STAFF REVIEW of State of Emergency (Xbox)

Monday, April 14, 2003.
by Queasy Buddy

State of Emergency Box art All right let?s get down to business. First off for anyone that is unfamiliar with this game, I will give you a little preview of the story. Well actually I can?t, there is no story accept for that a riot has broken out in a fictional city and that your job is to help lead the budding revolution against the oppressive Corporate police state that has long denied the people their freedom. Not much of a story but I guess this game was not intended to let the gamers develop any relation of any kind with the city nor the people living in it nor the people destroying nor even the people saving it. But I guess it doesn?t really matter it seems like today people are more intrigued in beating helpless citizens down to a bloody pulp with a stolen T.V. than a good in-game back story. (What is this world coming to?) Anyway State of emergency has three modes Revolution, Chaos and a multiplayer mode which was no where to be found in the ps2 version of the game.

By far the weakest part of the game is the Revolution mode, which consists of a large number of missions to complete in order to progress to the next city area. Nearly all missions consist of mindless simple escort, seek and destroy, and fetch quest gameplay. Not only that, but there are many missions in each Revolution mode stage. This adds up to several hours on each stage running around doing the same things over and over and over again.

Chaos mode is more or less of an arcade-style free-for-all that sends you into the streets with no set goals beyond destruction, mayhem, and a high score. A timer counts down as an arrow guides you through various randomly generated objectives, such as blowing up a particular building or beating down an elite Corporation task force. Successfully completing an objective or grabbing time pickups from defeated Corporate thugs will extend your playtime. A little bit like Crazy Taxi but with a crazy arsenal.

The addition of the multiplayer games just makes this game a far sweeter deal than the ps2 version. Up to four players can either team up or just get into an all-out death match where each player is on his/her own. The split-screen action is not as intense as the chaos mode mostly because here the framerate drops and the playing arenas are not quite as packed with screaming pedestrians. Still, the four multiplayer modes (Multiplayer Chaos, Multiplayer Last Clone Standing, Deathmatch and Survivor) do keep this game fresh and fun for a little while.

Well not much to talk about here. All you pretty much have to know is how to press the A and X button. In other words kick and punch. That is the real downfall of "State of Emergency". It?s the disturbingly shallow gameplay. Each of the identical characters has punches, kicks, and grabs that all do the same thing, and combos are practically nonexistent. Simple combos can be worked out with alternating taps of the punch and kick buttons, but repeatedly pressing either button results in an endless combo that will end only when the enemy being pummeled falls down. All melee weapons do is cause quicker knockouts, and firearms make you all but unstoppable. Rounding out your "move set" is a spin attack that will knock down anyone around you, providing a way out of tight spots. But the biggest problem of all is the uncooperative camera. It gets so annoying you will just feel like going to kick and punch people in Kabuki warriors instead, unless you want to master the art of shooting blindly around corners, in this embarrassing port. I would strongly advise every addict out there to rent this game before buying it. SOE is not worthy of your money.

The visuals are more cartoonish than one would expect from "State of Emergency's" setting, but the art style works well. Plenty of blood flows, limbs and bodies fly, and you can even beat people to death with the severed heads of previous victims. Perhaps to purposefully offset this, "State of Emergency's" populace is primarily made up of civilian caricatures and faceless jackbooted Corporate goons. The number of characters moving around onscreen at any moment is extremely impressive. You can see about 100 people sprinting around with no slowdown. Regardless of its other failings, "State of Emergency" is a stunning technical achievement. Well at least it was back in the day when it came out for ps2 it?s pretty much a straight port to the Xbox. Well Xbox graphics have been polished up a bit but other than that and the multiplayer mode the game has nothing to exciting to offer.

The people?s screaming plaints are both loud and intense and you?ll hear plenty every minute. Aside from the shrieks of innocent people that just happened to have been caught in the heat of the battle or should I say riot, you?ll hear the mad grunts of local gang members beating on Corporation officers. Bystanders are also the victims of grenades that just happen to go astray and the explosions are both fiery and loud. However, the game?s soundtrack just doesn?t cut it here or help convey the right mood for a riot in any way. But on the bright side, the option of customable soundtrack is present so gamers can play the right kind of tunes for a revolution. This makes up a bit for the lack of sound FX and voices.

I would suggest not giving us PS2 quality and using the Xbox for all it?s worth. I?m getting pretty tired of all these ports.

Overall: 5.0 / 10
Gameplay: 5.0 / 10
Visuals: 5.0 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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