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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Treyarch

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2002

 

 

- Graphics arenít half-bad
- Fighting moves are mapped effectively to controller
- Interactively breakable environments

 

 

- Horrible camera
- Bad Black Market and upgrade feature
- Story doesnít seem to jive with the gameís action
- No Tom Cruise
- Weapons control

 

 

Review: Minority Report (Gamecube)

Review: Minority Report (Playstation 2)

 

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Minority Report

Score: 6.0 / 10

 

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Videogames based on movies usually donít turn out well, especially for some reason if the movie in question was directed by Steven Spielberg. E.T. and Jaws are two of the worst movie-to-game adaptations ever. So it shouldnít be a big surprise that the latest Spielberg movie-based game, Minority Report (while nowhere as bad as some games based on movies) is plagued with enough problems to fall prey to the same dreaded movie-to-game jinx as so many before it.

The third-person action game follows the plot of the 2002 movie starring Tom Cruise. Itís the year 2054 and as Precrime Officer John Anderton who heads up the police division that can predict murders and arrest would-be killers before they can commit the act. But after being framed, Anderton must set out to uncover the conspiracy that has led to his betrayal while avoiding the close pursuit of the very Precrime department Anderton headed. Curiously, the character that Cruise played in the movie, John Anderton, is in videogame form a completely non-Tom Cruise looking gruff and gritty gray-haired gent. (Turns out to be a good move on Cruiseís

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part NOT lending his likeness to the game).

This is a game that in short stretches I had a lot of fun playing. It has a few strong points worth mentioning. The gameplay is similar in some ways to Max Payne and other ways State of Emergency, with a arcade feel (hidden power-ups galore) to it.

Now, one of my favorite features of Minority Report (MR) is the

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violent ability to annihilate you opponents. I particularly thought it was a hoot to be able to grab and throw enemies through plate glass windows in huge buildings, sending them plummeting quickly to their demise. I like having an interactively breakable environment that can be used to your advantage. But this brought up an issue that only someone who saw the movie (which doesnít include me) is able to address. Why is the supposedly good guy Anderton gleefully killing the Precrime officers that he once was a fraternal brethren of (who incidentally, are only doing their jobs)? Maybe itís just me, but I doní t think the best way to prove your innocence of murder is by offing a bunch of law enforcement officers.

Controlling Anderton is relatively easy particularly when it comes to punching, kicking, and throwing enemies, but the weapon control was badly devised. Instead of equipping yourself by simply pressing a controller button and having the weapon in your hands unless you ran out of ammo or put away your weapon in favor of the fisticuffs, you must hold the trigger on the controller constantly and then try to effectively fire at targets. Itís not that easy to do. The game should have stuck to more hand-to-hand combat action, which it does relatively well.

I personally thought that the Xbox versionís graphics were surprisingly good, which is a contrast to how fellow Armchair Empire reviewer Siddarth Masand perceived them (albeit for the PS2 version of the game). To me, they were rendered nicely, but more so in the well-designed levels versus the character models. Thereís some decent level design in MR.

 

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But then thereís the bad. What can really bring a third person action game down quicker than a roundhouse to the back of the head is a bad camera that makes it difficult or impossible to keep track of your placement within the game, and MR has one of the worst cameras Iíve seen in a while. Even the tough-to-handle camera work seen in another title, Hunter: The Reckoning canít compare to MRís schizophrenic camera, especially when you have to fight in tight quarters.

Another problem with Minority Report is that even with 40 levels, you will most likely be able to complete the entire game in about five hours. Thatís not exactly a lot of gaming for your money. The levels and missions just go by too quickly until you reach the sometimes-frustratingly-hard latter levels of the game. There are some extra unlockable stages and characters that are supposed to get you interested in replaying MR, but if you are able to complete the game, once through will be enough for most gamers.

At least there are a variety of futuristic settings Ė there is still a generic collection of enemies that will bore you. None really offer a big challenge unless you are careless enough to get surrounded by a few of them at a time. The easiest way of getting rid of each wave of enemies is by first killing off any that have weapons, which can really inflict a lot of damage to your health meter. Then simply mop up the remaining enemies before going on to the next stage of the game. You wonít exactly find the smartest artificial intelligence on the block in Minority Report.

My last complaint is with the poorly thought-out upgrade system. By collecting dollar sign icons, you can build up your bank funds to buy additional fight moves and both temporary and permanent upgrades such as weapons and health function-related goodies on the Black Market. But there wasnít enough of the icons around that I could really build up enough money to make it worthwhile to collect them. As well, there only a limited number of upgrades (both temporary and permanent) that once they are gone, they are gone for the rest of the game.

I didnít see the movie, so I probably had more enjoyment out of the game than those who actually saw the well-received Steven Speilberg flick and may be more critical as to how closely the game followed the movieís plot. Minority Report has its moments, but due to the reprehensible camera, loose weapon controls and repetitive gameplay, thereís just not enough here to warrant a purchase. A double rental of both Minority Report the movie and Minority Report the game, however, at the local Blockbuster could give fans of the film a good way to spend a winter weekend while avoiding the minority of people that pay full price for this game.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(December 29, 2002)

 

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