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True Crime: New York City

Score: 66%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Luxoflux Corp.
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Shooter/ Mission-Based Driving

Graphics & Sound:

As long as there are popular games, there are bound to be “copy cat” titles, the results of which often vary. Sometimes you’ll get a product that improves on aspects of the originator, while with others, you’ll get a sub-par product that frankly, just doesn’t seem to “get” what made the original popular. True Crime: Streets of L.A. was one of the first clones on the market after Grand Theft Auto hit the scene. And, while it didn’t exactly feature the same level of polish and craft, there was enough good there that made you want a sequel -- if for anything else just to see what the developers could do a second time around. The second time around has come and well, things haven’t turned out all that great.

One of the first things you’ll notice in True Crime: New York City is how massive the city is. With over 20 districts to patrol and perform tasks in, it will be a while before you have covered the entire island. Of course, there is a bit of a trade-off since most areas look rather bland and tend to look very similar. So, unless you know NYC like the back of your hand, expect to get lost often.

This blandness stems into the general populace of NYC as well since nearly everyone you run into looks like everyone else. It is a little too much to ask for a massive cast of extras, but variety is always nice.

One the plus side, True Crime: New York City puts together an excellent soundtrack featuring tracks by The Misfits, Danzig, Redman and Blue Oyster Cult. You can even rank songs to make sure you hear more of what you want. The game even manages to put together a notable voice cast featuring Lawrence Fishburne, Mickey Rourke and Christopher Walken. However, like various other aspects of the game, audio is riddled with small problems, namely random skips and cutouts. Also, the voice cast puts in a decent performance that is hampered by a terrible script, due mainly to the excessive (and juvenile) use of profanity. I’m not against a four-letter word every once in a while, but there is a point where it gets ridiculous.


True Crime: New York City follows a similar setup as the last installment, only moving the action to New York rather than Los Angeles. You take the role of Marcus Reed, a former gangster turned cop who is out to make a name for himself by taking on the ambitious goal of ridding New York of the four major crime syndicates that infest the city.

The game begins with a short introductory mission showing you the ropes and then transitions into the game’s main story-arch. Cases are presented as one large story that is broken down into several small missions. Missions don’t feature much in the way of variety and will quickly become repetitive. Nearly every mission involves tracking down some petty thug, entering a quick shoot-out/confrontation (which is usually followed by some chase scene) and getting him to spill the beans on another petty thug. Eventually, the tips add up and you’re off to repeat the same steps, only you’re taking down a crime boss rather than generic henchman #1138.

A few side-missions offer a little something different, though most are even more formulaic than the last and give you that, “…here we go again” feeling.

Between the story-moving investigations, Reed can freely roam the streets of New York City and participate in other activities. These missions give you a choice as to how to play; allowing you to be a good cop and do the right thing, or allowing yourself to become corrupt. Both paths are mostly for show and don’t alter the story in any significant way. Each leads to the same rewards, which are better cars, money and weapons; the path is just different.


The streets of New York have a reputation of being rough; or at least that’s what I’ve heard, because True Crime: New York City doesn’t come close to living up to that reputation. Missions are so repetitive and short that you can easily work your way through the main story (without the side missions) in a weekend of sporadic play.

A majority of side missions are called in over the radio and require you to respond. You’re not required to respond to every one, though you will miss out on various upgrades if you don't – something that could hurt your chances for success later on. Or, if anything else, you won’t need to. These missions aren’t too difficult, though some will have you traveling clear across town, which can become a hassle considering the labyrinthine streets of NYC.

Game Mechanics:

While a large part of True Crime: New York City feels like your typical “GTA-clone”, it does manage to fix one problem that GTA has never seemed to get right – aiming. The targeting system is very easy to use and allows you to hit small targets as easily as you would large ones. You can even use the system while driving – so it is possible to blow out a suspect’s tires with a well-placed shot.

A wide variety of lethal and non-lethal weapons are available for use. These include standard shotguns and pistols, as well a beanbag guns and tasers. You’re free to use any means necessary when apprehending a suspect, though using lethal force when it is uncalled for will award you with negative rep. Switching between weapons is touchy and can present problems when trying to quickly switch between guns. So even if you don’t intend to use lethal force, you could very well end up using it due to a glitch.

Driving mechanics are way off and feel unnatural even for an arcade-style game. Cars glide along the surface with little to no resistance. Also, you can pull off a number of flat-out goofy stunts while driving that makes intense high-speed chases seem like the car chase from “The Blues Brothers” (Oh, the fun I could have had with Custom Soundtrack support…). Some car tricks are actually pretty useful, like a bash move that lets you spin out cars, though the collision aspect of this move isn’t the best – a light tap is usually enough to do it.

If you look deep enough, there are aspects of True Crime: New York City that hold promise. However, for every glittering diamond of hope there is a larger lump of dull coal. Ultimately, glitches are what prevent the game from reaching its potential. Some, like Marcus becoming stuck on objects or people walking through things, are forgivable. Others kill any fun you might be having with the game. Noteable game-breaking glitches involve random freezes or even glitches that make missions unplayable, both of which require a restart. Things like this make it hard to recommend True Crime: New York City.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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