World's Scariest Police Chases
Based on the popular TV show, Fox's World's Scariest Police Chases is being presented like an extra TV episode on the PS. Gamers can play as either the cops or robbers, so to speak, in over 50 single-player missions and four different multiplayer matchups. The game is looking very similar to the hit Driver, which is to say it should be loads of fun. Look for it sometime this winter.
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In a world where bad guys like to steal good cars, sometimes the only thing between death and a life behind bars is the steely nerves of hometown cop. Okay, okay, I admit that it doesn't read as well as it might sound if it came from a gravely voice narrating over scenes of stolen cars ramming unsuspecting commuters on their way to work. And that's what Activision's World's Scariest Police Chases is all about -- lots of fender-crunching, tire-squealing, pedal-to-the-metal action as you try to out-ram, out-shoot, or just run down a city full of bad guys.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
We've all seen the show on television. Packed full of car crashes, high-speed-pursuits and bad puns, World's Scariest Police Chases is hard to miss, even on Friday night. And once you start watching it's hard to turn off, it's kind of like... well, a car crash, you have to slow down to see what's what.
The game goes a long way to emulate the show, even bringing in retired Sheriff John Bunnell to introduce the game and each mission, but unfortunately never really hits the mark. World's Scariest features 20 missions, 13 vehicles including patrol cruisers, under-cover cars and even a tank, plus a decent list of weaponry, but just doesn't have the feel of a full stand-alone game.
You can play the game in pursuit mode, single mission or free patrol -- unfortunately there really isn't much difference between the three. In pursuit mode you make your way through a series of missions that first train you how to pursue then have you chasing down everything from a DUI suspect to someone planting bombs all over the city. Single mission allows you to replay any of the missions you've gotten to in the pursuit mode. Free patrol sends you around the city looking for law-breakers and pulling them in sans plot.
Typically the object is to get the bad guys to stop fleeing. You can do this by either following them until a time bar fills up or by ramming their vehicle out of commission. Unfortunately, in World's Scariest you drive what, at times, behaves like a glass patrol car, not a vehicle outfitted with ram bumpers and a steel body. Smack into the bad guy's car and more times than not your car is more damaged than his, not that it affects either cars' performance. To top it off it seems that in the town you patrol everyone has it out for you. Don't be surprised when commuters lock their brakes in front of you or veer into you for no apparent reason. Finally, despite the fact that these commuter run-ins really ding up your patrol car, they don't seem to affect the bad guy at all.
Unfortunately gameplay isn't the most lacking in World's Scariest, instead it's the game's controls. Steering what should be a very sensitive, chase-proven patrol car is more like trying to maneuver a barge. Sometimes the controls are overly sensitive and at times they don't seem to do enough. Besides steering, you control your speed with either a gas button, brake button or reverse button, again not a whole lot of precision.
The game does offer a unique two-player mode, but doesn't let you use it enough. In either the single mission or free patrol modes you can choose to let one player control the movement of the vehicle and the other activate the siren and aim and shoot the weapons. It's a lot of fun, but you can't play two-player in the only really important mode, Pursuit Mode, where you can save your game and actually advance the storyline.
You'd think that by now almost every programmer would know how to make games for the PlayStation. I found myself gritting my teeth as I waited through the painfully long load times and grimaced at the all too frequent pauses in mid-play. The middle of the road graphics also tended to bleed into one another and even have a fair amount of warping -- ponds seemingly hovering across roads and tunnels disappearing for seconds at a time.
While I enjoyed the constant background chatter of the police radios, the rest of the audio is fairly repetitive, with a single sound for tire squeals, another for the engine racing and a third for a crash.
The game does feature an above average play back, aptly titled the "action replay." Instead of just following your car around during replay, it switches from a pursuit view, to an in-car camera view (complete with date and time) and finally to a surveillance camera which actually pans and sputters occasionally with interference. It was almost more fun to watch the playback than to play the game.
The thing that makes this game so bad is that it could have been so good. Improve the graphics, touch-up the controls and fix the multiplayer mode and you'd have a decent game. Throw in some more options like spikes to slow a bad guy or the ability to command the chase from police HQ and you'd have an over-the-top game. Of course they didn't do any of those things, so I'm gonna have to say that World's Scariest Police Chases is more like World's Most Annoying Police Chase Game.