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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Midway

 

Developer

Point of View

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

March 2005

 

 

- Addiction system is a different take on “power-ups”
- Great soundtrack
- Original NARC is included as an unlockable

 

 

- Control is off
- Profanity gets really tiring
- Uninteresting graphics
- Action gets tired after about 30 minutes

 

 

Review: Midway Arcade Treasures 2 (GC)

Review: Grand Theft Auto Double-Pack (XB)

Review: True Crime - Streets of LA (XB)

 

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NARC

Score: 4.7 / 10

 

narc review          narc review

 

Get ready for this [BLEEP]ing review because it’s going to blow your [BLEEP]ing [BLEEP] mind!

Okay, so it won’t.

I’m positive that NARC isn’t a remake or a sequel to the 1988 arcade game of the same name because the two have nothing in common other than a concentration on drugs. Gone is the Technicolor side-scrolling, over-the-top carnage. It’s replaced

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with a gritty, depressing 3D world filled with drug dealers and crooked cops, which leans toward a certain level of “realism” and takes a lot of cues from the Grand Theft Auto franchise. While it’s actually enjoyable in short sittings, NARC loses any momentum after about 30 minutes and never regains it. But I’ll give Point of View and Midway credit for trying something a little different.

NARC retails for $20US

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or at “Friend” prices and delivers more than you might expect out of a budg— sorry, Friend price title.

The story initially puts you in control of Jack Forzenski a recovering addict and cop brought in to track down the source of a new and powerful drug which apparently is so powerful it can bring people back from the brink of death. Along for the ride is his ex-partner, Marcus Hill, who sees Jack as weak for giving into drugs all those years ago. You’ll play as both characters along the way.

NARC’s best feature is an addiction system, which can really affect how the action plays out. Everywhere you turn in NARC’s little world there are drugs to be found or confiscated. Each drug has a different affect when used. Taking speed increases the speed of your attacks and makes you run faster; drop LSD and the bad guys all grow devils horns that make them easy to spot. (These drugs can also be sold for cash – some missions require it.) The real danger to popping these drugs is that if they’re used enough Jack or Marcus will become addicted. This brings up an addiction meter which is kept low by consuming more of the drugs but if it fills you have to “fight the addiction” that involves keeping a slider in the green. Succeed and the addiction is broken; fail and wind up like so many game journalists at E3 – waking up across town with absolutely nothing in your pants pockets (if you’re wearing pants at all). Fortunately if you fail to beat the addiction three times it’s determined you went cold turkey. (A natural extension of the addiction concept is the Mario games – “I need somah ‘shrooms!”)

 

narc review          narc review


NARC also features the ability to gamble and “bust” just about everyone you see. Warranted or not you can randomly tackle and cuff anyone. But doing bad things to nice people will affect your badge rating. If the rating falls below a certain level you’ll get demoted to beat cop and you’re forced to build your rating up to be re-assigned to the NARC squad so you can access missions again. If it falls even further, cops will spawn everywhere, guns loaded with bullets with your name on all of them. (I like to call it “The Scarface Ending.) However, the badge ratings are moot since it’s very easy to climb back from the depths and get back on the NARC squad.

The controls are clunky at the best of times, particularly when it comes to managing the inventory of drugs and guns. It’s haphazard as you’ll wind up using drugs when you actually meant to switch to a weapon. The sound is split down the middle between horrid and buggy to good. As far as soundtracks go, NARC is excellent, with a perfect harmony struck between the subject matter and the action. But when it comes to the overall sound design… yuck. Sound effects often kick in for no discernable reason and the amount of profanity is excessive, even for me. If I ever hear “Get the [BLEEP] down!” one more time I might scream.

The graphics aren’t that great either. Everything looks very similar (even the people) with very few landmarks to differentiate areas. It’s very easy to get lost or wind up going around in circles. That situation is somewhat alleviated by the mini-map, which marks objectives clearly but NARC’s world just isn’t interesting.

Something that might be of interest for those that don’t own Midway Arcade Treasures Volume 2, is that the original game is unlockable. By itself, it’s not a great reason to buy NARC. But I can’t really think of another solid reason to buy the game, even at a $20US price tag.

- Omni
(April 15, 2005)

 

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