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Chase

Everyone remembers Stuntman for PS2, and who couldn’t? The game came out just a little while ago, and while it was a technically amazing game, the frustrating gameplay and long loading caused many to back off on it and as such it didn’t do as well as the developers anticipated. However, it did do well enough for companies to take the original concept, tweak it slightly and call it a different game. Example number one- Chase: Hollywood Stunt Driver. The basic premise is that you are an attractive women trying to make it big in the Hollywood Stunt business. While this sounds fun, the game needs some serious work.

I loaded up Chase and started Career Mode. I opted out of the Stunt School tutorial because of playing the demo for the game already. Basically all you do in it though is learn the basics of steering a variety of the vehicles in the game, from motorcycles to pickup trucks through a bunch of different obstacles that aren’t challenging in the least bit. After a substantial load of the games first level, which took about 20 seconds, I was in.

The first thing that I really liked about Chase was the general feeling that I was actually involved in a movie. All this came crashing down though after my car flipped upside down and I pressed the white button, and it turned right side up all by itself. Nope, I didn’t have to redo the scene because I goofed, just flip and go. After that, there wasn’t a bit of realism to be found. And don’t worry about production delays or budgets, because no matter how many times you try to beat a particular level, no one yells at you or denies you the ability to.

Chase is setup a bit like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater in a way. An oversized arrow on the top of the screen tells you the general direction to go to while a giant clock ticks backwards encouraging you to get to the finish of the area as fast as you can. Getting to the end is not as simple as it sounds, because along the way you have to ram other cars, do barrel rolls off of jumps and hit special clapboards that trigger explosions. After you get a certain number of clapboards and you do the specific number of rolls, you get points as long as you finish the whole stunt before the time runs out. With those points, you can unlock the next stunt for the current movie your working on and if it’s the last stunt in the four that you do per movie, you get access to the next movie.

Well all this is very well and good, the game never really is too hard at all. On pretty much every level, I was able to get every goal completed and made one hell of a bad movie. While Stuntman focused on a very serious and professional approach that required you to do things in a specific order, you can complete Chase’s goals in any order you wish. After you complete the stunt, you can watch your replay, but it will just make you depressed because your movie looks like ass no matter what you do it seems.

Controlling Chase is a breeze, though the collision detection needs some serious work. Often times I knew that I did not actually hit the corner of a building yet it would register it as a hit. Other times I would crash into cars and never slow down. Fortunately though, Chase makes up for this with simple to learn controls, with basically one button and the movement of the analog stick doing everything. In no time at all you’ll be able to hit the nitro booster, drive on two wheels, hit a jump and do a barrel roll over a line of cars.

Outsides of the basic level goals in Career Mode, scattered throughout the levels are trophies you can collect to access new challenges in the games aptly titled Challenge Mode. There are only three challenges in the mode, which grow stale very fast. The first mode is the worst, which has you jumping over a bus while dodging huge wrecking balls. While this may sound cool on paper, it grows repetitive because it’s so simple to perform and the only change to it over time is an increase in the number of busses you jump. Sure, you can change vehicles but it’s still basically the same thing. Alternately you can race against a rival Stuntman or you can do stunts in a stunt area, but they too don’t provide any long-term fun.

Graphically, Chase is nothing spectacular at all. The damage modeling on the car is pretty average, parts fall off and internal components are exposed, but no dents or paint scratches or things of that nature. Chase herself looks pretty decent, but the only time you can really even see her are in the replays, which are weak to say the least. The replays aren’t a bit entertaining to watch, and if it were a real movie it would be the worst one ever. The level design is one of the few redeeming qualities of the game. There’s nothing like driving a 4 wheeler through a crowded mall until you actually get a chance to do it, and that chance is named Chase.

The sound in Chase is just as average as the gameplay is. The explosion sounds seem a bit held back and the few voice-overs in the game, the director specifically, drive on the very nerve of ones existence. Fortunately Chase supports the in-game soundtrack feature, so I just turned down the sound effects and voices and turned up the music.

Chase is a game that is right in the middle of perfection and crap. Chase is one of those games that you don’t really get anything out of playing it but for some reason you do until you beat it. I’ve spent a good 6 hours with it already, finishing all the goals of the Career Mode and finishing the Challenges, but I don’t think I’m going to play it ever again. Is 6 hours worth your money? If you’re willing to spend the cash for such a limited amount of time with an average game, go for it. For those who aren’t rich, rent this one, and if the price drops way down, pick it up.

5 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

Gentle persuasion

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