Smugglers Run

a game by Angel Studios
Platform: Playstation 2
Genre: Action
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 3 reviews
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What's the deal?

Well, it's kinda like a racing game, it's sorta like vehicular combat, and it plays a lot like Motocross Madness on the PC. Whatever the heck genre this thing fits into, Smuggler's Run sure is fun--and it's just the sort of every-man's game that'll zoom off the shelves come launch day. "The PlayStation 2 is going to attract a broader, more mainstream audience much earlier than the original PlayStation did," Jeronimo Barrera, the game's producer at Rockstar, told us. "So Smuggler's Run is the perfect launch title for the system because it's so easy to pick up and have fun with right away. At the same time, hardcore gamers will appreciate the fact that we just didn't create prettier versions of existing PlayStation games." With Smuggler's Run, developer Angel Studios is expanding upon existing genres, tapping into the power of the PlayStation 2 (you won't see worlds this immense on the Dreamcast) and giving us gamers one helluva joyride.

So why is it a must-get game?

Ask half the EGM staff what they think the objective is in Smuggler's Run and they'll probably mumble an "I dunno" while they zip across the game's incredibly expansive world, launch over canyons and run down hikers and livestock. Control here is so tight that even plain Sunday driving through the spectacular terrain is a blast. But in case you were wondering, there is an actual game here, too. Your goal is to grab contraband and haul it safely to its destination--without getting nabbed by the fuzz. Trust us--it's simple, chaotic fun.

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Game Reviews

Rockstar and Angel Studios aren't out to make another racing game. In Smuggler's Run players will smuggle various contraband across borders all over the world, including Columbia, Canada and Africa. The game will also include "wingmen" on each mission as well as loads of off-road vehicles. As for the maps, Angel assures us that if you can see it, you can drive to it, no matter how far away it is.

Ever dreamed of the life of "El Bandito?" Does the thought of barreling down an open (or not so open) freeway, carrying a super-illegal hot-potato get your juices flowing? Does the roar of police sirens on your tail keep your pacemaker ticking? If so, Smuggler's Run might be just what you're looking for. And who better to bring it to you than Rockstar (remember Grand Theft Auto) and Angel Studios (developer of the popular PC game Midtown Madness, whose "cops and robbers" mode also had you running from the fuzz, but in the big city). For Smuggler's Run, you're thrust into any one of three vast outdoor environments with the primary goal of grabbing the stash and getting to your destination. Easy, right?

Not so fast. There's plenty of cops hanging around the borderlands, and they aren't gonna just let you waltz on by. Since so much of the game comes down to you versus the man, the Al in Smuggler's Run is receiving particular attention. The cops will take the high road, the low road and anything in between in order to catch you and run you into the ground. Thankfully, the environments pose as much of a problem for the boys in blue as they do for you. Since their vehicles take just as much damage as your own, savvy smugglers will race past rocks, steep inclines and other natural hazards in the hopes of guiding the cops into vehicle-crushing encounters with Mother Nature.

The control is being designed with an arcade-style setup in mind-simple and responsive (including a handbrake for quick 180s), giving the gamer every honest opportunity to make his way to the finish line. As we mentioned before, there's only three principal environments (a forest, desert and winter level), but within those huge levels are 30-plus missions. Melee (race with or against a friend) and joyride modes will also be available for two players.

Angel Studios has long been known for great visuals (they've done CG for movies like Lawnmower Man and FMV for games like Mr. Bones and Ecco the Dolphin), but when Smuggler's Run launches with the PS2 in October we'll see if they've got the gameplay chops to match.

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Playstation 2 Screenshots

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