cover with your Finess Tricks. Note
that the table below only applies to Japan version."
(I really wouldn't have had the patience these days to play the game long enough to figure that out on my own)
Another interesting note about the game is that it has a post apocalyptic setting that's so bad that it actually sees the playable characters being able to eat small animals to regain health, while the creatures are still alive. Also, stage 1's boss has a unique opportunity, in the 2nd stage of that fight, where, if you can knock him into the compactor at the right moment, he'll be crushed, ending the fight instantly, but he can also do it to you.
The Super Famicom port allows you to change difficulty, lives, continues, and whether to use A as "Extra Joy 1"(special) & L as "Extra Joy 2,"(dash) or not. As far as I know, while it may be scaled back in other ways, the complete move set made it in tact.