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State of Emergency - Rioting on the PS2

State of Emergency comes from Rockstar, makers of GTA3 and Vice City. It's no surprise that the game involves a lot of violence, bloodshed and mayhem.

The world you're in is run by a corporation, which is harsh and controlling. You are a male or female vigilante, and you have four maps on which you can work: a suburban mall, Chinatown, a suburb, and a corporate building.


Each map is full-roam - you can go whereever you want in it. Each map is rather large too, complete with cars, glass windows to shatter, trashcans to pick up, and up to 250 running civilians, each with his or her own personality. While the graphics aren't glisteningly crisp like in Kingdom Hearts or FFX, they're still rather good. You can read the store signs in Chinatown and see the flower design on your character's Hawaiian shirt.

There are different modes of game play, all single player only. You can just roam around in a map killing the bad security guards and gaining points from short-term goals such as "blow up all enforcer cars". You can do a timed mode where you have to work through a series of objectives, gaining time bonusses as you go to keep time on your clock. Finally you can take on the almost 200-mission main sequence, where you are given specific tasks to do in order and report back at the end of each one.

On one hand, you can say that the game is very repetitive. While each level has different graphics, the tasks in each one are the same - avoid hurting civilians, kill the target enemy, gather up health. The splashes of red blood are continuous (although you can turn gore off).

But on the other hand, it's an arcade game, not requiring much thought. It's mindless fun, giving quick results and easy progress. There are selections of weapons, from billy clubs to swords to flamethrowers and miniguns. After a hard day, there is great satisfaction in the smash of a plate glass window.

Not for the young, with its constant attack mentality in city streets. But for anyone old enough for Vice City and Halflife, this is a fun, casual way to blast through a few hours of fun.

Buy State of Emergency from Amazon.com

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