True Crime: Streets of LA

Once again, I’ve been playing a game that would seem a little different from the status quo. Sure I dislike Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City, but True Crime is in a whole different ballpark. If you havent played it or actually talked to someone who has played it, you’d probably think that is is indeed a GTA clone, but that’s not even a half-truth, it’s only a 6th-truth. Or so I’ll assume. I was never too good at math.

I must admit that at first I thought that it was “a GTA with good graphics”. and I was right and wrong at the same time. Now the graphics alone are pretty well done. The character and car models are great, though pedestrian skins are limited, and the actual environments look fabulous. But this is also one of the game’s failings. There are graphical glitches everywhere. And most of them are big ones, with people walking into the ground, and with huge gaps between sidewalks and lawns. It’s really a shame, because other than all the huge errors, the graphics are pretty polished and, well, pretty.

As for the music, you know how I feel about rap, and the game is absolutely full of it. I think only about 2 or 3 songs on the entire soundtrack don’t qualify as rap or hip-hop. Though in this game, they fit. Mystifyingly enough, I didn’t turn them off (even though the option does present itself). Somehow it just felt right.

The sound effects and vocals are great. From the explosions to the pitter-patter of pimps jaunting down the street, all is well and aurally satisfying. Actually, I can’t remember if there are footstep noises, but for the sake of making the game seem better we’ll say there are. The quotes are funny and sometimes clichéd, but hey, they work. And the way that different people act to different situations is great. When shooting a bad guy, if a lady is present, she’ll probably scream out “They’re killing everybody!” and run off, while after a frisking, any black guy will say “Didn’t anyone catch that on video?”. My personal favorite comes from picking up a health thingy: “Even my jock itch is cured!”.

Now the story is pretty sold, as far as cop stuff goes. Our hero, Nick Kang, is your typical half-Asian rogue cop whose dad was a cop and died mysteriously on duty. Then all the cliché cop story plot twists, including dirty cops, Russian mafias, conniving hookers and crazy sushi chefs come into play and we get an expected, yet fulfilling story. My only gripe is that in one chapter, there are zombies, ghosts, flaming skulls and dragons. The story was totally plausible and then they go and mess it up. And to top that, you know what they did? They passed it off as a dream sequence. Worst possible story twist EVER. Trust me guys, I don’t know much, but I know that dream sequences are bad news.

One last merit is that there are 3 endings, with a good and bad version of both, effectively creating 6 possible endings. None of them are all too long or interesting, but it gives you something to go for, and I’m not gonna complain. I like multiple endings.

Now we get to the real game. First of all, the basic stuff is generally an extended version of the PSX’s World’s Scariest Police Chases (and I love that game). By extended I mean you can get out of the car, and there is more than one type of street crime that criminals can commit. There are drive-bys, cannibals, pimps, catfights, you name it. Plenty to keep occupied.

The fighting system is pretty cool, and allows you to learn new moves and throws as the game progresses, making beating up enemies that much more fun. The only thing is that besides (final) boss characters, the enemies are way too easy, and you could easily pummel 6 guys at once. The shooting elements are great, as you can pull of bullet-time jumps, and the aiming system itself works really well. One little note, shooting a car in the gas tank will cause it to explode in one shot, and it’s very, very fun to watch. Don’t even try it if you want to be a good cop.

And speaking of good cop, there is a system in the game that lets you decide whether you want to be good or bad. Like Black & White almost. It’s a simple system, and the less people you kill, the better off you are. I don’t know if you get anything for being bad, as I played through the whole game good, but you do need to be good to get to the last few levels.

The replay value of the game is, sadly, pretty weak. If there was a multiplayer mode like in WSPC, it would live forever, but it just isn’t there. The game itself proved to be just a little too easy, with any difficult parts being way too difficult and way too rare. There are quite a few levels to go through, but most of them are short and you’ll probably be waiting for it to load longer than you’ll be playing.

The one most redeeming factor of the game is that your hero and mine, Snoop Dogg, is an unlockable character. The only problem is the grueling process of unlocking him. Around the city are 30 dogg bones, and they’re very small and very hard to find. There is another way, and it’s a simple button code.

For Cubers – R, L, (Dpad) Up, Right, Left, Down, Z, Z, A, Y, X, Y.

Anyone else, you have to look it up yourself. :p

But getting all those bones is totally worth it. I loved playing as Snoop. He’s just so hilarious. All his cussin’ and being a total badass just make that game that much more fun. Oh, and I can’t forget the pimpmobile.

Other than that, the only real unlockables are new cars and a “bonus” FMV of some CIA guy getting his groove on. Any other “unlockables” are really just new moves or upgrades for the stuff you already have, and for the most part aren’t worth the trouble.

I had it for 3 days, beat it 100%, and enjoyed doing it, but I don’t think I’ll be spending any more cash on this one. If there was something I forgot to mention, sorry, but it’s pretty late and I wanted to do this before I completely lost the urge to. After all my raving/bashing, my final score will be a B. Maybe it deserves better, maybe it deserves worse. It’s really all up to you to decide, because this is just my opinion.


The Good Stuff:
  • Good cop/Bad cop aspect adds a little variety
  • Shaking down random people is hilarious
  • SNOOP!
  • Did I see Ron Jeremy in there?
  • Plays better than GTA
  • The Bad Stuff:
  • A little too short and easy
  • No replay value
  • Dogg bones are a major pain to find
  • The soundtrack is all rap/hip-hop
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