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Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
6.0
Visuals
6.5
Audio
6.5
Gameplay
5.5
Features
5.5
Replay
5.0
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
PlayStation 2
PUBLISHER:
Activision
DEVELOPER:
Treyarch
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1
RELEASE DATE:
November 18, 2002
ESRB RATING:
Teen
IN THE SERIES
Mission: Impossible: Operation Surma

Minority Report: Everybody Runs

Minority Report: Everybody Runs

Minority Report: Everybody Runs

 Written by Alex Fitzgerald  on January 27, 2003

First Impressions: Treyarch has taken one of the best-done sci-fi movies ever and dumbed it down to a mediocre fighting game. Is it any wonder why so many people dislike licensed games?


Video games based on Steven Spielberg movies have a tendency to be very mediocre. Jurassic Park for the Genesis and SNES was dumb, Jaws for the NES was laughable, and E.T for the Atari 2600 is quite simply one of the worst games ever made. With this kind of a reputation, it's no surprise that not many people were really looking forward to the video game adaptation of Spielberg's science fiction movie Minority Report, as many were expecting another mediocre licensed game to come out of Minority Report. Unfortunately, save for a few redeeming qualities, the game is still only slightly better than mediocre.

Taking a cue from many licensed movie games lately, Minority Report only loosely follows the movie's plot. For those who didn't see the movie though, here's a rundown: In the year 2054 a revolutionary new technology called ?Pre-Crime? is being tested out in Washington D.C. The way the technology works is that by using machines and three people that can see the future, murders can now be seen before they happen, and therefore, murderers can be caught before the actual killing takes place. This new technology has worked very well in the D.C area as the city has gone without a murder for six years, and now the Pre-Crime technology is coming out of the testing stages, as the U.S government is planning to soon to set up Pre-Crime offices all around the country.

At the center of the Pre-Crime experiment is a man by the name by John Anderton. Having worked for Pre-Crime for a number of years as a Pre-Crime squad leader, he has deliberately risked life and limb in order to stop murders before they happen. All is going fine for John until one day, when the Pre-Crime machines show him killing a man he has never before met in his life. Convinced that Pre-Crime is wrong about him being a future-killer, John begins running for his life, trying desperately to uncover who has set him up, and doing his best to stay alive in the process.

The game starts you off chasing down criminals before John Anderton is accused of murder. In these two right-side-of-the-law missions, you learn a lot about how the rest of the game will play. Basically, in order to stay alive in the game, you will have to fight a wide array of enemies (it seems every murder in Washington D.C, no matter how poor, has enough money to hire tons of bodyguards to come attack you.) You won't just have to fight either, as the game also has you solving some minor puzzles, and going through some areas that play very much like a 3D platformer. All along the way, there's also hidden money to collect within the levels.

The fighting gameplay, which makes up for the majority of what you'll be doing in Minority Report's levels, is very reminiscent of Spiderman: The Movie's fighting gameplay. This should come off as no surprise though, considering both games were developer by the same people, Treyarch.

It's good that Treyarch is using their old Spiderman engine for Minority Report as everything good about the fighting system has been transferred to Minority Report. You have a large comprehensive list of moves, just like in Spiderman, and you can buy more complex moves in the game through the black market. The game also features an excellent lock-on feature, which 90% of the time locks on to the enemy that is the greatest danger to you, allowing you to get rid of the most dangerous enemies first before you work on the easier to beat cronies.

Another cool aspect to the game's fighting that Treyarch has added in is that now the game's environment plays a much bigger role in the fighting scheme. First, the game gives you great destructible environments. You can now throw or kick enemies into computers, glass, tables, and numerous other things. The best part about this though is that by throwing your enemies into objects you thus score greater damage on him. Also, there are many places within the game where you are able to kick or throw your enemies off of a very high elevation, allowing you to kill your enemies a lot quicker than if you simply just stood there beating them up. Both of these elements, destructive environments and high-elevation, pepper the fighting with a little style and add some strategy into the mix.

The fighting system isn't without its flaws though. For one thing, the fighting system is very simplistic. Though strategy will come into play sometimes, for the most part, all you do is lock on to enemies, start mashing the kick and punch buttons, and when the crony is wasted, you move onto the next one. This style of gameplay isn't very enthralling to begin with, and it certainly doesn't get any more exciting over time.

But wait, there's more!

Even though this fighting system works well with only three or four enemies, it becomes quite difficult to use when you are facing more than five enemies. Fortunately though, this is never a problem, as Minority Report's enemy AI is too stupid to comprehend the delicate practice that is a gang beating. You see, it seems that Minority Report's enemies have being watching too many Jackie Chan movies lately, since they attack in typical Kung Fu movie fashion (i.e. the bad guys come at you three at a time while the other fifty or so do a threatening dance around you.)

The other problem that Minority Report's fighting system has is that many times the auto-aim will stay locked on even after the enemy is dead. Needless to stay, this makes you lose quite a bit of ammo when you are using the game's few weapons provided. As you can imagine, this gets quite annoying, and in times when you need to conserve your ammo, it is not a very welcome gameplay feature.

Besides fighting, the game also has you solve puzzles in order to get through the game's levels. Though these puzzles do their job in prolonging the game's length, they do absolutely nothing to challenge your mind. Heck, these puzzles wouldn't challenge a three-year-old. Why? Because a good portion of these puzzles have you doing nothing more than just flipping a switch. Wow, hitting the O button to flip a switch, somebody get me a strategy guide, this is challenging stuff.

Minority Report's other gameplay perk is that John Anderton on occasion will strap a jetpack to his backside and engage in some fast-paced rocket-propelled action. These jetpack levels are good fun to play, as their fast-paced nature allow for good twitch gameplay that's sure to please old-school gamers as well as new-school. Unfortunately, although this jetpack gaming is enjoyable, Treyarch has opted to only use the jetpack sparingly. As such, you'll only use the jetpack in certain parts in certain levels, meaning you never get to use it for any great length of time.

The last gameplay style Minority Report features is 3D platforming sections. Like the jetpack gaming bits, the platforming sections usually only pop for a little while and only in certain levels. Unlike the jetpack parts though, the platforming chunks aren't very well done. Other than being unimaginative, the game's platforming levels are plagued by the beast that is the game's camera. For example, the second level of the game has you going through a factory like setting. At one point during this level, some enemy throws a grenade, blowing a bunch of gas pipes open so that they are spewing fire and chemicals everywhere. In order to finish the level, you need to jump over and dodge these little streams of fire coming from the gas pipes. This would work well, but the camera keeps on switching up on you, so that you continually run into fire streams that you didn't even know were there.

The game does allow you to use a joystick to control the camera, but by doing this, you also change the direction you are running. So, the only way to adjust the camera in a tight spot is to just stop everything you're doing and go ahead adjusting it. As you can imagine, this doesn't work very well when you are being chased by a bunch of police guys with clubs, and instead of fighting back when they whack you hard in the cranium, you have to stand still and adjust the camera.

Every other control besides the camera-adjusting joystick works well though. Fighting is made easy through a three-button system that allows you to do quick and simple moves, while still allowing you to do long-winded, but brutally effective special moves. Jumping is done easily, although mapping that function on the triangle button sometime feels a bit odd. The jetpack is easy to maneuver midair, as using both joysticks to operate the jetpack works quite well.

Despite how fast you go in the jetpack, the game never suffers from slowdown. This is no surprise though, since the game's low-quality graphics likely make it easy for the PS2 to handle without slowdown. Character models are detailed, but they aren't anything astounding. Environments have depth, although they aren't very wide-open. The worst thing about the graphics though is the textures. They just aren't very clean looking and look more reminiscent to PSX graphics than much better PS2 graphics.

The game's music is very much like the graphics, in that it's decent but nothing astounding. The game's music consists of a mixture of techno melodies with the occasional orchestra score filling in the blanks. The music sounds fitting, but it never really shifts in a great way, and the music never really does change throughout the game. The game also features some licensed music by rap-metal group The Apex Theory. The Apex Theory's electric sound effects in their songs make them sound very fitting for Minority Report's futuristic tone, but you can't hide the fact that The Apex Theory's songs aren't really anything innovative. The game's sound effects are respectable. Sound effects like glass breaking and guys getting kicked in the gut sound just like they would in really life, and are well timed with the action happening onscreen. The cutscenes voice acting is so-so, although it doesn't sound like the real actors from the movie did any of the voice work. Some of the lines coming from the characters contain emotion and feeling, but the script they are reading from seems quite rigid and takes many turns that don't seem very natural.

Bottom Line
All in all, Minority Report was a decent attempt to take some of the elements from the Minority Report movie, stir it with Spiderman: The Movie's gameplay, and make a decent action-oriented title. Because of the rigid nature of the fighting system though, the weak camera system, and the rather simplistic in-game puzzles, Treyarch's latest licensed offering is only slightly above mediocre. If you're a Minority Report nut, go ahead and give this game a look. Everybody else, steer clear. If you want a good one man against the masses fighting game, check out the Dynasty Warriors series, Rygar, or if you're cool with blood and gore, the Onimusha series is also a good pick. Trust me, any one of these games is sure to satisfy your gaming need more than Minority Report will.


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