STAFF REVIEW of Starsky and Hutch (Xbox)


Sunday, October 26, 2003.
by ShannonX

Starsky and Hutch Box art Starsky and Hutch puts you into the roll of the 2 cops from the 1970's TV show of the same name. Fans of the TV show should enjoy the game, maybe. Remember the old saying, "you get what you pay for"? Well, this is one of those games. For $20 you can buy a relatively fun game that will hold your interest for a few days during which you can most likely beat it. There's not alot of replay value besides collecting all the collectibles and driving the free roam mode.


In general, the gameplay is very simple and easy to get accustomed to. You have to do two things during a given mission. Drive your car and shoot at the bad guys. Thats it. Your missions range from taking out some bank thieves to escorting somebody to a safe-house. In either case, all you have to do is make sure you take the bad guys out without letting your viewer rating fall to 0. You can increase your viewer rating by driving excitingly, performing stunts such as driving on two wheels or jumping off of car carriers, shooting bad guys, and by collecting view rating icons throughout the game along with other ways to improve your rating. In total though, the gameplay is very shallow and offers little replay value. While it is fun to drive around in your car, it does get old. One thing I have a gripe with is the free roam modes. They are not really free, you have to keep your viewer rating up or your free ride is over. There are 4 maps that you can do the free roam thing on. They require you get a set amount of gold "badges" before you can unlock a given map. The badges are earned for each mission depending on how high your view rating is at the end of it. You can get gold, silver, or bronze badges (think 1st, 2nd, and 3rd). As I mentioned earlier, replay value is lacking, unless you go for the collectibles. Free roam mode also lets you unlock additional cars that you can drive around, but those are only unlocked if you get keys to these vehicles. These keys can be found throughout the levels and the good thing about this game is that even if you fail the mission, you get to keep any items that you collected during the mission. This makes the game even easier than it already is though. If you happen to have a friend over, you can also play this game with 2 players. One player can drive while the other shoots the baddies. This may actually lead to a more joyful gaming experience in the short term, especially if you create "games" out of it.


Visually S&H is probably where the game shows it's best stuff. While the graphics and visuals are not what you would expect from a two year old system, they are tolerable. Cut scenes between missions are done with comic book like stills with voice overs. Explosions do look quite good and are fairly well detailed texture wise. Up close, many of the textures do look a bit blocky and even farther out they aren't what I would expect on a system this mature. But overall, it doesn't look that bad. Nice to look at but nothing fancy. Some of th e interesting graphical effects are when you shoot the bad guys car and their car starts to take on some damage. To begin with smoke starts billowing up from the car and as the car takes on more damage, you begin to see flames. Those effects look decent. The explosion that shows the car being destroyed does not look anything close to good, its actaully pretty plain and unexciting.



Sound is decent, but nothing extraordinary. Explosions sound good, as do the sounds your car makes when it peels out or slides around a corner. Collision sounds and gun shots dont really sound realistic. You just hear tiny pops and loud clunks that represent these activities. Voice-overs were done well and add some depth to the sound department, but not much. In all reality, your car and your gunshots are about all the sounds you will hear, unless you crash into another car. Some of the more humourous sounds you hear are when one of your guys gets shot. He will start saying something along the lines of "I've been shot" with very little emotion.


Suggestions:
If I were going to suggest something it would be to add a bit more gameplay depth. Just driving around and constantly shooting your gun really doesn't cut it these days.


Overall: 6.4 / 10
Gameplay: 5.8 / 10
Visuals: 6.6 / 10
Sound: 5.6 / 10

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