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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
GENRE: Action
November 12, 2003
True Crime

True Crime

True Crime

True Crime: New York City

True Crime: New York City

More in this Series
 Written by Nick Doukas  on July 28, 2003

First Impressions: If Max Payne, Jack Slate and Nick Kang had a fight, who do you think would win?

I've got to tell you, I'm actually having a bit of trouble coming up with a witty opener for this preview (some of you might say that the previous statement is my witty opener, but you'd be wrong?Ok you got me, I'm fresh out of stunning hyperbole). It's not because I'm lazy, it's just that True Crime: Streets Of L.A. is yet another two fisted, bullet laden bundle of John Woo inspired insanity. Once again revisiting the Hard Boiled school of Replacement Killers (where your education as a skilled assassin is our top priority), developer Luxoflux is hard at work bringing Xbox owners a killer app full of driving, shooting and fighting.

The basic premise here is simple: as detective Nick Kang, it's up to you to stop a bloody street war between the Russian mafia and the Triad. Apparently, a business deal has gone bad (something about a multi-million dollar money laundering scheme) and they're not playing nice (like good little mobsters should). As Kang, players will find themselves faced with gangsters, hitmen, and various other assorted thugs as they tackle the case. The really cool part is that Luxoflux has accurately modeled over 400 square miles of L.A., and players will move about freely, visiting tons of real world locations. Highway 101, West Hollywood, East L.A. and even Beverly Hills (if you see any of those annoying 90210 cast members, you'll be required to terminate them with extreme prejudice. Ok, I made that last part up, but you will get to do lots of other neat stuff). Shoot-outs, frenzied martial arts brawls, car chases and foot pursuits are all par for the course in True Crime. Over 20 branching missions and 100 sub-missions will allow you to move through Kang's world in a non-linear fashion. Taking down a robbery may lead to a tip on a future crime, or a screw up could just as easily get an informant killed. As you cruise through the city of angels, random missions will pop-up on the car radio, adding another dimension to an already immense game. You'll also be able to purchase services from local gun dealers and mechanics, as well as improve Nick's abilities by visiting gun ranges and dojo's located around town.

There will be three main gameplay modes in True Crime; driving, hand-to-hand combat and ranged weapons play. Much like GTA III, the driving portions will allow you to jack any car you see, and use it to reach your next objective. Car damage is accurately modeled in the event you trade paint with anybody (or anything) and you'll be able to pull off some pretty insane maneuvers, as well as fire from the vehicle while driving. In the event of a firefight, Nick Kang will be able to wield two guns at once, and independently target foes on opposite sides of the room. Increasingly powerful weapons will become available as you progress through the game, and True Crime: Streets Of L.A. will feature a slow-motion dive similar to the bullet time feature found in Max Payne. Once it comes down to fists and feet, criminals will find Nick Kang to be a formidable martial artist, and the game will put a heavy emphasis on battling through completely interactive environments. Windows, chairs, tables and other elements can be easily manipulated and demolished. You'll be able to use block, parry and combo moves, as well as match shots with opponents and eventually end the fight with a spectacular finishing blow. The immediate area will instantly become a fighting arena as you duke it out with your foes. Imagine this: after pursuing a suspected security leak through the busy midday streets, your adversary opens fire with an automatic weapon, forcing you to pull your own piece and shoot it out as the two of you race your cars through the throngs of afternoon shoppers. After trashing his vehicle, your mark makes a run for it, but you jump from the car and give chase on foot as more gunplay ensues. Finally, you disarm the perp and go hand-to-hand for a while, until you finally succeed in subduing him with a sidekick to the throat! Good stuff, and it definitely seems to be more of the open-ended gameplay we've come to expect since GTA III. In fact, check this quote from Producer Bryan Bustamante: ?There are many different key features that separate True Crime from the other games. The first and one of the most important features is the way the mission designs are set up. In other games, if you don't complete a mission, you have to play that one over and over until you beat it in order to continue through the game. However, TC's unique branching system will allow the player to continue no matter what. We also have a more detailed shooting setup than in games past. You can duck behind walls and boxes for shelter, target multiple enemies at one time, punch and kick an enemy?pretty much what you see in all the cool action movies.? Are you getting interested? I know I am. Bustamante continues: ?The story is based on some of our favorite action movies including Rush Hour, L.A. Confidential and the Lethal Weapon series. We wanted to create a real cinematic feel to the game.? Sounds good to me. Let's hope the game goes gold with all of the ambitious elements tweaked to perfection. If it does, expect a singular experience that's likely to keep you glued to your Xbox for weeks on end.

Final Thoughts
Even with all of the shooters coming to Xbox in the next few months, True Crime: Streets Of L.A. has some serious potential. If the developers can deliver the balance of driving, shooting and brawling they've outlined and properly juxtapose it against the backdrop of a perfectly modeled city (which, judging from demo footage, looks absolutely fantastic, as do the extremely sharp character models, intricately detailed backgrounds, and well modeled vehicles) this will be a title no action gamer will want to miss. Using open-ended game play as well as an evolving mission structure, players will have hours of gunfights, car chases and other assorted mayhem to keep them occupied. The game is coming to the end of its development cycle, so keep your eye out for this one, ?cause I have a feeling it's going to be something special.

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