True Crime: New York City (GameCube) Review

By John Boyle 18.12.2005

As much as we believe that Gamecube is very much a console that can be used and enjoyed by adults, seeing True Crime: New York City play on the little console does feel odd. On the console that brought you Mario cleaning graffiti we now see people raping prostitutes and the option for you to extort the various hardworking men and women in New York City. Will the initial shock make way for a rewarding gaming experience? Let us see...

The main character is Marcus Reed, a former gang member who (after going on a minor rampage to avenge the setting up of father) joins the police force thanks to his detective godfather. However, just after becoming a detective himself, his godfather is murdered and Marcus sets out to get revenge. The whole plot is a great deal darker and a great deal more cinematic than the rather comedic predecessor. Whereas the first games hero would make a wise cracking quip when carjacked Marcus calls the criminal a motherfucker and sets about him. True Crime: NYC certainly earns its 18 certificate with language, plot and violence.

Gameplay wise this is a quantum leap ahead of "Streets of L.A" and offers a surprising amount of diversity within the relatively confining aspects of the pseudo gangster plot. The bulk of the game revolves around three basic genres: fighting, shooting and driving. Each "mission" will contain aspects of these and will take the form of basic levels, though despite basic they are challenging and can be exciting (especially the driving sections where you race against the clock to get to certain parts of the city). The controls in these sections are also vastly improved from the original, with a lock-on feature in the fighting section making the cracking of perps' heads more efficient and the lean function in the shooting section now actually being of use. Driving drives as responsive as ever (and the introduction of motorbikes adds some variety).

Screenshot for True Crime: New York City on GameCube

These missions on their own would make a poor game though, luckily we are treated to several other ways of playing that pushes True Crime: New York City up the gaming ranks. First there is a GTA style free roam aspect of play where you can just wander around the city doing what you want. The major problem with Streets of LA was that the city was bereft of landmarks and any real interest. Driving through the bland suburban rich boy paradise of LA induced comas on more fragile gamers. New York is a different kettle of fish. For starters all the landmarks are there and the buildings offer more in the way of exciting atmosphere than the box housing of LA. And hundreds of these buildings can be entered, with each having a different layout and many shops selling goods that will hep you out and also stage many diverse crimes.

The more exciting city means you are more likely to spend a few hours just cruising with some Jay-Z blasting out the speakers looking for stuff to do. And you have total control over what to do...whether it's good or bad. Be careful though as simply blowing people away will eventually get the cops on you. So to keep you on the straight and narrow we have street crimes to deal with. These take the form of pretty much any dastardly deed imaginable. Rape, arson, theft, robbery, drunk driving, reckless driving, joy riding, bar fights, mass attack, terrorism, drug dealing, possession of a deadly weapon and about a million more that there isn't room for here. Each of these will be totally different and each will play out differently. Is the crime to be found in one of the brand new indoor sections or is it occurring in central park west? Is the criminal a runner? Do they have a weapon? Are there more than one people to arrest? Will you be the first police there? Will your back up be too heavy handed and kill a potentially useful subject? All must be taken into consideration and sometimes more can come into effect.

Screenshot for True Crime: New York City on GameCube

The free roam feature also allows you more leeway with regards to making cash. Yes, good cash comes into the gameplay fold but is implemented quite well. You earn cash by picking up your paycheck and getting promoted, but that doesn't really give you that much to spend in one of the many gun, car and music shops dotted around New York. There are other ways to make money, but they do involve you delving into the dark side of policing.

Our main character WAS a gang member after all and can do nastier things to get cash. Extorting money from shop owners using the new interrogation system is just one. Planting evidence on random people and arresting them will increase your paycheck and get you promoted faster, but will bring your "bad cop" rating down and mean that your fellow officers and citizens may not trust you. There are also several characters that can lead to a mine of information and cash if you do what they want. These are that bit more inventive and varies wildly. Prepare to do everything from driving a cab to trashing apartments for your violent and sometimes alluring friends (you'll know about that when you meet the madam).

Screenshot for True Crime: New York City on GameCube

Despite all these great features we have a problem, quite a major one at that and it's the same one that dogged Streets of LA. Namely a lack of bug testing and it damn near ruins the game. Game crashing is not unheard of and the amount of snowman esque "walking in the air" parts is ludicrous. Getting trapped in doorways and walls is also in there and even minor things like the police acting like a car jacking victim when you have commandeered their car all detracts enormously from an otherwise enjoyable game.

It is possible to persevere and (by regular saving) avoid losing data regularly, but the question is will you enjoy the game enough to do that? And that is the question that takes True Crime: New York City down to a "rent before you buy" game, which is a great pity because, minus bugs, this would be a triple a title. Hopefully a third game will come with suitable bug testing, and if they continue in this vein we could have a GTA beater on our hands.

Screenshot for True Crime: New York City on GameCube

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


It's individual merits should add up to a great game but the glitches and bugs make it almost unplayable at points. When it works it works well, driving around the Bronx with Mark Ronson belting out the speakers before getting out and saving someone from a rapist is amazing but then your game freezes for the eightieth time and it brings it back down again. Not worth the bother...









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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