The Grand Theft Auto series of games for PS2 and PC were extremely popular, and heck, they still are, with more sequels and spinoffs than the “Law and Order” TV series. It figures that someone else would make something similar. In comes “True Crime: Streets of LA”…. Now, 2 years after being released for consoles and PC, it’s here on the Mac, via Aspyr.
I love the game because of its similarities to GTA. In True Crime, you play the part of a cop who has been brought back on the force because of the rampant crime in the city, despite the fact that your character has been known for causing trouble. Once you’re introduced to the story, you’re on the streets, and ready to fight – or cause – crime.
Like GTA, you can take any car you please, and kick out the occupants. Your character runs really slow, and the city is huge, so you’ll be using wheels as your primary mode of transportation. Stealing cars doesn’t cost you any points, but running over people does. You can cause quite a bit of destruction, and can even shoot your gun out of the window while you drive. (It wouldn’t be a complete experience without that, would it?). Your car will keep cruisin’ until it runs out of gas, at which point, you can just toss it, and get a new one.
Where True Crime definitely is different than GTA is in the “good cop”/”bad cop” karma – ranking based on your behavior. Killing people without reason, disobedience, and just crapping everything up will cause your karma to go down. On the other hand – arrest people successfully, and you’ll get better points. If you become too much of a “bad cop”, you risk the chance of everyone, including other cops, turning on you. A word of advice: don’t pull out your gun unless you really need it. This karma thing is great, and offers a bit more choice to the player than GTA.
The controls for the game are fairly standard when you’re driving or running. There are keys for arresting perps or kicks and punches. You may need to read the manual or onscreen menus to learn these. Overall, it’s not too hard to play. In fact, in some fight scenes, I felt almost like all I had to do was randomly press keys on the number pad to win. But, beyond that, it’s pretty neat to control.
The game itself sets you on “missions” that advance you through the storyline. What you’ll often be doing is driving to another destination. While en route, dispatch will alert you to crimes that are happening in the area. You can then procede to the crime to arrest or defeat the perps. These scenarios are optional – if you wnat, just keep driving to your destination.
The graphics for the Mac version of the game are pretty decent, providing the player with a nice view while driving around LA. The animations are par for the course, like most other games. I don’t know for a fact what engine the Mac port of True Crime uses, but it feels much like the UT engine. The complexity of the game’s art was so good that it was a bit jittery on my G5 at the game’s default settings. I’m sure this game will give all current Macs a run for their money in terms of the graphics.
The sound was okay, but nothing ground-breaking. The characters on the street would often express their displeasure with a series of explitives in the recorded actors’ voices, but the list of these recordings must have been very short, because I was hearing the same sentences many times. Some of the voices weren’t quite the best, and got to be annoying, mostly screeching at you or saying things that were pretty lame. The cutscene dialogue was a little better, and made up for the other loss. The voices in the story are done by a number of famous stars, including Christopher Walken! Snoop Dog is said to make an appearance in an Easter Egg feature where he replaces the main character, so you can play as Snoop Dog. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it, and didn’t know where to look.
Network play on the Mac uses GameRanger, and is Mac-to-Mac only. Unless you know someone else who owns this game and a Mac, this won’t be useful to you. But don’t worry – there’s enough single-player missions to keep you busy for quite a while. In fact, the manual says that the single-player mode has 3 different endings, based on how you play. If you forget to capture someone, they could come back to haunt you later.
The Mac version of this game has a few issues that I hope Aspyr plans to iron out. The game has some trouble with crashing at certain times throughout the game. It’s happened a number of times when I was playing, and at random periods. I don’t know what’s causing it, but if it’s the game, I hope Aspyr will fix it.
So, overall, I’d say that if you like GTA-like games, this is probably a good Mac game for you to get. Make sure your Mac has a DVD drive, as the game comes on a single DVD. Install is the easy way, click and drag, like a good Mac app should be. You can buy this one on Amazon for $40.