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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Luxoflux

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q4 2003

 

 

- Big huge environment to bomb around in

- An interesting mix of combat methods

- Actual rewards for being a good cop

- Don’t have to necessarily succeed at the missions

- Some good action

 

 

- Some absolutely funky/weird collision problems at times

- Soundtrack is sure to grate on some

- Where’s the notorious L.A. traffic?

 

 

Review: Grand Theft Auto Double Pack (XB)

Revew: Max Payne 2 - The Fall of Max Payne (XB)

Review: Dead to Rights (XB)

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True Crime: Streets of L.A.

Score: 7.8 / 10

Nick Kang (Wilson) is a bad cop.  Or at least one with a bad attitude.  Okay, he did something bad, got kicked off the police force, then reinstated to the force in an elite capacity as part of the E.O.D. (Elite Operations Division) as is the case with most action game protagonists. (Even more clichéd, he’s interested in finding out what happened to his father.)  Either way, he’s loose in Los Angeles – and he’s armed.

 

true crime streets of la xbox review          true crime streets of la xbox review

 

Like Grand Theft Auto III, True Crime: Streets of L.A. drops you into a living, breathing cityscape (this time, L.A.) with definite mission objectives pushing the story forward but with plenty of distractions in form of random crimes.  True Crime also includes a light glaze of role-playing, a liberal dollop of racing, a quart or two of hand-to-hand combat, gunfights, and many cinema-inspired cutscenes.  In short, it tries to offer something to everyone and, to a certain extent, it succeeds.

 

For the most part True Crime does a good job keeping you firmly rooted in reality.  Exempting its near lack of traffic, a large section of L.A. has been replicated.  The drivable vehicles, handle very much like real world vehicles, guns have different effectiveness, and the fighting moves are ripped right out of the best action films (which are all based on reality in the first place).  So when something crazy happens it tears you out of the game’s reality.  True Crime has some weird collision issues that mostly crop up during the driving portions.  For example, I managed to flip a sports car about 100 feet in the air, then bounce there a few times, then off a building, then back onto my wheels.  No harm done!  More frustrating is getting caught on corners or stuck in walls.  Further to yanking you out of reality are a few levels that put Nick against zombies and, no joke, a dragon.

 

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The action nods to Dead to Rights, Max Payne, The Getaway and Grand Theft Auto III, but getting a handle on the controls takes a lot of practice because every button, trigger, and stick is put to use.  The control had me frustrated through the first few missions because I just couldn’t get it.  I’d be tearing down the highway, press the wrong button then Nick would be rolling on the pavement, which is not the preferred method for exiting a vehicle.  While the more advanced hand-to-hand moves are introduced gradually – 

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by learning them at dojos sprinkled throughout the area – in all likelihood you’ll still be trying to completely master them at the end of game.

 

Mission variety is good.  You’ll run down criminals, tail suspects, beat the hell out of attackers and perform random searches on an unsuspecting populace. (Some are not so unsuspecting -- they'll actively resist Nick.)  Nick can frisk anyone on the street.  If the friskee has some contraband on their person, points for Nick.  If nothing is found, no harm done.  There is also a variety of random crimes that Nick can attempt to right.  (It wouldn’t be L.A. without lots and lots of crime!)  They’re totally optional forays but are fun to get involved with, particularly because the game is on the short side (according to some).

 

In a stroke of genius, you don’t actually have to successfully complete most missions.  At the end of each mission you have the option to replay it but you can also proceed while the story changes a little to accommodate a failure.  You want to be successful so Nick can earn more Reward Points (also earned battling random crime) and Badges, which are used like currency to upgrade Nick’s driving, shooting and fighting skills.

 

This provides a solid reason to be a “good” cop.  If you’re a bad cop – shooting civilians for no reason, jacking everything on wheels, etc. – you don’t earn the badges.  In fact, you get badges subtracted from your total.  It’s still possible to finish the game as a bad cop, but it’s a hell of a lot harder because you don’t have the Badges to use to upgrade Nick’s skills.

 

true crime streets of la xbox review          true crime streets of la xbox review

 

Aside from the some strange collision detection, Luxoflux did a good job in the presentation department.  Not having spent a whole lot of time cruising L.A. streets I’m informed by others that the map is filled with familiar L.A. landmarks. (I did recognize the Convention Center.)  Although, most of the streets look very similar.  For the audio side of things, two words: Christopher Walken.  In fact, most of the acting is very good.  I can use one word to describe the music: horrid.  Unless you’re into the whole hip-hop/rap scene, True Crime has a grating soundtrack.  I like to think I have an open mind when it comes to music.  Zither ensembles, digereedoo solos, bagpipes, Gordon Lightfoot, Finnnish techno, Spice Girls… I’ll listen to practically anything and get something out of it but True Crimes’ soundtrack?  Not for me, thanks.

 

Rough edges aside, True Crime: Streets of L.A. is a fairly strong entry into the action game genre, worthy of at least a rental for action fans.

 

- Omni

(December 14, 2003)

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