True Crime / Ground Control

True Crime: Streets of L.A.

The city of L.A. lies before

Many games are hurt by ambition; or rather by the failure of that ambition. So for a game to attempt to combine almost every element that falls under that the extremely diverse genre that we call an “action adventure” isn’t simply ambitious, it’s hubristic. True Crime looks to draw in the beat ‘em up, the driving game, the sneak-em up, the shooting game, build it into a freeform city (Los Angeles, complete with landmarks) then wrap a multi-tracked storyline about it. Finally, it hopes the package’ll hold together.

And, surprisingly, hold together it does. The narrative can be a touch ropey, is in fact totally illogical, but ties together watered-down versions of various famous games. It also has a ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’-style, twist halfway through, which is both ludicrous and completely removed from the genre of LAPD Blue hardcore the game’s been carrying up until then.

The styles of game are built about a main game where you drive round the streets of L.A., attempting to carry through the plot’s missions (such as chases and escapes in car or on foot) and solve incidental (randomly generated) crimes, gaining merits that allow you get access to more cars, weapons, and driving and kung-fu techniques.

Granted there’s plenty that’s rough about the game; the crimes are grimy (everything from drive-bys to disturbing sexual assaults to chasing down the crazed board-members of the OnRun corporation), the language dirty and clichéd, and it’s more cobbled together than a country lane; but it just about works; whether it’s something kids should be allowed anywhere near is up to you.

/conc/

Los Angeles all over; brash, derivative, immoral, ugly, but so entertaining.

Freeze Frame

Santa Lewinsky

And the first stop on our city tour… Santa Monica’s famous pier, complete with rides, rotten planks and hobos on the promenade.

Venice Good.

Muscle beach seems a bit bare, though thankfully, the high local crime-rate ensures you can exercise some muscles yourself.

Stellar Street

Gruman’s Chinese theatre graces the Hollywood Boulevard, along with the numerous lawbreaking stars for the takedown

City Shentre.

And of course the rolling city streets, where most casualties are caused by the LAPD, particularly you.

• 3-D Hardware Accelerator (32 MB VRAM) with full Transform and Lighting*

• Microsoft® Windows® 98/ME/2000/XP operating system

• Pentium® III 800Mhz processor or AMD® 1.5 Ghz Athlon processor

• 128 MB RAM

• 3.1 GB of uncompressed hard disk space for game files; plus an additional 200 MB for Windows® swap file

• 100% Windows® 98/ME/2000/XP-compatible computer system (including compatible 32-bit drivers for CD-ROM drive, video card, sound card and input devices)

• DirectX® 9.0 (included)

Ground Control II: Operation Exodus.

As sequels go, number two is never bad. Three may be awful, five terrible, and there’s a whole separate ruleset for Star Trek movies, but sequels are never bad; it’s just that most of the time, they’re not much good either.

Ground Control 2 is nothing if not a conformist. The first game was a striking real time strategy combination; stripped of the usual resource-management aspect, the game lined you up with a set troop suite in a set mission, and gave you the options of reinforcements when you achieved certain objectives. GCII takes this structure, and attempts to bring it into the modern age.

The effort is well-intended, though the clean simplicity of the earlier game has been lost in favour of a busy screen and many extraneous features. Notable amongst them is the addition of an all-conquering superunit in the shape of your dropship; this ferries reinforcements to and from the battlefield, and is also the strongest, toughest unit in the game. Granted, it only

Multiplayer

Freeze Frame

Train ride

It’s all easy for the tutorial levels, as Captain Jacob Angelus takes his men on a training exercise (and you too fortunately.)

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GriddleOctopus

There are few harder things in life than introducing yourself, especially in print where mellifluous nuance can turn to indulgent wankery. So. I am definitely a 'writer'. You could also call me an 'artist'. I could probably put the words 'designer' and 'consultant' here too, but they feel crass.

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