What the fuck are you looking at?
What’s my fucking problem? Kingpin, that’s my fucking problem. After playing
that fucking game for fucking hours, I can’t fucking stop saying fucking. It was
fucking shocking at first, now it’s just fucking annoying. What would the fucking
Unlike many political pundits, I believe that cuss words have their proper
place in language. Sometimes, you can say more with a well-placed four-letter
word than you can any other way. Of course, the reverse is also true. When overused,
profanity makes the speaker sound uneducated at the very least, and probably
just plain stupid (see first paragraph). Quickly, it just gets annoying.
Case in point, Kingpin: Life of Crime. The idea of an adult game
of gang warfare was a good one. Using a refined version of the Quake
II engine, Kingpin attempts to give players a more realistic feel
than most other 3D shooters (no aliens, for example). With some added abilities
that no other first person shooter has and no limits on the bad language, Kingpin
had a chance of capturing a large adult audience. Unfortunately, somewhere along
the way the designers got lost, and what we end up with is an average first
person shooter with ridiculous amounts of gratuitous cussing that only a 13
year-old would find entertaining.
First, we’ll start with the good. With system requirements as high as Kingpin‘s,
it’s not surprising that the game looks good. The detail on the different humans
in the game is done really well. The gore level is fairly high, allowing you
to destroy your opponents’ limbs and even execute them, gangland style. It’s
amazing what designers have been able to do with the Quake II engine
in both this game and Half-Life.
Don’t think this is simply Quake II in a different setting, however.
Kingpin has a couple of added bonuses that separates it from the rest
of the pack. For one, you can talk with the other characters in the game. You
can respond with an affirmative or a negative. Though fairly simple, it does
give it a little more realistic feel. Also, you can get others to follow you,
as seen in Half-Life, but now you can also give them orders. Though the
AI of the NPC’s is fairly stupid, this is a neat little ability I hope to see
in more games in the future. You can also search your victim’s bodies for much
needed cash, that you then use at the pawn-o-matic to buy new weapons. Nice.
The sound is, as you might have guessed, a mixed bag. The music fits perfectly
with the atmosphere. Of course, you might expect that if you knew that Cypress
Hill supplied all the music from their CD, Cypress Hill IV. Even if you
don’t like their music, you have to admit that the designers picked the right
speech, on the other hand, is a big problem. While cussing for realism’s sake
is one thing, cussing repeatedly (and repeatedly and repeatedly) for shock value
is another. Every other word out of the character’s mouths is “fuck” or “shit.”
There’s enough bad language in this game to make a sailor blush. After the initial
shock value wears off, the constant stream of profanity just gets annoying.
What’s the designer’s answer to this? Well, they include an alternate version of the game that tones down both the violence and the language . . . As if anyone would actually install that version. They do put a well-reasoned essay at the beginning of the installation that describes the designer’s point-of-view and begs parents to take a more active role in their child’s interests.
Even though I agree with what Interplay had to say, and agree that this type
of game shouldn’t be legislated against, it’s also quite obvious that the profuse
cussing in Kingpin was aimed at a younger audience then they’re claiming.
Unfortunately, the political fallout from this game may make other, better,
rated ‘R’ games harder to make in the future.
On top of that, the gameplay just isn’t all there. After a slew of well-designed, fun first person shooters, Kingpin just doesn’t match up. For one thing, it’s way too hard. Though the AI for the enemies is fairly basic, their aim is impeccable. They always seem to hit you, no matter where you’re hiding. This means that you have to constantly replay certain sections of the game till you’re sure you know where every single enemy is and can eliminate them quickly. Fun for some, tedious for most.
All in all, Kingpin is best described as a failed attempt at a good
idea. With some neat new additions and great graphics, some gamers will definitely
have fun with this title. The sheer difficulty and the idiotic constant swearing,
however, will discourage most people. Rudeness does not an adult game make.
If you’re looking for an adult game, try a much better Interplay game like Fallout
2 and leave Kingpin for the 13 year-olds it was designed for.