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Lunabean's True Crime Streets of LA Review

True Crime Streets of LA
Buy True Crime Streets of LA
Strategy Guide: LB Strategy Guide
Lunabean Rating: 7.0
Platforms: PS2*, GCN, Xbox, PC
Release Date: 11.04.03
ESRB Rating: M - Mature
Official Site: True Crime Streets of LA
Purchase Game from Amazon.com: PS2, GCN, XBox, PC
LB's Ad-Free and Printer-Friendly "True Crime Streets of LA" Walkthrough: Only $4.95
Still Stuck?: Lunabean's Forums
Online Play: No


*Designates which platform we played in creating the guide

Review


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A hefty dose of GTA3 and Vice City, with a dash of The Getaway and Max Payne, True Crime disappoints on the missions but shines in free roam.

True Crime Streets of LA is a fun, yet repetitive, Grand Theft Auto-esque game from Activision. Actually, that's all you really hear about: the similarities between it and GTA. However, where GTA is an almost completely free-roaming/open-ended experience, True Crime is more mission based ala The Getaway or Max Payne.

You play as Nick Kang, LA officer (Elite Operations Division), in a magnificent digitally rendered 3D LA, over 400 square miles of it. Just like in GTA3 and Vice City, you can run around the city on foot or drive around in one of many cars that you either own or "comandeer" (True Crime's way of carjacking). There are many missions that aren't timed and therefore allow you to drive around in free mode solving crimes (I'll get to that later) however the other missions are either timed or are simply on-foot missions.

The missions break down into 2 basic categories: (1) Driving Missions and (2) On-foot missions. Driving missions include, drive here in "x" amount of time, escape bad guy chasing you, tail bad guy but don't let him see you, and chase and destroy bad guy. On-foot missions include, sneaking into "x" building, fight "x" bad guys, or good ol' shoot 'em ups (ala Max Payne).

There are 8 Main episodes, each of which consist of about 7 missions. There are also 4 Alternative episodes of about the same length. The missions in general are relatively easy and repetitive. If I would've been forced to do one more combat/fighting mission I would have screamed. In fact, the missions are quite boring and often over within a few minutes.

However, where this game really shines is in the free-roam part of it. Certain missions are not timed and therefore allow you to explore the city; either on foot or in the car of your choice. While you're out galavanting around, the police dispatcher tells you of crimes in your area. You can choose to go solve them or ignore them. Crimes range from muggers, to hit and runs (Holly Cherry - Halle Berry), to stolen priceless cars (Jay DeLeno). You can solve crimes by either shooting the criminal dead, or, taking the more prudent course and beating them up then arresting them. How you deal with each situation affects your Karma Meter. The benefit of solving crimes is that you earn Reward Points. For every 100 Reward Points you earn, you get a Badge. Badges allow you to enter one of the 27 upgrade facilities (every location is in the walkthrough). Upgrades are a very important part of the game and breakdown into three categories: (1) Weapon upgrades like better auto-aiming or a laser sight, (2) Combat upgrades such as new finishing combos and (3) Car skill upgrades like peeling out and doing 90 degree turns. Solving crimes and upgrading is a fun, and necessary, part of the game. In fact, even if the missions weren't there at all this would be enough for a game in and of itself.

What I've failed to mention, thus far, is how amazed I am with LA itself. It is really quite amazing the amount of detail that went into this game. I've never been to LA myself, but now I think I can get around pretty easily...well, the traffic is probably worse. Each and every street in True Crime is labeled and cross-streets appear as you drive by them. The city definitely takes on a life of its own and the many pedestrians and other NPCs do crack you up with witty comments and odd gestures.

There is also an unlockable character in True Crime: Snoop Dogg. Yes, after you have completed the game you can go on a hunt for 30 golden Dogg Bones scattered throughout the city (every location is in the walkthrough). Once you do that you unlock Snoop Dogg. You get a tricked out and hydraulic bouncy car and as Snoop you are out to fight crime...go figure.

In addition to Snoop Dogg, this game does have a ton of replay value, and in fact, I had a better time playing through it the second time as I knew what upgrades to get when and therefore kicked some serious ass with my hollow point bullets and crazy driving skills.

In the end I really did like this game. And, that says a lot considering that most of the missions are mediocre at best.

-Jeremy


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