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Maximum Chase

Platform(s): Arcade, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PC, PSOne, PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
Genre: Racing


Xbox Review - 'Maximum Chase'

by Jordan Van Nest on Dec. 28, 2003 @ 1:04 a.m. PST

Genre : Racing
Developer : Genki
Publisher : Majesco
Release Date : November 11, 2003

3:42 p.m. You glance at your watch, duly noting the time. The game's gonna be starting up soon you think, as your foot slowly applies more pressure to the gas. Who's playing again? You think for a minute. As your mind begins to wander, you notice the red light up ahead just in time, and come screeching to a stop. Killer reflexes you note with a smile. As a grin comes to your lips, the passenger door suddenly flies open and a lady scrambles inside. "Quick! Drive!" she screams. Confused, you stare at her questioningly. You glance in your mirror just in time to see two black trucks barreling in behind you, a man with a gun leaning out the window. As a bullet shatters your back window, you slam your foot on the gas, unaware of the events which are to transpire. Welcome to a world of crime and conspiracy. Welcome to Maximum Chase.

Maximum Chase is a very unique game. It is definitely a game based on a unique idea. When developers decide to create a game like this, they take a chance. They believe that their unique idea will "catch" with gamers and that the game will become a hit. Sometimes however, this plan backfires, and the gaming world decides that the unique idea is just not entertaining. In the case of Maximum Chase, many different elements must be considered. In Maximum Chase, you play an off-duty LAPD detective named Rick Summer. On your way to watch a relaxing Major League baseball game, you are suddenly thrust into a dangerous world of crime and conspiracy, and must risk everything to get yourself out of the mess. The mysterious woman who draws you into the plot is Catherine Stanfield, a woman wanted for some reason by one of the most influential crime lords in LA. Together, you must escape the pursuit of the crime syndicate as you attempt to unravel the criminal conspiracy.

The gameplay itself is the unique feature I mentioned before. Rather then copy most previous games of this genre, the developers decided to go with something a little different. Whereas this game could have been a first person shooter or RPG game, it instead resembles more of a racing game. Basically, there are two different styles of gameplay in Maximum Chase. The first is basically like a racing atmosphere. The goal is to escape from the cars that are pursuing you, and to make it to the exit point without being killed. The other type of gameplay is where you get to shoot at the pursuing cars. The goal of this style is to stay alive until your driver can reach the exit point. And that is the game's greatest weakness. Repetitiveness. This game is basically the same thing over and over, tied together with movie sequences to keep the plot going. Basically in every mission you have the same objective- escape from the pursuing cars. After doing this for what seems like forever, the fun value drops to almost zero. There are many elements of this game which left a negative impression on me.

First, is the difficulty. This game sure isn't a walk in the park. In fact, it's anything but easy. As a matter of fact, at times you just want to throw your controller down in disgust. For instance, at one point I was speeding along in a sweet little sports car. Now the only problem was that a bad guy in a semi was chasing after me. Now using common logic it would seem that a sports car could easily outrun a semi, right? Well, not in the world of Maximum Chase. The semi not only outran me, it easily moved into a position that it wanted and then smashed me against the wall. As you may have guessed I was a little mad. But this is not the only problem with the difficulty. It just seems like many parts of this game are insanely hard. I found myself having to repeat many of these levels over and over again, just to be able to clear the stage. And when you have to play repetitive levels over and over again, then it gets REALLY repetitive!

There were a few good points to this game however. For one, I thought the storyline was well thought out. It's clearly what this game is based on, and I thought rightly so. The characters are all pretty well developed and the plot seems to progress in a believable manner. In addition, I really liked the idea of being able to control a new car or gun every new level. It definitely added some much needed variety in a game of huge repetitiveness. One thing that really got me frustrated however, was the shooting entire shooting system. Overall I just found it to be completely unrealistic and extremely difficult. It would seem since there are only two modes of gameplay, that they would be fairly solid and sophisticated. However, this is definitely not the case. For one, neither of the modes is very realistic. For example, in driving mode, basically every time you collide with a car, it explodes. Even if you just gently nudge it, be ready for a huge explosion. Not only are there minor inconsistencies, but the whole of the game is just not realistic. Enemy cars seemed to be super-powered at times, and seem to always be ready for any move you can think of. The cars travel at unrealistic speeds, and are able to outrun you no matter what. If you pick up this game, you are guaranteed one thing - frustration. With the repetitiveness, extreme difficulty, and unrealistic effects, I believe that the gameplay for Maximum Chase qualifies as terrible.

Graphically, this game has its ups and downs. During the game, the graphics are fairly nice, and everything does seem fairly real. However it is during the cut-scenes that everything is ruined. For Maximum Chase, the development team decided to go with a mixture of actual film footage and animation. So, in every cut-scene there is actual movie footage tied together with animation. I have no idea why they just didn't do all movie footage. In many parts in this game, you see an actual actor walking along, but the background is clearly all video game created! This creates a huge imbalance that is extremely confusing. The two just do not look good together. And while this would all be fine if the movies and animations were top quality, sadly they are not. As a matter of fact, the movie clips are terrible. This game has some of the worst acting I have ever seen, on TV, in movies, anything. I give it the award for worst acting ever.

Clearly, terrible acting does not add to the storyline. Not only is the acting terrible, but the sound is off by a few seconds, so the words do not fit with the mouths of those who are talking. Sometimes there will be no sound and the mouth will just keep moving for a few seconds. All of this together puts a dagger right in the heart of the game. At the very least, this game needed a strong storyline to help out its lagging gameplay. However, the storyline crumbled as well, and in the end, we are left with a terrible game.

As mentioned before, the sound is anything but good. The huge problem I had with the sound was that the actor's voices did not match up with the movement of their lips. This really takes the audiences focus away from the content of what is being said, and instead focuses on trying to read what words are being spoken. The subtitles try to help, but they merely confuse things more. Overall, the sound is a huge negative to this game.

Maximum Chase is a unique game. And just like all unique games, Maximum Chase took a risk. And just like many other games that risked it all, Maximum Chase failed. There is no one element that leads to the game's failure. Rather it is a combination of the gameplay, graphics, and sound which ultimately lead this game to its demise. My suggestion? Stay away from this game. You'll end up wasting $50 for the game and even more for the damage you cause from flying into a Maximum-Chase induced rage. So keep your family safe this holiday season, and make sure you stay away from this one.

Score : 5.0/10

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