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PC Game Review: True Crimes – New York City

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True Crimes: New York City has you playing as an ex-gangster, turned cop. Your mentor has just been killed and you're investigating the murder. Plus when you see the initial cut scene you've obviously just had a bad day!

To make matters worse, your dad is a crime boss who's just been imprisoned and wants you to "take care of business" as he knows he can trust you.

You start the game by tracking down and taking out a major drug syndicate. You then progress through four other major cases with a number of smaller side missions as you go.

At the start of a new major case you're given a lead by your police pals. As you progress through your missions, leads come from your interrogations of "perps."

During the game play you get calls from various people on your cell phone, as in Grand Theft Auto games. When you take the call you're offered side missions. Side-missions can earn you bundles of illicit cash.

A side mission could have you tail two corrupt cops who are after a pimp, and wait for them to carry out a crime. Lo and behold when they start beating up the pimps, you can go ahead and arrest them.

The game has a good plot. Although when you compare it to True Crime: Streets of LA, the story line does seem quite disappointing, as the other game had a stronger story.

The game play itself is pretty good too, because of the impact of a number of useful additions to the game engine since True Crime: Streets of LA.

Right from the start you get weapon aiming help and you're given the ability to learn new styles of fighting and not simply new moves.

In this game, you start out as a detective, grade five, and progress through grades four, three, two and end up as a detective grade one through promotions you receive for solving the different crimes.

Further additions to the game play include the ability to go out and buy and store weapons.

As a detective you start with a billy club, 9mm pistol, or a tazer. Through promotion you gain the ability to use more and more aggressive weaponry, such as hand-grenades and M16s.

You can also buy cars although I must admit I ended up taking taxis everywhere. It was much easier as my 2GHz PC didn't handle the frame rate too well when I was driving myself.

One nice touch, you can plant evidence on civilians and arrest them for more career points. You can check car boots or trunks for contraband, and use any evidence found for more career points or simply pawn it for more money.

You collect a paycheck from the police station to buy more cars or weapons. As you're promoted, you get access to better police weapons and better vehicle maneuvers such as nitro boost and 90- and 180-degree turns.

Crimes are not just committed outside, you will get into bar fights, store hold-ups and domestic disturbances. Remember your dad, who was imprisoned? You can get illicit cash doing favours for him. Or you can do favours for a cabby or pimp for the same sort of rewards.

The graphics and cut scenes are quite good, although a little gritty when you're outside. Looking at the graphics, the grittiness may be down to the poor frame rate.

The levels are also repetitive, it seems like you're doing something very similar for each major case. During each case you go to a place, you fight some goons, you interrogate the "perp" – then you've the option of shooting him, knocking him out or arresting him. Shooting him or knocking him out gives you bad cop points, (as in True Crime: Streets of LA) whereas a successful interrogation gives you a lead.

If you make a mess of the interrogation you can do a side mission. The side mission reward is that rather than give you money, you get information, which you would have got from the interrogation.Take the opportunity to extract cash from all manner of people, plant evidence, do "favours", beat people up. You're one of New York's finest or worst – you decide.

The sound track used in the game is fine. Although it was all licensed and I don't think any of the music was made for the game — unlike True Crime: Streets of LA.

In conclusion, I enjoyed playing True Crimes: New York City. My only niggles, and really they are fairly minor, is that I felt let down by the poor frame rate and repetitive game play.

True Crimes: New York City is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs. This game can also be found on: GameCube, PS2, Xbox.

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About Jim Symcox