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Xbox Review - 'Bad Boys: Miami Takedown'

by Nathan Mourfield on Oct. 16, 2004 @ 5:06 a.m. PDT

In Bad Boys: Miami Takedown, a new drug has emerged in Miami, and its use is spreading fast. As key members of the Tactical Narcotics Team (TNT), players take on the roles of either Mike Lowrey or Marcus Burnett and must stop the highly organized cartels that are flooding the market with this new drug. Players need to move fast to make sure the TNT cops are not DOA.

Genre: Action
Publisher: Crave
Developer: Blitz Games
Release Date: September 14, 2004

Aside from some notable exceptions, games that are based on movies or television shows often do not live up to the hype of their theatrical counterparts. Blitz Games' Bad Boys: Miami Takedown is not one of those exceptions.

Developer Blitz has been responsible for past winners such as Barbie Horse Adventures: Wild Horse Rescue and Fairly Odd Parents: Breakin' Da Rules, while publisher Crave Entertainment has brought forth titles like Kabuki Warriors and Future Tactics: The Uprising. The combination of these titles basically yields "Horse Rules: Kabuki Uprising," which does not bode well for Miami Takedown.

The premise of the title is what would be expected from an action game based off of an action movie. As the two Tactical Narcotics Team (TNT) detectives, Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, the player’s mission is to put a Russian crime syndicate out of business for good. Through each of the missions, the player controls one the two characters, although there is no choice about which one. On some of the missions, the other character is an assisting NPC, but generally, missions consist of the player serving as a bullet magnet while the other character spouts wisecracks.

The controls of the game are of the standard shooter layout expected on an Xbox title, although I've found that the default controls are a little sensitive, and for some reason, the y-axis on the right thumbstick is inverted. While I was a little disconcerted by the initial settings, both of these issues can be adjusted in the options panel.

There are several "hook" concepts in the title: unlockable mug shots, shooting range challenges, and the bad boy meter. The unlockable mug shots are self-explanatory, but the shooting range challenges are not quite as "challenging" as they sound. Beyond the first "challenge," which is more of a tutorial, the challenges are boring and not worth the expended effort. The bad boy meter is a little slide meter that shows how good or bad of a cop the player has been. Either with the ability to shoot guns out of crooks' hands or execute them when they give up, the player can drastically change their "bad boy rating."

The game has a nice feature that allows the character to hide behind cover and "lean" out to shoot at the bad guys. Most of the time, these "hotspots" were well-placed and made life pretty easy in a firefight, but there were also some badly placed ones that caused problems at particular points during a level.

The levels are very well laid-out and have no significant flaw to them, and the missions are presented with clear goals, and the game drives the player through the level without being stuck. Each layout makes sense, and they add some nice little twists to the concept of shooting the bad guys. One example is that at the beginning of a section, the player is using silenced weapons to sneak into a drug lab. This was completely unbelievable, and the "stealth" element lasted about two minutes into the level. Later on in the same chapter, the player has to find and use a gas mask before they die from poisonous gas. This gas mask affects the shooting behind cover, making it more difficult to do.

Each chapter ends with a boss character that needs to be defeated. Compared to other games, defeating the bosses was about standard in difficulty, but the concept of these "bosses" is pretty outrageous. The second boss is a Russian attack helicopter, and while the characters of Miami Takedown are pretty tough, I do not think that Mike Lowrey can take down an attack helicopter with just an assault rifle.

The graphics of Bad Boys: Miami Takedown are on par with most Xbox video games: this isn't Fable, but it's not a Gameboy title either. The scenery graphics look wonderful, echoing the pastel look that Miami has in real life, but the character models are done very poorly. The issue with making a game that is based on two people as well-known as Will Smith and Martin Lawrence is that everyone knows how they should look and sound, with any variation being disconcerting. The two main characters only vaguely resemble their real-life counterparts, and this issue also crosses over to the voice acting.

Aside from that, the title's music and sound were of "action movie" caliber, and while that certainly does not detract from the game, it was so generic that nothing stood out in my memory. Some of the jokes in the script were pretty funny and seemed to fit the expected lines of the characters. Of course, the jokes were funny the first or second time around, but after a few hundred times, the "Assault Marcus" bit got old. Part of the problem with the jokes is that the voice actors do not have those little nuances that either Smith or Lawrence would have added to give a little "oomph" to the jokes.

The game has fully destructible environments, which means that the shots of players and NPCs affect the game environment and damage everything they hit. The title does implement a nice variation on the destructible environment concept and tracks the dollar amount of collateral damage done by the main characters. It is a nice little statistic to watch throughout the game but certainly doesn't add any substance.

I never was able to find a technical issue with the game, so it looks like the game underwent some significant testing. Being an experienced software tester, I tend to find the screw-ups in a game without having to put too much effort.

In conclusion, Bad Boys: Miami Takedown suffers from mediocrity. It is a solid game, but there is nothing outstanding about it that would draw players to it, or make the title worth acquiring. The game implements the two signature characters poorly, which makes for annoying gameplay, and there is no multiplayer portion whatsoever. I certainly would not say that Miami Takedown is the must-have purchase of the year (that would be Halo 2), but it's a good title for someone who wants a quick shooter title for only $20.

Score: 5.5/10

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