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State of Emergency
Review By:  Christopher Coey
Developer:  VIS
Publisher:  Rockstar
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Action
ESRB:  Mature
Online:  No
Accessories:  Memory Card
Date Posted:  4-23-02

A lot of people had very high expectations of this game. Let’s face it, Rockstar’s last effort blew nearly everyone away. Of course I’m talking about Grand Theft Auto III, what many consider to be last year's game of the year. I’d say that following up such a huge and widely respected game would put a lot of pressure on the publisher. But, games now days take so long to develop, that no one could have known how big GTA3 would ultimately become while they were developing this one. If they had been aware of the success of GTA3, maybe they would have spent a little more time on this game.

It’s not that State of Emergency isn’t a solid game. Rockstar as a developer has their act together; they know how to make games. Even the concept had a lot going for it. When I first saw the previews, I was really looking forward to playing it. I did think the idea of a riot game was kind of unusual, but it certainly piqued my curiosity.

So what is the concept? The game is set in the future. A major multinational corporation (the American Trade Organization) has grown so massive, that they basically provide and sell everything to everybody. People live, work,
and shop all in the same small area. And everything in the area is owned by the corporation. Anyone familiar with the background story behind the RoboCop movies should know the routine. Evil CEOs want to control the lives of everyone, and eventually the repressed people snap and revolt. How do you revolt against a corporation who is trying to control everything? By taking away their control. Thus, the revolution. You, the gamer, take the part of one of a number of ‘citizens.’ Initially only two are available, but there
are three others to unlock. Each of the characters has a small background story which explains why they want revenge against ATO. You begin in the first area, and are contacted by a local resistance leader. From there, your
contact will send you on a number of various missions along a similar thread. They range from blowing up a certain building, to taking out a
corporation employee. Sometimes all you need to accomplish is the delivery of a package. Other times, the missions can get fairly involved: find a guy, take him somewhere, guard him against a horde of oncoming men with guns, take him somewhere safe. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Here’s where the game starts to fall apart. Some of the missions (and there are around 175 off them) are extremely difficult. Especially the ‘guarding’ missions. All too often, the person you are supposed to be protecting will fall behind, or worse, will be right behind you, but the poor camera placement will put them off screen. So, while you’re taking out the two guys in front of you, another three are off screen killing your charge. If you happen to be on the last step of a multi-step mission, you have to start that mission right back at the beginning. After the seventh or eighth
attempt at saving the same idiot who has no sense of self-preservation, you’ll be throwing your controller at the TV screen. Games often walk a fine line between frustrating and challenging. This game steps WAY past the line,
deep into the frustrating territory.

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