Smuggler’s Run Warzones
They say that war is hell. Iíve been in a warzone. Iíve been on the front lines as soldiers and wizards and even as girls in space suits. I know what itís like to feel the pain of battle, to suffer through the trials and tribulations that we must all face in a time of war. Iíve made my sacrifices, but yet, I still yearn to return to the battles. Smugglerís Run: Warzones does not satisfy my yearning, and instead makes me thirsty for a better game.
This is the premise of Smuggler’s Run: Warzones: You are a random guy, nameless as far as I can tell, on a mission to deliver various cargos to different destinations, all the while eluding the police and would-be thieves. You start off with a simple buggy that barely runs, and you have to work your way to the top of the smuggling industry by working for a guy whoís constantly angry no matter how successful you prove to be. To escape capture, youíre equipped with an arsenal consisting of various weapons such as acid, oil slicks (which kicked so much more ass in SpyHunter), and bombs. You can also use speed and jump abilities to help you avoid confrontations with the law. All of this takes place in Russia and Vietnam. This is the premise of Smugglerís Run: Warzones.
My friend Brett and I stayed up until 4 in the morning playing this game after we started getting bored playing Soul Calibur 2. After 5 hours straight playing this game, Iíd honestly be grateful if I never saw it again.
Smugglerís Run: Warzones is a poor game because of its premise. You pick up cargo that is usually dropped out of airplanes, and then bring it to another point. We live in an era of smart bombs that can bomb a specific apartment in an entire skyscraper, and yet criminals running this multilevel international organization waste thousands of dollars on a middle-man when they could easily just drop the contraband into the point youíre supposed to bring it. Maybe Iím using some sort of new-age thinking, or some complex business strategy, but I think the developers were just too lazy to come up with a better idea.
The big joke of the night became our personal mission briefings to each other. ďAlright, hereís your mission: you have to PICK up the cargoÖand get thisÖyou have to BRING it to a location.Ē Thereís extremely little variety in the game, and when there is, itís awful and you almost want the repetition back. A good majority of the missions in the game all have you picking up cargo, and then jetting it a good distance across the level, finally dropping it off. After that, you have to pick up more cargo, sometimes just twice a level, other times, six or eight times.
Besides the collection mode mentioned above, thereís also a chase mode which requires you to follow someone else as they drive across a level. Most of these missions never seem to have a point (though sometimes you do chase them so you can kill them). These missions are made terrible by lousy AI. Instead of going direct routes, the AI controlled cars often steer erratically, making you have to make quick adjustments that arenít always easy to pull off. In one particular mission, it took about seven retries just because of one spot where an AI controlled driver took a random 90 degree turn for no apparent reason. A few times he crashed into objects in the environment too, but continued on a full-speed undeterred. Heís a real trooper.
Last, and easily the least are the team battles. Team battles take forever to finish, and require you to gather a specific amount of cargo up while another team competes with you. Not only do these just scream filler, they usually last longer than any other portion of the game while not adding anything to it. You can steal cargo from opponents by ramming into them, but usually you end up going so slow after that youíll just lose it again. Even worse, the opponent always seems to have more guys on his team, plus you still have to contend with the police, so itís an all-out gang-bang against you.
A few of the missions are accompanied by these grainy, poorly acted movies that are actually pretty funny to watch. Instead of using FMV or something along those lines to tell the story, the developers went to great lengths to hire out a dude with a fake mustache, a guy who hasnít shaved for a few days, and a Vietnamese woman to tell the story, amongst others of course. All of these are incredibly over-wrought, and each looks like it was filmed on the same roadside. Theyíre actually fun to watch though because the actors try so hard to be convincing that they arenít and it makes for a good laugh.
So what is good about Smugglerís Run: Warzones? The multiplayer modes arenít too bad, especially the Joy Ride mode which allows you to just do whatever the hell you want. Itís pretty fun just to drive around the level, crashing off cliffs and seeing the sites. The graphics arenít too shoddy either, featuring great draw distance and some decent ground textures. I felt that the vehicles could have been more imaginative though, and they could have definitely lost some parts, instead of just the hoods when they get damaged. The music, while mainly just three tones playing over and over and over again seems like it would be annoying, but really, it fits the game nicely. Go figure.
Smugglerís Run: Warzones is not a good game, and itís not one Iíd suggest purchasing, mainly because thereís little fun to be had. If youíve got some friends around, maybe you could rent it, but Iíd still advise against that. It does feature 36 missions though, and if you alternated through a group you could probably get the game done, and everyone likes that feeling. But in all honesty, this is a game Iíd be embarrassed to own, and I own WCW Nitro.
Four out of ten