25 to Life

0Grand Theft Trainwreck

Trailing behind GTA is 25 to Life, a dumb, ugly, barely playable hood shooter with a mean attitude. You start out as Freeze, a drug dealer looking to retire from the scene. Before he can, he’s asked to do one more deal, but everything goes wrong. You’ll eventually play as other characters caught in the same pitiful storyline, including a gang leader and a cop. The plot gets unraveled with periodical engine cutscenes.

25 to Life plays like a linear shooter, either first-person or third-person. The controls are horrid – aiming is difficult (having a ridiculous crosshair doesn’t help), there’s no cover system in third person view, and the leaning keys are all but useless. You can just as easily shoot-strafe your way out of most situations and that’s pretty much all you do in the game. It’s just one long shooting gallery, with none of the gripping AI, level design, or spectacular action required to make it fun.

The AI is uselessly predictable and about eight years behind the times. Enemy NPCs operate with a fixed value of how many times they’ll score a hit, and nothing you do (jump, run, strafe or crouch) will change their pre-programmed aims. Their movements are limited to strafing around wildly or charging right at you during a gunbattle. Hiding behind cover or flanking moves are non-existent for their part, regardless of whether your gunning down drugged up gang members or trained police officers.

11The one notable plus in the game is the soundtrack. It features a ton of different artists from the rap scene with songs ranging from old school Public Enemy and Gang Starr. The music fits the gritty street vibe. The levels, alas, are linear and quite boring. You play from mission to mission with simple objectives that always involve reaching a certain location to trigger the next part of the story, with an army of bad guys blocking your way. A few simple stealth forays present themselves, but they’re optional and are indeed more trouble than they’re worth. You can easily shoot your way out of any problem.

Boring, repetitive gameplay, bland levels, and enough F bombs to put Kingpin to shame make this one vile action game. There’s nothing to recommend 25 to Life, unless some odd sense of self-debasement compels you to experience its awfullness for yourself. For anyone not suffering from undiagnosed masochism, and who still want to try a decent crime-themed shooter, play Kingpin: Life of Crime.

System Requirements: Pentium III 1 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 128 MB Video, WinXP

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