Home | News | Reviews | Previews | Hardware
World's Scariest Police Chases
Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Fox Interactive/Asylum Studios/UDS
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Mission-Based Driving

Graphics & Sound:
At best, World's Scariest Police Chases is an average looking PlayStation game. There's really nothing here that is eye popping. The cars and areas are detailed well, but the low-resolution textures really aren't pushing the system the way other games have. For the PS2 owners, the graphics are slightly better with texture smoothing effect turned on, but not by much. The one big complaint I have is the pop up, not because it's there, but rather because it affects the game play in some areas. For example, in the third training mission, one of your objectives is to shoot targets while your car is moving. If you don't, you have to start over again. This becomes a problem because the pop-up causes some of the targets to show up so late that you miss them. This game also sports a great car destruction model, with hoods crunching, fenders falling off and engines catching on fire.

The sounds are excellent and probably one of the best parts of the entire game. First, each mission is introduced and closed with narration by Sheriff Jon Bunnell, the host of the TV show. This adds so much to the game, especially since it makes you feel like you're part of the show in a way. While playing the game, a good guitar based soundtrack, as well as siren sounds and various radio reports from other officers make the sound a real treat. The only complaint I had was that the car engine sounds were done poorly, which after hearing the other sounds, really disappointed me.

In World's Scariest, you take the role of a police officer in the city of Ashland. Each mission has you going up against drunk drivers, drivers with massive road rage, drug smugglers, and my favorite - pissed off city workers. While there really isn't a main plot-intensive story to the game, it still does a really good job of recreating the show.

Anyone who's played Driver will instantly feel comfortable while playing. You usually start each mission off with a radio call for help. Your first objective is to locate the perpetrator and chase them down before the time runs out. Once you have found the suspect, you immediately enter a pursuit mode and chase him down. At the bottom of the screen you are given two bars, a red one and a blue one. The red indicates the condition (damage) of the car while the blue indicates his stress level (this goes up as you chase them). In addition to Pursuit mode, you can also play in Free Patrol you just drive around the streets of Ashland and learn the lay of the land.

It's also worth mentioning there is a 2-player mode available with one person driving the car and another controlling the 'shot gun' position. While this is an interesting mode, you are allowed to use lethal in so few missions that the second player will often just find themselves twiddling their thumbs.

Overall, this is a hard game. While the mission objectives aren't all that difficult- the loose control, coupled with an unforgivingly cheap car damage meter just make things a pain. For example, the fourth mission requires you to run a training course lined with orange cones. I can't tell you how frustrating it got having to continue the mission because I knocked over one cone, not because of poor driving, but because of the slippery controls.

Game Mechanics:
As mentioned before, the control is bad, although not quite bordering on terrible. The layout should be familiar to anyone who has played a driving game before. The D-pad steers and controls your aiming while you are using a firearm, X accelerates and square breaks. While in pursuit mode, triangle turns on your sirens, L1 selects weapons, and R1 shoots. I found the control just a little too much to think about at one time, especially while trying to drive and shoot at the same time. The steering itself is just plain bad, with you skidding out of control most of the time, usually causing you to slam into objects and not only damage your car, but sometimes stall you enough to lose the mission.

Bottom-line, World's Scariest Police Chases does a passable job at being a driving game. It really does not do much to push the genre, but it doesn't do any damage to it either. The additions of the firearms, as well as the great presentation show that this game has a lot of potential and with some cleanup work could be a great game.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

This site best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 or higher or Firefox.