Nothing PC about new video game ‘State of Emergency’

By William Schiffmann, The Associated Press
Saturday June 01, 2002

Parents, lock up the children. Retailers, check those IDs. Perhaps the most politically incorrect video game ever created is for sale this minute, threatening the very foundations of our Republic. 

“State of Emergency,” from Vis Interactive and Rockstar, will turn your PlayStation 2 into the bloodstained scene of a massacre unlike any you’ve ever seen. 

Critics have decried SOE almost since it was announced last year, with pundits comparing the gory violence to any number of recent urban riots. 

Of course, there have been other games where everyone was a potential victim, including the very popular Grand Theft Auto III. 

SOE takes it a step further. 

Both games use missions as a basis for the beatdowns that follow. SOE’s 175 missions, set in four areas of Capitol City, are for the most part pathetically easy to complete, with points given for totally random destruction. Smashing windows, for instance, piles up hundreds of points per pane. 

The feeling of total anarchy and panic is beautifully captured in SOE. Enter a mall and hundreds of people are racing everywhere at top speed or falling to the ground, cowering in terror. They certainly have plenty to fear, as heavily armed cops, gangs of thugs and black-suited “Corporation” goons are everywhere, quashing revolution. 

Your characters — two are available from the start, with three more available as you progress — are handy with fists and feet. Weapons are available, scattered around each arena or torn from the dying fingers of your victims. Machine guns, Molotov cocktails, swords, bats, clubs, chairs — whatever you can find can be used to make the slaughter more efficient. 

You do lose points for offing innocent civilians, but it’s almost impossible to avoid it. 

Also lying around are health boosts and little clocks to extend your time. Both are crucial to your success, so don’t pass any by. 

The story line revolves around opposition to the “Corporation,” which took over after big business was given a free hand in 2010. Growing unrest led Corporation bigwigs to declare a state of emergency and turn their goons loose on the populace. 

A bizarre story, but one that conspiracy theorists are already predicting. 

Graphics get a B. Not only are they full of detail and nicely colored, but there are so many of them. The screen is usually jammed with dozens of people, all running and waving their arms and scurrying in a million directions. A great job just getting all those folks on your TV. 

Control earns a B. The combat portion works well, but moving your character to face enemies attacking from different directions isn’t always as smooth as it might be. Some controls serve double duty; after you’ve knocked somebody down, pushing the punch buttons lets you stomp and batter the fallen body as blood squirts from the wounds. How tasteful. 

Sound gets a C+. The weapons sounds are adequate and the voices are acceptable, although the comments get very repetitive. The soundtrack is routine, with no “name” performers. 

Give “State of Emergency” a B. It breaks no new ground and is about as deep as a dimple, but for the young male audience for which it was designed, it’s pure gold. 

Parents, here’s your chance to act responsibly. “State of Emergency” carries an M rating, for ages 17 and older, and it is well deserved. This game should not fall into little hands under any circumstances. 


On The Net: www.rockstargames.com/stateofemergency www.visentertainment.com