Review by J J N
""Who yah takin' to punk? You're under arrest""
This review is for the PC version of Urban Chaos, the game that is sometimes considered Grand Theft Auto 3, a 3D version of it because back then there wasn't any 3D GTA and this game vaguely resembles the concept of free 3D exploration and non-linear game play that provides the user with the freedom to do anything he or her wishes ... but it isn't quite the case in this game. The main character in which you control in the game is actually a black female cop in a urban city thus the topic Urban Chaos. She is considered a rookie but she provides more to be just merely a beginner ... she is the one that provides the clues to divulge the main plot.
What this game lacks is overall attention by the gaming community because, of what? I don't know. Perhaps its marketing campaign or something but I can assure you that this is an good game worthily of your time and money because it provides a good story line and mediocre game play. But the utmost important feature of this game is the ability to more around, jumping from building to building and crawling around and arrest anyone you suspect of illicit activities ... because you're a cop, darn it.
You're a Cop named Starling and that you're a rookie in terms of being a police law officer. You work for the LAPD and that you task is to run errands around the city by defeating bad guys and such. Your father used to be a cops too but he died.
Well, it turns out that this ever growing underground syndicate called Wild Cats are taking over the city with their nefarious and illegal activities such as drug and contra band smuggling and weapon trading. Also they're doing other petty things such as robbery and breaking down the moral ethic values of the city by being barbaric.
These criminals where discreet in their ability to do such illegal crimes but they eventually and gradually become more blatant in their actions to violate the law. They become to trash the neighbor hoods and breaking and burning cars and then it is reasonability to find out who is the top echelon of the crime syndicate. One enigma that helps you to uncover such plot is Roger, who is an ex-cop himself and he worked with your father before. That is the prime motives for him to help you and that you're grateful of his handing hand.
Slowly the plot undercover and you’re find who is corrupted and what not. Does this sound like a full blown Hollywood movie that would make a good TV show? personally, while I find this plausible it is without a doubt an unlikely scenario. Also, I find this somewhat mundane and that you could have guessed what the ending would have been because the plot itself is obvious. But still, I guess my credit to the script department who was able to concoct such story because it is coherent and that everything follows in the story.
It is up to you to figure out the rest of the story :)
Oh good, the game play. What you basically do in this game is that you have objectives in the game in which you must use your brain or sometimes brute force is required to accomplish the mission. The missions in the game range from rescuing some suicidal depressive person or taking down a gang of ten people single handily or recovering explosives.
The person who did the script for this game did a good job and he/she obviously did his homework because the crime closely model real life crime activities.
The characters you get to move around is Starling, who father is a cop. You move around in a 3D environment in which you can scale buildings, visit over places such as park or the dumpster or in the dark alley of some nefarious place that you wouldn't want to be in at night. The city in which you move in is just like reality. You have the business men and women who walk around and you can actually talk to them. They don't reply in audio but text. However, if you’re talking to a prostitute in the game or gangster, they will reply in audio and you can hear them in their funny little accent.
On Starling baby. She is the cop chick that knows allot of martial art to defend other opponents in the game that are armed to the teeth, while other in the game aren't armed. Your cop knows how to punch and kick, throw and back kick and arrest your bad guys. When you restrain them you're able to search their pockets which you can find medical items or ammo for your gun. Unarmed combat is essential and cool, but sometimes you need to fight with firearm because the equivocal is needed when your adversities own rifles and pistols and even hand grenade!
The cop is equipped with guns, a 9mm pistol in which you use to shoot with automatic aim. You also have bats and knives in which you can cut and slash your opponent thus causing them to bleed and die faster. Logical if you're equipped with these weapons they're cause more massive damage then the fist or feet alone. Then you have the more exotic weapon such as the remote bomb and the rifle and shotgun in which you use tub blow them away. Automatic aiming is done in the game, so it doesn't require you to have any arming skills. Same thing goes to when you're fighting multiple opponents.
One thing I don't like about the auto select for the enemies is that sometimes you're fighting one guy and you want to switch but you can't, which you end up dying or having a bloody nose (lose of health in the game)
Starling herself is a natural super woman thus she can run and jump and traverse thought from one building to another by climbing on top of the structure and then using the cable line to sling herself from one structure to another. It is sometimes fun to run around and do this but it can get boring fast because .... well, there isn't really to do besides that. You can also pick fights with civilians in which you can stomp of their heads and cause them to die, but this isn't desirable because it causes you to kill civilians thus failing the mission if you rack up too much kills .... on the wrong guy. One thing I have to complain about this game is that you can't silently snipe the gangster from far distance. You know, silent kill them so they don't know what hit them.
Ok, now to the crux of the game play as I have finished describing the main element of the game play. You may think that running around in a non-lineage free roaming environment that our can do possibility anything you want with no ramification or nothing. But you are terribly wrong if you think this type of game play is fun because it isn't. Beating up civilians is that fun because once you stomp of them and take a couple out of them out into the oblivion and even climbing on top of a car and shooting them can proved to be boring. The concept of ''free roaming'' environment proved to be faux and is just another illusion that gamers to find in this game but failed. To reiterate: this game is GRA 3 nor should it be viewed as one because you'll be in for disappointed. Instead you should look at this game at the other side of the coin: A rookie cop and rob game with missions to complete anode not mindless chaos and mayhem.
One thing I noticed is the game developers covered the gamer into taking this pre-requisite course in which you assimilate new combat techniques and driving skills. In order to even play the first stage in this game you must need to accomplish the training course in a pre-determined amount of time. Well, I think its pretty good since it gives the user a ''feel'' of the control elements in this game and how to control the character properly. I also enjoyed the part when you're doing multiple opponent combat because the sight of a women debating five muscular men is just too amusing to watch.
Sound / Music
Some gamers claim that the sound effects in games are utterly irrelevant and that it isn't of the utmost importance; but it is fatuous to assume such fallacious notion. I cannot help it but to oppose because sound effects are important in games ... yeah, spinally this game. IN Urban Chaos, the sounds in the game is well oreshestated and that everything sounds genuine, like sounds in reality.
Most of the time when you're running around you can hear the foot steps of Starling as she trashed her ways around the city. Because of the audio manger's undivided attention to the details in this game, you can actually hear the panting of Starling as she runs out of stamina in the game. In fact, there is a host of cacophony of noises in the game such as the foot steps of people walking, the honking and mechanical noises of cars and the howling of dogs as they bark at the monk. Because of the well-roundedness of this game that it provides the game with the ability to almost emulate reality. Good job!
The merits of this game also shines in the voice action department because of its well selection of voice actors. For example, Mr. Starling here, the rookie cop, is a black female and they did an excellent job of the voice. They made her voice with a New York accent and she talks back to criminal with a ''I have a BS doctor so don't lie to me'' kind of thing. Not only Starling voice done nicely but of Roger, too. Roger the secondary main character in this game ha as rogue, harden by years of close quarter combat. His voice projects an aura of authority and confident. Ok, perhaps you posit that there is only two voices done in the game? that is deadly wrong. There are criminals and prostitutes in the game that talk, too. Thugs talk in a sluggish lazy type of voice that is found common among drunken vagrants. Same thing goes to the prostitute.
I would also like to mention in the game is that the dialogue script in the game is cleverly concocted with realistic and sometimes succinct exchanges between two or more entitles. Kudos to whomever constructed such utterly clever and accurate dialogue because they don't seem to get boring and it is quick and to the point.
Something of paramount of importance: the voices for all criminals in the game is the same. That is right: their accents nor vocal tone do not differ. I guess its because they couldn't afforded to do at least 10 different voices.
Oh, lovely. The music. Like in many other games, Urban Chaos features instrumental music during the course of the game play, and not songs with vocal sound in them. This isn't surprising because the gamer needs the utmost concentration when he is having a gun fire or interrogating a drunken vagrant. I find the music track that is played for most of the game is slow and soft, something that embeds in your sub-conscience. It produces a halcyon environment in which they gamer can pay attention to what is happening at the screen.
But of course, not all the time the music will play something so soft and mellifluous. Sometimes when you're engaged in mortal combat via fire arm fight that you find yourself hearing this sound track that quickens your heart. The song track for fast and intense situation has a fasten tempo and beat to it. If my memory serves me right that this game only alternatives between two songs, and that of the clam and fast one. There is none in between.
The graphics department for this game is fine. Because of the release of the PSX and PC version, there is a definite contrast between the two because obvious there is more processing power in a high end PC thus better graphics. The PSX version is a bit blurry at times and that you can see the distinctive pixels in the game. Because of the PSX processing power, there isn't allot of polygons in the game thus causing it to have bad quality. Therefore you can conclude that even ought the environment for this game is big, you will sometimes feel lag in the game as when there are much action in the game such as cars crashing cautiously and explosions and people running everywhere.
But on PC version of the game is it very good because the graphics is solid because of the PC processor because it can handle high volume of intense graphics.
There isn't any FMV (fast moving pictures) in the game but rather there are ''cut scenes'' in which the game utilize the same graphics in game for the cut scene. There are plenty of cut-scene I the game, whilst some are comical and while others are serious. For example, one cop asked Starling to locate his car because ... well, he lost it. Other more serious ones is the man who tries to commit a suicidal act by jumping off a building.
The graphics for Urban Chaos however the fine line of being bland like plastic toys and some what of little details. The textures in the game isn't that good because you sometimes can't distinguish between the road and a office tile. Or that the tree leaves in the game is such of bad quality that it isn't much of an eye candy.
Hopefully my academia verbosity didn't deter you into thinking this game is good, because it is actually boring. Repetition of game play is common place in this game and it provides nothing more then little entertainment value because monotony kicks in after a few hours of playing this game. Since this game is pretty old, I wouldn’t recommend you to buy this game because I bet you can't find it in your local Wall-mart shelve. If you're lucky, you might find the PC version of this game and not the PSX.
Even with the good game play and decent graphics and plausible story line, I'm very redundant to recommend you phrase this game. Personally, it doesn't provide me the element of replay ability that I sought after when I purchase my games. But perhaps if you like themes of underworld syndicate and unconventional characters (he is a female cop) with some minor control issues then feel free to buy this game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/15/04
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