Players take the role of an urban underdog with a potential for greatness in this violent, mature adventure from Konami of Europe. In the role of Tre, the new leader of a once-great gang called the Outlawz, players will battle to rebuild their gang's reputation and reclaim its dominance. In addition to street fighting skills and streetwise strategy, players may have to rely on their hearts from time to time as well. The game presents Tre with a series of moral decisions, and the choices he makes will affect the world around him. While the main storyline can direct players to important characters, places, and missions, Crime Life: Gang Wars takes place in an interactive, freely roamed city that encourages exploration, experimentation, and exploitation.
Want to be a gangster? Want to discover your hard ass side as you mow through your enemies, popping caps and busting wrestling moves to become the bad mofo on the streets? So desperate for this experience that you'll tolerate British hip hop, barely recognizable voice acting from D-12 and a fighting system that's space bar tapping good?
If so, you'll want to pick up this game. That is, if you haven't ever laid eyes on the GTA series, and are happy with a cheap knock-off with half the production values.
Yeah, Crime Life: Gang Wars is really bad news for gamers everywhere. (Oh yeah, you know that 'z' makes you the man.) True, you'll spend plenty of time being randomly violent in order to gain respect in your new gang, the Outlawz, unfortunately you'll do it with just two attacks and a block. There are modifiers and special moves that come out once you've ramped up your adrenaline meter, but come on, two attacks? What is this? The early 90's? The Mario Brothers were more bad ass than your character. Oh, wait, I forgot that if you press the two attack buttons together, you can throw your opponent. Does that make the fighting system any less lame? I'm afraid not.
Things do get pretty amusing however, when both the animation and fighting systems are put to the test during massive gang on gang fights. The characters blend into one another in a sea of waving arms and legs, and good luck trying to switch between characters with any measure of speed. Because the game is basically a process of you running around the world and trying to complete your next mission as you are attacked by wave upon wave of Headhunterz, you'll get to see these orgy-like scenes frequently. Are they making love or war? You decide.
In Crime Life: Gang Wars you play Tre, a wannabe gangster who is proving to his friends just how cool he is by making lots and lots of trouble on the streets. You've just joined the Outlawz, who are at war with the rival gang, the Headhunterz. No, the Headhunterz aren't renegade recruitment agents, though that might have possibly been more interesting than the clichéd rivalry that Konami has engineered in this game.
There is an impressive list of trouble you can get into, smash and grabs, street fights, shoplifting, drive by's and the list goes on. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of difference in practice between the various missions and if you're playing using your keyboard, prepare to wear out that spacebar. You can also play this game with the controller from the XBOX, which in theory should be plug and play. Unfortunately that was not to be, and configuring the controller was one of the more challenging aspects of playing the game.
Visually it's not up to much either. The camera is jerky and keeps the action just out of sight, which makes for a frustrating experience. The graphics are half baked at best, with little detail and texture being used randomly and at times, sparingly, and the characters are confusingly bad. The Headhunterz are supposed to be lead by D-12, unfortunately someone forgot to make them actually look like D-12. On the plus side, there is a decently large world to explore, but unlike the GTA series this game will leave you longing for, you can't interact with them. It should have been more, could have been more, but just isn't.
Oh, and if you were looking for a story line, don't bother. Your character is as interesting as cardboard, the voice acting from all parties is exceptionally dodgy, and your motivation for all this violence is so flimsy that even a lobotomy patient would have a hard time going with it.
Unfortunately Crime Life: Gang Wars is just another game jumping on the rap/hip hop bandwagon hoping to make a few bucks. Even the developers didn't seem that into it, though kudos to the scriptwriter, who I must assume was attempting to make an ironic point by tossing in every gangland cliché that day time television could think of.
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