Bad cop, NO DONUT!!!
At first glance, Urban Chaos seems to be an interesting mixture of Fighting
Force and Syndicate Wars; take a beat-’em-up engine and mix with a
story of gangs uniting and taking over the city. Throw in some big, immersive
environments, and you get a pretty solid game. But while decent on the PC,
the PSX version leaves something to be desired.
Urban Chaos starts off with a killer intro movie, bringing you right
up to speed with the story. It’s New Years Eve, turn of the millennium, but
that doesn’t stop the street gang known as the Wildcats from wreaking havoc
and generally making things a little uncomfortable for the citizens of Union
City. You play D’Arcy, a rookie cop doing your damnedest to keep crime rates
down and prove yourself to your superiors, but the Wildcats are a force to be
reckoned with, and the streets are mean.
The game has the typical list of moves for a beat-’em-upper: punch, kick, dodge,
etc., but what good is being a cop if you can’t bust the baddies? So the nice
developers at Mucky Foot added the option of knocking them to the ground, cuffing
them and hauling them downtown. The arrest option gets the heathen scum out
of your face ASAP, which is a good thing when you’re trapped in an alley with
four armed psychos.
You can also give them a good old-fashioned ‘frisking’ to procure new weapons
or health packs. Another new feature is sneaking, because the best tactic isn’t
always to bust in shooting the place up.
If your feet are tired or the donut shop is just a little too far away, as a UCPD officer you have the right to commandeer any vehicle you like. A shot in the air will stop any citizen dead in their tracks so you can hop in and chase those pesky Wildcats by car. It’s just too bad that the control sucks, because it’s a cool idea. On foot is the only way to go, since you can run as fast as any car on the road without crashing into every single thing in sight. The only advantage to driving is that you are protected from having the snot kicked out of you by some incorrigible Wildcat punk. And of course the old “run ’em into the wall again and again with my big ass A-Team van” routine works well, too.
team at Mucky Foot really brought Union City to life. The town is crawling with
citizens, weirdoes, Wildcats, fellow officers, and, of course, more than a few
hookers. The streets are full of cars going by. Taxicabs, vans, and patrol cars
will run you down in a second if you don’t look both ways before crossing. The
people in the neighborhood are a riot with their snide remarks and silly comments.
This is by far one of the best features of the game.
The story progresses in a realistic way that fits the environment. As a real
world cop, no two days are the same, and no particular assignment can be predictable.
The only requirement for completing each level is to meet the main objective;
side objectives come and go. Crime is seething from this city, and you can feel
The ambience and life of the environment needs to be presented with a clean,
smooth look, but the graphics are choppy and blocky, not at all taking advantage
of the Playstation’s capabilities. The camera angles are finicky and irritating.
It’s very frustrating to have a Wildcat shimmy around your backside and start
wailing on you from an angle that makes him about as visible as Wonder Woman’s
The control needs an overhaul as well. Like I said before, don’t try to drive
in this game. Hell, I’ll give five bucks to anyone who can get past the gold
driver’s training (only kidding about the five bucks, but I couldn’t pass silver).
And controlling D’arcy is no walk in the park, either. Forward is sometimes
forward, but then if you’re facing the camera, forward is backwards. It just
feels wrong and takes A LOT of getting used to.
The concept is good, the story is even better, and the environment is top
notch. But the bad control and poor camera angles mixed with crummy graphics
make Urban Chaos difficult to play for more than an hour at a time. The
whole port feels rushed, and I would have gladly waited a couple more months
for a polished version.