Maximum Chase Review

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Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Genki


Platform: Xbox
Reviewed on Xbox

From the developers who brought you the Tokyo Xtreme Racer series and the upcoming game The Fast and the Furious comes Maximum Chase, an Xbox exclusive title and another notch on Genki's driving-action belt.

Rating:
Carrie Gouskos


Maximum Chase is a simple (and sometimes fun) driving and shooting game, with respectable gameplay that has gotten stale and cut-scenes that can be downright scary. While the choice to include live-action clips was a brave one, the effect comes off poorly and fails to carry the game. All the individual aspects of Maximum Chase would get average to good marks, but the game simply fails to provide sufficient value in terms of raw entertainment measure against cost. It's difficult to take a game to task for simply lacking original elements, but in addition to just being fun, there needs to be something to distinguish the title. Maximum Chase needs something to save it from being exceedingly plain. While it seems as if the live-action cut-scenes should be that hook, they fail to distinguish the game or make the ordinary gameplay more exciting.

Nice Cars, But Will It Be A Cult Classic?


Video game graphics have long held up realism as an ultimate goal, sometimes above gameplay and creativity. For years, gamers have wondered if live action sequences could replace computer generated cinematics. Maximum Chase tries, but doesn't succeed. The cut-scenes in Maximum Chase are reminiscent of public access television, complete with poorly generated environments and sub-par acting. As such, they are morbidly fascinating – instead of lulling you with a typical storyline, Maximum Chase shocks you with B-movie charm. You're laughing at the game and not with it, but relish the fact that at least you're laughing.

The computer generated graphics that are part of the actual gameplay are solid. The environments are populated with some attractive details and the car models are well done. The game is obviously an homage to the array of licensed cars, the details of which aren't overlooked in any aspect of gameplay. If you're a huge fan of cars, Maximum Chase may be worth checking out specifically because it offers up some of the finer sets of wheels, like the Lexus SC 430 and the Corvette Z06.

Run and Gun, But Not At The Same Time


Gameplay is split up into two modes, whose names are dead giveaways: "Chase" and "Gunfight." In Chase Mode, the object is simply to keep your car from sustaining too much damage while avoiding numerous cars on your tail. This requires dodging normal traffic, cars driven with hostile intent and obstacles (thankfully pedestrians are nowhere to be found). Sometimes you can escape by forcing the enemy's cars into strategically-placed explosive barrels throughout the city. The most interesting aspect of Chase Mode is that, despite a few markers around the level, there is almost no way to tell where you're supposed to be heading. This is often very frustrating but also provides a level of excitement that isn't found in driving games with hold-your-hand map interfaces. Ultimately, you are meant to reach a specific area (which is often surprisingly easy to find despite the seeming difficulties with navigation) which causes the cut-scenes to take over again.

After every Chase sequence there is always a Gunfight sequence. In Gunfight Mode, you are relegated to shooting out the back of the vehicle to fend off the pursuing cars. Gunfight would benefit from the use of a gun controller, but being sandwiched between driving levels precludes this. After taking out a series of pursuing cars, each Gunfight level contains a boss, that (be it a tank, helicopter, or dump truck) offers little more challenge than the regular enemies, but forces you to pull the trigger a lot more.

The Delivery Is Intriguing, But The Final Package Is Lacking


One of the better executed elements in the game is the replay film that immediately follows each completed level. The replay sequences contain exposition of the plot (in the form of voice-overs) that is otherwise unavailable during regular gameplay. This not only provides an incentive for watching the cinematic replay sequences, but means that the story progresses throughout the game even outside of conventional cut-scenes. The constant interaction with the story continues during the game's levels as voice-overs offer dialogue to further the plot. Unfortunately, despite the clever devices used to reveal the plot, the story itself doesn't come together in the same, satisfying way.

 

Maximum Chase is ultimately very short – it should take most gamers an afternoon to finish. There is a replay mode that allows you to unlock more cars and a few other extras, but the second time through the game is nearly identical to the first. Although Maximum Chase offers some entertainment value, the game is both too short and too ordinary to make it worth paying a full $40. Once the price drops, those of you who linger on those public-access television shows a little longer than you're willing to admit may know exactly what it is to appreciate the finer points of Maximum Chase.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on December 2, 2003 7:31 PM.

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