I’ve been waiting for years now for the reincarnation of very old but great games like Final Fight or Streets of Rage. In those old-fashioned games, you were supposed to run from left to right, while kicking some enemies out of the screen. Nothing special, you would think, yet the feeling of power was immense. Squaresoft tried to reinvent this feeling, but without success. Maybe Urban Reign could bring back the old dimension of subliminal arse kicking. Well, Namco succeeds partially. Urban Reign is just such a freaking idiotic and hilarious stupid game but hey, if I can enjoy it, why not you? Let’s say I was just comfortably numb!
You are a one man army in a city that smells stinky from corruption and brute violence. To stop the new gangs in town, the government has planted several impenetrable gates and numerous safety cameras. Off course, no gate could stop a brand new gang, and that’s when you come in. Later in the game, you can fight together with one of the 60 characters you can choose.
There are over 100 missions, but they are all not longer than five minutes. Throughout these missions, you learn that fighting fair isn’t an option. It’s better to attack fallen enemies or to kick that loser in the back. That’s also the only option, because the competition is hard. The almost always attack in groups, so it’s better to attack with special moves you learn throughout the 100 missions of the game. It’s also possible to use weapons such as a knife, broken bottles, or a baseball bat later in the game.
Urban Reign is violence with a capital v. It’s not as brutal as Manhunt, but there’s certainly enough violence to scare those sensitive gamers. The most bizarre move is the one where your enemy grabs your leg to swing your body, while hitting you in the nuts. I was actually in pain only by seeing this crazy move. It’s a shame the same environments keep returning. I’ve had it with the alleys, subways and motels after five times. They could at least tried to be original with this!
Too bad the game is a little to short and simple to keep a fresh appearance. Urban Reign is the ideal game when your pissed on your parents, teachers or girlfriend. It’s much healthier to beat your computer opponents to smithereens instead of beating real people (I don’t hit people, seriously, I’m a very nice person). Playing this game gives you the feeling Chuck Norris must have when he roundhouse kicks an enemy on his nose.
I certainly got sympathy for Urban Reign. It’s dumb, got nothing to say, violent and hilariously stupid. But I like it! It got no pretences whatsoever being a masterful game. Of course Namco has delivered some sort of quality, nothing ever gets bad. I might be interested in a serious game next week, but this week, I’m comfortably numb.