Urban Chaos
Riot Response

Format: PS2

5 021290 025615
Age Restrictions: 18+
19 May 2006

You are Nick Mason, elite police officer of Unit T-Zero - the last line of law enforcement.
Take control of a city torn apart by gang warfare. Your choice of weapons - riot shield and military grade hardware or brutal gang weaponry. Fight through realistic and dynamic environments. Back up support from firemen, medics and other police units - command America's finest in the heat of urban chaos...

Set in the not too distant future, Urban Chaos: Riot Response follows the life of Nick Mason, returning from military service to find his home city ravaged by gang warfare. He is quickly enlisted into the ranks of the newly formed G18 Counter Gang Division; an elite enforcement unit granted special emergency powers over all other public services and tasked with securing the city and its citizens at any cost. With direct control over paramedics, police and the fire department, you must work together to save lives, property and your city.

This first person shooter (FPS) from Eidos is a breath of fresh air in a crowded marketplace. I thought I'd played just about every FPS game on the market, but Urban Chaos does bring a number of new elements to the genre. Firstly there is the heavy use of your riot shield. This you carry on you at all times and can whip out at any time to stop bullets, cleavers, Molotov cocktails, and any number of other projectiles that sap your energy. It's more useful than you'd think - as it really will take some hammering and saves you having to dive behind cover every two minutes.

When you are using your shield you can't line up the bad guys in your sights and then drop the shield and fire at your target. No, this more realistically forces you to redraw your weapon each time you put the shield away. This may sound like a pain, but you soon get used to it and makes the gameplay more believable.

Another interesting angle is the fact that there are a number of mini challenges that you can optionally complete during each level. These include sharp shooting (kill a set number of bad guys with head shots) and evidence gathering (collect all of the hidden discarded items that the gangs have dropped).

Throughout the game you'll happen across medics, firemen, civilians etc., all of who you can help and can help you. For example, medics can heal you and firemen can smash down locked doors for you. When you meet one of these helpful people you have several options that allow you to command them to do things - like take cover, follow you or help you.

When you take out your enemy you can pick up their weapons and use them. Certain items, like the cleaver, you can throw and then pick up and reuse again and again. You also need to look out for useful items in your environment - like gas cylinders that can be exploded. And watch out for the gang leaders as you don't want to kill them - instead you need to incapacitate them by using your stun weapon so that they can be brought in for questioning.

There are faults with this game. Firstly the bad guys all the look the same (I suppose that you could argue that they are all part of the same gang that all wear the same masks) and the insults that they scream at you gets a little repetitive very quickly. "You're gonna die!" "Do you like looking at me?" etc. But on the whole this is a pretty solid game that will have you coming back for more time and time again.

If FPS's were starting to all look the same to you, then Urban Chaos: Riot Response could revitalise the genre for you once again.

Pete Boomer

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