Does anybody else smell some kind of pork product?
No offense to any law enforcement officers out there. I just wanted to bring to your attention the fact the G-Police is a game that puts you in the role of a pilot for the futuristic 'Government Police.'
In the not so distant future, a race for precious ores begins. In 2079, heavy competition for these precious minerals causes nations to build up their militaries. In the year 2085, war breaks out (why is the future always so bleak?). Two years later, the war ends, leaving governments in ruin. Soon after, huge corporations take the helm and become as powerful as governments. Then in the year 2089, the Earth government declares the establishment of a law-enforcing organization dedicated to preserving justice within the Earth colonies and its off-world installations. Hence the name, 'Government Police.' You are Slater, brother of a G-Police pilot who died under mysterious circumstances. In order to ascertain why the cover-up of your sister's death occurred, you must infiltrate the G-Police. Thus, you assume a new identity and join the ranks as a pilot of the G-Police air support vehicle, the DASA Kamov HAVOC.
The HAVOC looks exactly like a helicopter without the blades. Instead of propellers you have a pair of rotating jet thrusters that control your movement. Although the HAVOC is introduced as a rather outdated vehicle, it still packs some pretty heavy heat. Your arsenal includes no fewer than 13 different weapons, including cannons, seeking missiles, rockets, bombs, and lasers. You can also direct your wingmen to attack targets and you can drop beacons which attract G-Police ground units. Of course the bad guys have all the latest technology on their side, so being a peace officer is still dangerous work.
Your missions vary from air support, tracking of criminals, search and destroy, to raids. You are given a briefing beforehand which tells you your primary objective, but you are also directed by radio during the missions. Central dispatch radio alerts you to enemy presence or the direction you should head. Your wingmen can also alert you to unseen danger or other mission objectives.
Control of the HAVOC is pretty intuitive once you memorize all the button functions. Every button is used, so it takes a few deaths to get the hang of flying. You can thrust forwards, backwards, up, and down. You can also hold your altitude by holding the upward and downward thrusts; one of the most important controls to learn. The only sorely missed control is the ability to jink (you know, move left and right without turning). I'm sure they would have included it if the Playstation controllers had more buttons. Other than that, the gameplay is pretty good. Your HAVOC is responsive and can whoop some ass.
The sound in G-Police is excellent. Everything is in Dolby Surround-Sound for total game immersion. All the sound effects are loud and very realistic. In addition, all the transmissions from your dispatch and your wingmen are real voices. The music is put far in the background but can still be heard in the heat of battle. It would best be described as ambient or techno. Very cliché futuristic music.
As for the graphics, what can I say, it's a Psygnosis game. If you haven't read any of the other reviews of Psygnosis games, they're known for some of the best graphics and effects on the Playstation. G-Police isn't quite as visually stunning as Colony Wars or ONE, but it does offer an effective view of a futuristic, polluted civilization, a la Blade Runner. Click HERE to download an AVI movie of the gameplay (738K). The cityscapes are extremely detailed, down to the cars driving the streets and the stop lights (you'll enjoy wreaking havoc on innocent civilians). The landscape is also dotted with real advertisements and billboards, which for some reason is the trademark of a technologically advanced civilization. I also have to give credit to the awesome FMV sequences that introduce the story. They are very well done and set the serious mood of the game from the outset.
G-Police isn't exactly a masterpiece though. One thing that really bothered me is the way they represented flight boundaries as big 'ol spider-web-looking barriers. These are supposed to be the domes that cover the colonies. However, it really hurts the feel of the city and makes you feel trapped in this little box. I think they should have managed the limits better, perhaps like Star Fox 64. Another thing I didn't really like was the radar. It is represented as a circle that expands into a cylinder as your gain altitude. Maybe it's just me, but I found it really hard to figure out where the enemies were. Finally, the sequence of action during missions is a little bit rough. Sometimes you'll have to juggle a million different tasks that are impossible to accomplish at once. At other times, you'll just be sitting around confused and doing nothing because you overlooked some enemy that you left behind several city sectors earlier. G-Police is not an easy game.
Overall, G-Police is in the upper tier of Playstation games. It offers exciting, realistic, challenging missions that will keep you glued to the control pad. All of the elements of the game, from FMV, to sound, to graphics, to story, come together nicely to create a realistic gaming experience. There certainly are rough spots, but the majority of the game is a pleasurable experience. This is definitely a game for helicopter-simulator fans or other-related-simulator fans. Every one else should still give it a test drive just for kicks.