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True Crime: New York City
Console: Gamecube (Also on Xbox, PS2 and PC)
Developed by Luxoflux
Published by Activision
Rated M (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs)

Summary

True Crime: New York City stars Marcus Reed, a former gangster who turns his life around and becomes a police officer. When Reed’s mentor and friend is killed in an explosion, Reed must shake down New York City’s biggest crime syndicates to find out who did it. Reed can travel all around the city in attempt to make it safe for its citizens.

Gameplay

This is an impressive game. Marcus can travel all over New York City, which is huge. Just driving across the city can take at least ten minutes, and that’s if you have a fast car and don’t hit anything. Luckily, you can take a cab or subway across the city in seconds for a small fee. Marcus can frisk people for evidence. If he finds it, he can arrest the person, which nets him points for a promotion. Getting promoted will give Marcus access to more skills, guns, and cars. There are also a lot of things that determine whether Marcus is ‘good cop’ or ‘bad cop’. When you find evidence, you can turn it in to the police for career points, or go to a pawnshop to sell it for mad money. You can also launder illicit cash at said pawnshops or even extort shop owners, all of which lead to bad cop points and the real fuzz coming after you. When Marcus engages in battle, there is a cool trick that I just loved. The camera slows way down, and a large colored reticule appears to indicate the kind of shot. Does Marcus go for the leg to non-lethally take down the target (blue, good cop), just shoot (green), or go for a brutal, killing headshot (red, bad cop)? This also works with cars. You can blow out the tires, just shoot until the car does not go any more, or just blow the whole darn thing up by aiming for the gas tank (which makes a satisfying explosion) You can learn several different fighting styles and switch between them, purchase fantastically powerful weapons, get new clothes and hairstyles, and do a whole lot of whatever you want. It’s not as deep as GTA, but it’s still a lot. There are cool moves, like slo-mo gun dives and side wheelies. The entire game has a gritty, Hollywood film feel. Unfortunately, many of the shop interiors of a certain type are the same. If you’ve been to one pharmacy, you’ve been to them all. Police will not recognize you until you show your badge. They will attack Marcus until he does show his badge. There are several stores that are closed at night. These are minor quibbles and don’t detract from gameplay too much. However, if you go on a killing spree, all you have to do is arrest three people and you are back on speaking terms with the police. The punishment for mass mayhem was too light.

Graphics

In a word: great. Cars deform realistically, explosions look awesome, and New York is very detailed. In buildings, nearly everything can be demolished. Interiors end up looking like a battlezone eventually. The character models are nicely varied.

Sound

Laurence Fishburne and Christopher Walken were two of the standout voice actors. Walken’s character actually moved like him. Marcus’s actor is not listed as good because you don’t need talent to yell and cuss and act like a gangsta. I was really not crazy about the soundtrack.

Control

Control is fairly responsive, but just a tad sluggish. Many commands require that you press two buttons at once, but that should not be a problem for most players. It is very difficult to drive and shoot at the same time. For some reason, the ‘skip song’ and ‘honk horn and cuss’ are both mapped to the same button. Maybe my thumbs are too big, but I occasionally had a problem switching weapons on the tiny D-pad. But that’s Nintendo’s problem, not True Crime’s so I can’t deduct points for that.

Stability, Bugs, and Glitches

Ouch. I get the feeling that Luxoflux and Activision totally skipped the testing and debugging stages of game development. The game froze several times, I would sometimes phase through armored trucks if I came at it from the back at high speeds, and there was one time where I could not enter any buildings. I did not experience this, but there have been unconfirmed complaints that TC could corrupt other memory card data. These bugs were not too frequent. They are maddening, but save often and you’ll be fine.

Appropriate?

Well, um, no, not very much at all. Violence: -People Killing People in cold-blooded murder (-5) -Blood sprays on the wall and everywhere else (-2.5) -Body parts can be visually unattached (-1.5) Blood sprays and pools. Limbs can be severed or blown off by powerful weapons at very close range. What’s more, these same limbs can be picked up off the ground (heads, too) and wielded as weapons. Blood can be seen splattered across some environments, and people literally explode when caught in the blast of a grenade. It’s kind of like Mortal Kombat, only it is usually not very cartoonish at all. You can go around and kill anyone, but it is not encouraged, and the police will come after you. Language: -God’s name is used in vain throughout the game (-5) The game’s greatest offense. I don’t think I went ten seconds without hearing either an f-bomb or seeing an obscene gesture. If you can imagine a cuss word, there is a good chance you can find it here, including several racial slurs and sexual slang. The amount of cussing was almost comical. It’s a good thing the volume can be turned down. Sexual Content/Nudity: -Very revealing clothing (-3.5) -Characters seen having sex (-5) Very skimpy outfits, and a lot of references to prostitution and rape. In some levels, people can be seen having sex in the background, but it’s not nude. It’s possible to buy what is called ‘fantasy wear’. These outfits are ridiculous, and the other street clothes are much better. Occult content None. However, there are a couple of times where you have to fight members of a gothic church who refer to themselves as vampires. It’s not what I would refer to as ‘occult’. Marcus can slow down time for a pinpoint shot, but it’s more for dramatic effect and is FUN! Authority Issues -Occasionally requires rejecting authority figures or laws (-2) The game will send the police after you if you become too violent, and it is possible to kill cops, but it is certainly not rewarded. However, the punishment for such crimes is very light. There are some missions that pit the police against you, but the mission was over before I could kill them. Marcus and his dad are on opposite sides of the law, but they still talk. Unfortunately, all Daddy ever has you do is bad things like extortion. Luckily, these missions are optional. Bonus Game shows consequences of evil, and supports family values and importance of forgiveness/redemption.

Final Ratings

Gameplay: 18/20 Graphics: 10/10 Sound: 5/10 Stability: 2/5 Controls/Interface: 4/5 Appropriateness: 25.5/50 Bonus: 9

TOTAL: 74% C

Don’t let the score fool you. This game is only for mature gamers. It’s a good alternative to GTA if you just have a Gamecube, but only if you can put up with pervasive language, strong violence, and sexual content. Take the M rating very seriously.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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