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Urban Chaos is a highly enjoyable and frantically paced action game though certainly nothing even remotely original.The story is as follows:
You play as Nick Mason, a member of the controversial heavily armed riot response unit T-Zero, you must try and tackle a group of anarchists known as 'The Burners'. As well as burning buildings, they also like to take hostages and cause general mayhem around the city. Specifically though, they have targeted the citys public officials.
With the aid of some high-powered weapons, a riot shield, and some members of the Emergency Services, it's up to you to take down the gang and bring in the gang leaders. There are fireman to put out fires that block your progress throughout the level and paramedics on hand to heal you.
Each level is introduced by spoof news footage from Channel 7, a news channel which reports the latest in gang activity and actually quite neatly sets the level. The level and the general obejctives will be outlined and there is a subplot involving the Mayor and possible corruption which is explored and whilst it wont win an Oscar it does add a nice bit of realism.
when stripped of all of the gimmicks and toys, Urban Chaos is simply another first person shooting game. So lets examine them then shall we?
Quite a cool feature of the game, and indeed a fundamental part of it as it will keep your sorry ass alive is your riot shield. used to deflect bullets, bombs and other projectiles, it is invaluable. You use it to deflect the bullets until the enemy has to reload and then you can return fire. Rather than being incredibly anal, it actually helps to breath at least some small measure of strategy into the title.
It comes in handy esp. when faced down with a hostage sitution, these are scripted encounters and are effectively the games "bosses". What follows is a game of patience, as you have to wait out the enemy to run out of bullets, reload and then return fire. Once this done and you hit them, they will move away from you forcing you to repeat the process. This usually lasts about 3 times when you hit them before they die in some suitably gory fashion.
To make it through each level you'll often have to give orders to the firemen, cops and ambulance crew that accompany you. The ambulance crew can give you health but being unarmed they tend to stay in a safe position, with you having to back track if you fall low on health. So protect them!
The firemen and cops are more active, with cops being able to provide covering fire and the firemen helping you out when you have to enter burning buildings. They can be ordered to smash through obstacles, raise steel doors and obviously put out fires.
This is where the game is weakest at, with burning buildings. There is simply no visibility, no map, no signs nothing. Even with the enhanced "vision" you will struggle to actually acheive your objective. These rescue missions quickly become very tedious and as a result spoil the rest of the gameplay.
The game is an 18+ certificate and it is well merited the level of violence is extreme. Headshots result in blood spraying everywhere, enemies will shake uncontrobally after being shocked with the stun gun etc.
As much as Urban Chaos can be loved for the things it does right, by the end it's hard not to feel like it could have been so much better. The level designs vary from excellent to poor, enemy variety is non-existent (ok, the gang members where masks, but still), the rescue missions become tedious, and the end arrives a couple of levels too soon and feels too sudden.
Some smart, but rough, visuals do the job and make a game that looks genuinely great on a few occasions, with fire effects and some impressive lighting being particularly worthy of mention. Online play for up to eight players, which pits T-Zero against the Burners, is a nice diversion, and a truckload of medals to unlock gives you something to come back for, but as a whole game it's just not quite good enough. The ability to unlockextra equipment does add some variety but not enough. Summary: A crying shame