Gamereactor - November 2003

The Vice City guys bring us a highly macabre reality show .

Rockstar North (formerly known as DMA) is something of an icon within the gaming industry. Ever since their very delicious (translated directly) GTA: Vice City, the masses are at their feet - begging for new scraps. Now is the time for a new title to their flourish (not sure if that's right) universe. This time we're moving into some very violent and callous events, where there easily can be drawed paralells to movies like Se7en and 8MM.

Gamereactor was invited to Germany to talk to the developers, and to see the latest build of the game. here we were witnesses to adult entertainment, where ethics are forgotten. Psychologically testing, morally decayed and obscure grey in the darkest shades.

As Cash you're thrown into a derailed fight for survival. After, by mysterious circumstances, being brought back to life, you have to fight the best you've learned to survive. The plost revolves around the highly corrupt Carcer City, where the law is in the pocket of The Director - the man whose staging all of this to satisfy his own sick wants. The City's split into a lot of closed areas, where a number of gangs are located. In a mentally derailed realityshow, where cameras are running and remembers all details, you move into the gangs territories.

You're the hunted, and they are the hunters. With cleverness and patience you have to tunr that situation around. The Director is excitingly whispering insinuations
in your ear, while you move around in the soulless, grey surroundings. Abandoned buildings, burned-out cars and old building material is towering around you, while you sneak around.

The concept is simple: Kill or be killed - but with the expanded perimiter (directly translated) that The Director wants to see as extreme deaths as possible. The enemies are not easy to dance with (again directly translated) though. If you get caught by a group, you won't have many chances of survival. Therefore you have to be sneaky and try to get the hunters split up, after which you can take them out one by one. Sound is an essential part of the game, and have to be used tactically and actively, if you wanna succeed.

The hunters will wander around, while mumbling the painful things they'll do to Cash. A radar is watching your noise level, while also indicating the positions of the hunters. There's loads of sound effects and spoken dialouges, which is really spicing up the intense mood. Rockstar has furthermore let the audio side only consist by these sound effects. So instead of a heavy soundtrack, you're left with a load of these sounds. Around the different areas you'll find a bunch of deadly tools, some more inventive than others. These are split into four categories, which are for how mnay times you can use them, and how much noise they make. The first weapon you get is a plastic bag. It doesn't make any noise, but can only be used once. The use of it is simple, you sneak up on an enemy that has his back turned after which you press a certain button. The longer the button is held, the more brutal the poor guys death is gonna be. The extremecy is divided into three categories. After letting go of the button, you see, how the bag is tightened around the head of the hunter. His body tightens in a death struggle, while he desperatly tries to breathe.

It all ends in spasms, lifelessness and praising word from The Director. Later on you, among other things, stumble upon a baseball bat, a machete, a crowbar and rifles. All of these have some highly extreme effects, where you really canfeel your dark heart thumping (direct translation). The sound of a baseball bat smashing a guys skull, or when a machete cuts the head off of a victim, is really something that makes your stomach turn.

The gameplay centrals around these fights, where it's hard to distinguish, who's a victim. Moral dilemmas are raised, while you're being dragged deeper into this snuff universe, inhabited by poor existences, that's only trying to survive. You're being dragged by the nose through gates, that will only open, when you have completed a certain mis-deed. Freedom can be seen somewhere in the horizon but at what cost? The technical level is, as usual, of high standard. The grapics are incredibly moody filled with light and shadow effects, that's supposed to hide or show you position. The question is, if it in the end gets a tad the same the number of movements is not very big, and the gameplay not very different. One thing is sure though: it's a title that will create controversy, once it hits the street, and we will of course take part at the time."

Thanks to Goretex for submitting this article.