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NARC Review

Developer: Point of View Publisher: Midway
Release Date: March 21, 2005 Also On: PS2 and Xbox

If you ever wondered what living in the ghettos of Detroit or Los Angeles was like, look no further than NARC. With a drug-dealer on nearly every street corner, purse snatchers lurking around every alley, and citizens not afraid to light up in front of the authorities, NARC you would think is a dark-underworld. Unfortunately, it’s much like real-life in some of America’s worst cities.

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If you’re a fan of the original arcade NARC, which just so happens to be available in Midway’s Arcade Treasures 2, you might find some enjoyment in NARC. Others will see it as a failed attempt at drug-based gameplay in a video game, taking a concept used before, like in Streets of L.A. and Grand Theft Auto, and expanding upon it.

Sure, you could call it ‘innovative’, allowing you to arrest dope dealers, then either use it for yourself, affecting your vision, speed, etc., or you could be a good cop, dropping the drugs at the station. You could also choose to sell the drugs to gain money that can go towards purchasing other drugs or items such as health. These moral decisions won’t have much affect, however, as when you’re demoted to a dead-beat cop, you can regain your position, or easier yet, just reload the game.

Basically, moral decisions will come into play like this: you either make a decision that a good cop would make, or you act as a rogue cop, making your own rules as you go along. This of course will result in a street reputation that can either result in a demotion or credibility that scares street thugs.

A thing that I found neat was that you could flash your badge at a potential perpetrator. They’ll respond in one of three ways: they may run, they may fight, or they may surrender on the spot. Hookers won’t put up a fight, but the dealers that seriously look doped up will usually pull out a weapon of some type, for which you’ll need to snatch the weapon and cuff them on the spot. You’ll need to beat them down a bit, ‘soften them up’, then use a meter to cuff them.

The world is displayed using a map on the screen. Markers will show the direction for which you’ll need to go, providing a convenient navigation system. For nearly every mission, the map will be found as handy. No more so than in the side-mission involving snipers taking out pedestrians. Your job is to use a grenade launcher to take them out on the rooftops where they hide.

In another mission, your job is to take photographs of gang leaders. You’ll need to climb a fire escape, stealthily take out rooftop bad guys, without letting them notify the gang leaders, and photograph their meeting. Unfortunately, due to the lighting, you’ll miss the jumps that are required from rooftop to rooftop. Once you overcome this, you’ll have to take in one of the leaders alive. You can do what you want with the rest.

The graphics aren’t very good for a next-generation title. The characters fail to impress, the druggie affect I guess is kind of interesting, but the city isn’t very large with few options outside of the missions. The environments are drab with little detail compared to other games. True, it’s far better than the ever-so-ugly GTA San Andreas, but that’s not a hard game to beat on a visual standard.

NARC was delayed for nearly a year. What the developers did in this time, I don’t know. Had they released it last summer though, it would have been Midway’s worst game ever. It’s still one of the worst that we’ve seen from a top-quality developer like Midway. With some of my favorites this generation (i.e. Psi-Ops, The Suffering, etc.), NARC is a budget-priced disappointment. We expect better from you Midway.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 4.5
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 6.4
Written by Kyle Review Guide