Review / Test:
Bad guys are tough and mean, streets are no longer safe, and crime rates are higher than ever in Los Angeles. To stop the corruption spreading the E.O.D. was created, The Elite Operation Division, in other words: free kick-ass party. Nick Kang likes it this way, and his rod yearns to do the job well. So he took the badge and he's ready for the big clean.
True Crime: Streets of L.A. is an ambitious game, a glance at the never-ending credits is enough to foresee you'll get plenty of everything. There's a full metropolis of 250 square miles to prowl and that's simply huge, you realize it after walking for a while and your dot on the map has hardly moved at all. There's also an amazing amount of speech to give life to characters from a not the least amazing cast of actors including Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman, Michelle Rodriguez, CCH Pounder, Michael Madsen and more. Wowow ! An that's not all, there are tons of shitty music tracks too. Woops, yes, the music is shitty, there's an abusive amount of rap, and that's ugly, even the rest is quite dull safe a couple of Megadeth's songs.
Then there are many missions following a storyline branching in three paths for three different endings and several alternative missions and outcomes. You'll also meet a bunch of exciting people like redneck criminals and foreign gangsters. In the course of your duty, you will have the difficult responsability to steal heaps of different cars and to crash them in a hundred different ways. Arresting criminals is priceless. You'll also stop by many training centers to practise your kung fu, driving or shooting skills to learn numerous new tricks and gain power-ups. Yep, you got it: True Crime is a game of quantity. The more, the better. Or is it ?
Well, not exactly, even though there's a lot to see and to do in the game, the main mission mode is not very exciting. Missions are short and easy, some really too much in that regard, it'll take you hardly a few minutes and one attempt to succeed. Even if you fail you can pretty much continue normally. Alternate paths or cinematics is also a poor reward as the former one more or less obeys the same play conditions, and the latter one can easily be seen by replaying the level. Easy games can be interesting too, but the problem here is the missions themselves are not very thrilling. It's amusing at first but being always the same and quite restricted you don't have fun for long.
You are mostly asked to drive from a city's location to another in a limited time, to follow a car stealthily (it can be tedious as it's control by a distance gauge), to shoot down bad guys indoors or outdoors, to fight bare fist or to sneak inside some important places (a SM temple ?). Shooting is ok, but shallow, you shoot on everyone who's coming and they fall like dead flies; you can then collect their machine guns which, unlike in movies, are always short of ammo. Fighting is the same kind of basic action which is not necessarily that fun, you just press buttons to kick and punch, there's little subtility, just a few special cool attacks if you bother using them when your opponent is dizzy. The surroundings during these events are highly destructible.
You'll play a few weird missions, including the one of The Ancien Wu's, totally out of place in this game and story. Basically, despite various action elements, the action is very similar all over the game so that one is not as much interested in finishing it than going for a ride or a walk in L.A. in the free roaming mode. In this mode, which is actually accessible from some normal missions, you have to solve simple street crimes and, unlike the story mode, you're free to do whatever you want. Arresting criminals and preventing dangerous acts to happen will be rewarded to you with bonus points, while killing civilians will decrease these points and arouse civilian unrest. When your points are green and positive, you're a good bad. When they are negative and red, you're a bad cop. It doesn't make much difference except you'll follow a different path in the story mode. However, when "civilian unrest" glows red, cops and more will go after you in the free mode only. But as soon as you died, everything is back to normal, so here too it's a limited concept.
Good cop.. bad cop.. after all who cares as long as we have fun ? And in the streets, you do. You can go anywhere in L.A. by foot or by (stolen) car and do all sort of crazy things. Aah, I especially like stopping criminals by throwing my car on them at the same time that I jump out of it, and then come to ensure everyone is lying dead. Well, it sometimes includes some civilians, but hey, it's only a video game; that's why they become transparent and disappear in the ground after a short while and the same guy you just bumped off is now walking beside you... creepy. I also enjoyed, once I got the necessary power-ups, do crazy thing with my car, like driving on the roof (is this a bug or was it really intended ? I can't stop wondering), falling off from bridges, going the wrong way to collide with other cars. But what I enjoy the best, is to shoot at cars. Your bullets destroy them little by little, unless you shoot in the oil tank which ends the car's life abruptly with a nice explosion. Making chain reactions by lining cars is a good deal of fun.
Yet, there's one problem. Or rather a bunch of them. First off, graphics are not really good, less for sure than in the missions, they vary between ok and dreadful. It lacks details, textures, it gets fuzzy when you come near and model characters are quite square. On the other hand, we must not forget that this huge town is fully recreated, quite well peopled, with a decent flow of traffic. It was predictable the time spent to reconstitute L.A. couldn't be invest in making high quality graphics or the game would have come out in 2010. Still, it is a drawback as the massive amount of bugs is. I've never seen a game with so many bugs, I'm not going to make a list of them (I did it already in another site), just be aware that they exist, that they happen quite often and that they are weird (polygon problems, frame by frame, image upside down...). Lastly, street crimes that you have to solve are not diversified or elaborated enough, too bad.
Despite these troubles, True Crime is a very enjoyable game, or at least, as long as you're not involved in a mission. True Crime is like two different games, one is an improved and simplified version of the disastrous Spider-Man, it's the mission phase, the other one is constraints free and fun oriented, it's the patrols phase. The mixture of the two has not an unpleasant taste, each game counterbalances the other quite well, but it could definitely be better. The missions need more fun, they are way too repetitive and simple, "drive, fight, shoot", that's just how the tagline says. And the patrols would deserve better graphics, programming and importance in the action. They rarely look important, but it's where all the fun of the game really is. Given the rareness of such a title on GameCube though, I'll advise all mature players to check it out, going crazy in the virtual streets of L.A. is all too good.
Samurai Nintendo thinks this game is for adults or teenagers over 16 only