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Crime Life: Gang Wars

Score: 38%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Hothouse Creations
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

Right off the bat, I knew that Crime Life: Gang Wars was going to be a "winner". Despite its arrival on the Xbox, the graphics look to be dated at around the mid 1990ís. There are some cut scenes, both rendered and in-game, but they all look awful with their poorly filtered textures and rough polygon edges. The poly count is also lacking; the characters look like warehouse mannequins from a distance and mangled victims of head trauma up close. This game is extremely sore on the eyes.

Despite the large accompaniment of licensed gangster rap (the game features the band D12 minus Eminem)), the sound in Crime Life: Gang Wars is horribly executed. That large assortment of tracks is hardly ever heard and you play much of the game in musical silence. The voice acting unfortunately takes center stage, and is rife with amateur work and lousy clichťs.


Crime Life: Gang Wars takes place in a crime-ridden city that is in no threat of being remedied by the corrupt police force. As Tre, a new recruit to the Outlawz gang, you are attempting to work your way up the criminal ranks while taking out the rival gang in the city, the Headhunterz. The story doesnít get any more creative than this. Instead, much of the writing effort seems to have gone into finding more ways to incorporate the letter "z" into every word in the English language.

The game progresses through a linear set of missions that usually donít make any sense or give you any kind of motivation to do them. More often than not, they degrade into a huge, unorganized street brawl with you in the center of it mashing buttons in hopes of hurting someone.

Apart from the boring missions is a small list of other activities that you can take part in to increase your reputation on da streetz. Organized fighting is the most popular, but all this does is basically cut away the exploration parts of the missions and allow you to take part in just the awful combat system.

Other activities include shoplifting and tagging logos on walls. Accomplishing these tasks is about as boring as watching paint dry. They are far less than simple mini games and do nothing to help out the rest of this lackluster game.

And now to round out the awfulness that is Crime Life : the A.I. Quite possibly the worst A.I. I have seen to date, the enemies in Crime Life are about as intelligent as a mentally challenged kindergartener. Sometimes they will slowly walk right up into your face without attacking. Other times, they will run around looking for different people to fight without really accomplishing anything. This doesnít help either when you begin to be able to order your comrades around, which means the A.I. pretty much renders that aspect of the game useless.


Crime Life: Gang Wars isnít difficult to play because of these flaws. On the contrary, it is extremely easy, and has one of the worst cases of mandatory button mashing I have ever witnessed. You could almost get through this game with your eyes closed while ceaselessly pounding on your controller. The real challenge here is seeing how long you can play this game without either laughing yourself silly or (if youíre not used to this kind of trash) vomiting uncontrollably at the sight of such a monstrosity.

Game Mechanics:

At first glance, the fighting system in Crime Life: Gang Wars looks like it would have some depth. Youíve got attacks, a block, throws, and some special moves and combos. After you play around with it for a few minutes, youíll quickly realize that the combos are useless, you use your special attacks almost as much as your normal attacks, and the rest of the system is littered with bugs and inconsistencies.

Since most of the fights involve large groups of people, you would want the ability to quickly and easily switch between your intended targets. This is not the case here. Engaging a person is a matter of guess work, and you have no way of switching a target without disengaging, running out in a wide arc, and homing in on the victim at full sprint.

Crime Life: Gang Wars is not a good game. Itís not even a good bad game, like the ones you tell jokes about at parties or the ones that cause the downfall of companies. If you ever have the misfortune of playing this game, you will want a way to erase all traces of it from your memory, but unfortunately that technology isnít around yet. You have been warned.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Microsoft Xbox 360 Quake 4 Windows Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated