Review by Inigo Pipkin

"Gets off to a bad start. Tails off in the middle. And the less said about the end the better"

When playing a game with the name Urban Chaos, you would expect the gameplay to revolve around chaos taking place in an urban environment. You know the like, lots of people running about looting, fighting, burning and shooting. What you may not expect is things becoming so chaotic that quite unexpectedly a mountain range pops up in the middle of the city. Welcome to the wacky world of Urban Chaos then, a place where forests bloom in the City Centre, citizens wander happily through fires and the heroine D’Arci has a hard time walking in a straight line, let alone saving mankind from the attentions of the Antichrist.

Urban Chaos it seems is yet another example of a game never intended for the likes of the humble PSOne. One can only assume the intention was to create a living breathing city that rookie cop D’Arci could interact with, one that would convincingly depict the breakdown of civilisation as the millennium approaches and the time of the monstrous Antichrist is nigh. However, once again it seems that the developers Mucky Foot were lured by the prospect of extra cash from a shoddy Psone conversion of what was a reasonably decent PC game and the result is a monumental disaster that is both sickening and shameful to behold.

The basic plot and aim of the game is to explore the city investigating and arresting criminals, this will lead our policewoman heroine to uncover the plot to bring evil back to the land. In practice this leads to a very vague and unsatisfying experience as it is hard to figure out what to do next. A lot of wandering around at random has to be done to trigger new events and move the plot on. This in itself could be excused if the gameplay was superb and the environments a joy to search around, but they aren’t.

The first horror is D’Arci’s movements, she lurches constantly from side to side as the erratic camera swings off wildly in all directions. Moving her forwards becomes akin to trying to walk a drunk down a line in the road, and the end result may very well be a pool of vomit its that hard on the eyes. Then more hilarity ensues when D’Arci spots a criminal. She will automatically lock on to the ne’er-do-well and she will not let him go. No matter what you do she will stay locked on that one person until he is damn well dead or arrested. It doesn’t matter if five of his mates have surrounded you and have started taking a crowbar to her skull she will scuttle round the perp like a demented crab until the AI decides he is dead or arrested enough to be left alone.

Oh the AI, yes I suppose you could call it that. Although not much intelligence is shown. The other characters will always take the shortest route towards D’Arci. Even if this route involves walking through fire, lakes, cars, walls etc. Cars also display this tendency, watch them closely and you’ll notice how when they reach the end of the road the carry on going, mount the pavement and start battering into walls.

Of course what they may have spotted is a gap in the scenery as barely a moment goes by without gaping tears appearing in the textures and, waaaaah! There goes D’Arci into NID, that special grey area that exists outside the gameworld where poor unfortunate games characters plummet when the polygons can’t hold them. Perhaps she can keep Shadowman company down there. Its can be a surreal place the City D’Arci controls, if you manage to wobble her around the holes in the floor and stop her reversing into walls and getting stuck you can be amazed at how she can warp through iron gates, have a car drive through her and most special of all, fire a gun, even though she hasn’t got one equipped! Oh dear.

And after twenty-odd levels of exploring random city parts, parts that you understand appear to have their own snow-capped mountains, volcanoes and lush forests. After 20 levels of shooting and arresting wibbly-wobbly human protagonists, after twenty levels of migraine inducing sludgy colours, melty, bendy scenery and trying to climb out of NID. After all that, a big evil demon who farts fire pops up, you shoot him in the head and that’s it. You win, hurrah for D’Arci half woman, half crab, all policewoman.

Words cannot express how wretched this game is. From the pathetic implementation of what once must have seemed a fresh concept (black policewoman in huge city finds her destiny in a biblical struggle against evil), to the diabolical graphics, idiotic controls, useless camera and godawful AI. About the nicest thing to be said about the game is the sound is OK, sometimes. Even the plot was out-of-date by the time it limped onto the Psone. Late 2000 it put in an appearance, couldn’t even get the pre-millennial doomongering right. Utter bobbins from beginning to end.

Reviewer's Rating:   0.5 - Unplayable

Originally Posted: 12/05/02, Updated 12/05/02

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