Starsky & Hutch

One of the most iconic images from ‘70s television is a car, a red 1976 Ford Gran Torino with a white stripe (the “Striped Tomato†as it was often called). As driven by David Starsky in the seminally violent Starsky & Hutch, this otherwise mundane car became famous. And now there’s a Starsky & Hutch game that also puts the car front and center. It’s a driving and shooting game that lifts bits from Grand Theft Auto and Virtua Cop. For many reasons, it shouldn’t work—it’s easy, it’s simple, it’s stupid—but it has a little… something that makes it wickedly fun in short bursts and for enough hours to justify its budget price tag.

3_1Though there are free drive modes, with mini-games that are unlocked, the core of the game is its mission-based story mode. The game cleverly splits them up by “Episodes.†Set up with cool-looking drawn cutscenes, and voiced by none other than Huggy Bear himself, Antonio Fargas, each is a variation of the same theme: you drive around a city shooting stuff. You drive with the keyboard and aim with the mouse (which makes it playable co-op with two very close friends at the same machine). Instead of scoring points, you need to keep your “Ratings†up by avoiding pedestrians and civilian traffic, and performing cool jumps.

With good physics, respectable graphics, an interesting city to explore, and lots of stuff to shoot, Starsky & Hutch is way better than it should be. It’s comically over-the-top. Though it lacks the grittiness that made the TV show shocking in its day, it retains its general goofiness. And sometimes you just want to blow stuff up.

System Requirements: Pentium III 1 gHz, 256 MB RAM, 2 GB HDD, WinXP

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