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Worlds Scariest Police Chases | review | game | Lollipop

World's Scariest Police Chases

(Activision for the PlayStation)
by Shane Yeager

Who wants to be The Man? Feel the need to oppress some citizens? Crank your siren, put your pedal to the metal, and get on the road to catch some bad guys.

Straight from the people at Fox, it's World's Scariest Police Chases, developed by UDS, and published by Fox Interactive and Activision. However, the game does come with a warning (delivered by the host of Fox's show which shares its name with the game): "Due to the graphic nature of this game, player discretion is advised." The manual really pumps it as a "beat the bad guy and save society for another day" kind of game, but the reality of the game is fast cars, nice weapons, and knowing when to shoot at the perp and when to simply drive. That and the feeling of putting on the sirens just to get through a red light, just like the real cops. You've got 20 missions, mostly derived from the Fox television show. You'll oppress drug dealers and escaped convicts, and chase after everything from drunk drivers to tanks. Who cares about the civilians who might get hurt in a chase? What counts is the number of bad guys you get, not the "collateral damage."

There are 13 different vehicles in the game, all with different handling, top speed, and specialties. You'll find it easier to chase down the bad guys in the standard cruiser, but an unmarked will get closer to the baddies before you spook them. The AI isn't stupid, a variety of weaponry is at your disposal, and the environment is decently done. I particularly like the damage memory feature, where you can rear-end something once, and be reminded of it much later by the rear bumper trailing along.

The campaign modes are acceptably diverse, not just the standard "Hey, go catch that speeder." If there's evidence lying on the street, you've got to drive over it to pick it up. Disarm the bombs by stopping beside them. One may go off and then you and your vehicle will be a mess. Get the witness to the courthouse before it's too late, with gang members ready to "drive-by" if they find you. The driving aspects of this game are very similar to Infogrames' Driver 2. I expected the two-player game to actually have the second player as the criminal, but he just plays a minimal role by controlling the weapons. If you hit walls, you crumple your vehicle, and too much damage sends a cloud of black smoke rising above your engine. Sooner or later, the car is just going to quit, and your mission ends on a sour note.

You may have to qualify before you are allowed to take that cruiser out. That means a couple of speedy laps around a training track. Don't hit the pylons, weave quickly through the course - the clock is running. Takes some practice, but once you've got the controls down, you'll be ready to show the wimps out in CA how they should've stopped OJ.

The game is graphically solid. The city environments are well done and the camera allows for the three standard views of the action: First person, just off the rear bumper, and back further from the rear bumper. The sound of the game is excellent: Incessantly wailing sirens, the crumple of the car against a lamppost, brakes screeching you to a halt. Plus, you get the occasional, "Where the hell are you?" from the police dispatcher.

World's Scariest Police Chases is hoping to draw fans by using the name of the television series. No car chase aficionado should be disappointed by Activision, in this case. While based on the show, this game has enough high-revving power to draw racing fans even without the shameless plug. Overall, it's one of the most entertaining games of the genre, right up there with the Driver series. Your choice of which to play is pretty much determined by whether you want to be the cop or the robber.
(www.activision.com)  


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