GameCube
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Version Reviewed: Nintendo Gamecube
Published By: Rockstar Games
Developed By: Angel Studios
Learning Curve: 10-20 minutes
ESRB Rating: T for Violence, mild language
Reviewed by: Drew Regensburger

Rockstar Games is notorious for it\'s immoral and otherwise just plain weird games. One of it\'s more famous franchises is Grand Theft Auto, yet it also has done some generally ok games, including Thrasher: Skate and Destroy, developed by Z-Axis, maker of Aggressive Inline, Dave Mirra, and BMX XXX. Rockstar also did the controversial riot game State of Emergency, which was pounded to death because of its horrible gameplay, yet appraised because of its graphical capability, which was to be able to display over one hundred and fifty characters on screen at once. Despite this seemingly unstoppable ability to create games of violence and mass destruction, Rockstar also produced Smuggler\'s Run, a game that puts you behind the wheel of a band smuggling contraband, yet ultimately shows how a bad guy can become good through a series of story driven cut scenes. Although the premise of the game is questionable, it also is a fun and fast action oriented driving game, with big air, and even bigger explosions.

Graphics

Amazing, to say the least. With accurate reflection mapping, and beautiful environments that go on forever, the graphics in Warzones fall nothing short of beautiful. This is both an amazing thing coming from Rockstar, whose GTA games were horrible looking in terms of graphics, and an amazing thing from a driving focused game. The environments are truly massive, and this means that the Gamecube does have some power behind it for a \'kiddie\' console. The cut scenes, while live action, also have a very stylized look that reminds me of the night vision you see over the TV about the war in Iraq. This, I believe, was not intentional, just a way to show where the story takes place, and what a rough environment it is.

Game Play

With levels ranging from Vietnam to Eastern Europe to Siberia, all of the environments come very close to the pictures you may see in books. The locations also have a very rugged look to them, meaning that they are pretty dirty in terms of dirt being kicked up under the wheels of the car, or snow being shot out in the same way. The game makes you push on, first to unlock all the cars, and then to unlock all the countermeasures, the games equivalent of firearms, except the most violent these things get are dropping a bomb behind you. Basically, the art of counter measuring entails pressing a button at the right time to lose pursuers, mostly the local law, but sometimes it is a really evil mafia group, or even the CIA (yes, they are included.). This adds an air of almost invincibility to the game, making me at least feel like none of my pursuers could touch me, or even think about touching me. The rudimentary story helps push the game along, first with you capturing a CIA operative (except I don\'t think the CIA would have vehicles with \'CIA\' stenciled on them), and soon finding out that there is weapon-grade plutonium in the boxes you are smuggling, and nothing else. I\'ll let you take it from there.

Sound

Pretty good. Voices come across clear and unaltered, while vehicles revving the engines and explosions ripping across the landscape have an almost surreal sound to them. The actors in the cut scenes are mediocre at best, but it kind of adds an air of poking the player in the ribs, that nothing is serious in the game. The cool part about the actors is that they are the people who do the voice overs in the game, so that you know that Rockstar wasn\'t being cheap or anything. The one bad part about he sound is that there is some minor swearing, but it has such a fake context to it that the result is almost laughable.

Multiplayer

The only reason I\'m adding this new section is because the multiplayer is so fun. One of the multiplayer missions has a group of packages that you have to deliver to one drop point. One of the packages is a bomb, and you need to pass the bomb to the next player within just a few seconds or BOOM and your score goes bye-bye. This is called bomb tag. Another of the multiplayer levels has you going up against a gang of people trying to take your packages, and you need to get all the packages. Overall, both of these, and the several other, multiplayer modes are fun for just a couple of friends to grab some controllers and have vehicle mayhem. It\'s like Vigilante 8 without the wacky weapons! (And I\'m serious. One of the weapons in that game was a beehive?).

Appropriateness

Well, despite the questionable moral premises, Smuggler\'s Run is actually quite the fun little car game. All you do is drive around trying to outwit and escape the people who want to capture you. There are minor cuss words, but God\'s name is not taken in vain, and there is nothing worse than d---.

Rating Appropriateness B- Controls A Game Play B Sound B+ Graphics A+

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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