Game Review

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Platform: GameCube
  • ESRB: Teen
  • Genre: Racing
  • Players: 1-4
  • Online: No
  • Developer: Angel Studios
  • Publisher: Rockstar
  • Suggested Retail: $49.99
  • Graphics: B-
  • Sound: C+
  • Gameplay: A-
  • Replay: B
  • Fun Factor: B+
  • Reviewer's Wild Card: A-


Better run before the cops get you

By Troy Roberts     October 09, 2002

A few years ago, Rockstar released a game called SMUGGLER'S RUN. It was an off-road driving game that basically allowed gamers to take control of a rouge driver who must steal loads of stuff, out-run cops, and do other illegal things. With the success of the first game, Rockstar released SMUGGLER'S RUN 2: HOSTILE TERRITORY, which is your basic sequel to the original. Now Rockstar has decided to release SMUGGLER'S RUN: WARZONES for the GameCube, a semi-sequel to the originals on the Playstation 2.

One of the first things that you'll notice about SMUGGLER'S RUN: WARZONES is the wide-open environments. It really has the biggest environments of any game that I've ever seen. If you can see someplace while playing, you can surely get there. Think that mountain is a bit too steep? Nah, just go on up. I've gotten to a lot of places that I never though I would reach while playing.

The whole point of the game is to jump into eight different types of vehicles, and your mission is to smuggle contraban across these exotic places. There are 36 different missions, across 5 different maps, including North America and Vietnam. The main difference between SMUGGLER'S RUN and other games is that, in this game, you're the bad guy, and you have to outrun the local law enforcement to make sure you complete the mission. The game starts off fairly easy, but of course gets more difficult as time goes on.

When you start getting into the harder missions, you'll know it. And picking up contraband isn't as easy as one would think. For starters, you only have a certain amount of time that a plane can stay on the ground with illegal items, so you have to be at the plane within a certain amount of time. Also, there are always going to be cops on your butt, so you have to take that into consideration. The police normally travel in packs, and they love to surround you or make your vehicle flip. The computer A.I. is pretty smart, too, so plan ahead before you encounter the cops. You'll have to make some pretty nifty maneuvers to get away from them.

Luckily, you have counter measures that will help you get away from most police. As you progress through the game, you will gain counter measures such as the speed boost, acid drop, and numerous other weapons that will aid in your escape. During the game, you will encounter countermeasures that are vehicle-specific. So later, you have a great deal of deciding to do when you choose the vehicle you want to take out.


As I said earlier, the landscapes of WARZONES are very beautiful and expansive. Unfortunately, with all of the work put into the landscape, there were a few things that seem to be left out. The vehicle models don't look that great, and the only way you'd know the vehicles are supposed to be old and beaten up is the orange paint which is supposed to represent rust. During the game, though, you can bang up your vehicle however you want to, with real-time damage and smoke effects to show for it.

Three other friends can join in on the fun with you. WARZONES has five different multiplayer modes, all of which are the main standout for the game. Some modes have you going through checkpoints, while others are like capture the flag.

Rockstar and Angel went out and licensed techno tracks from different labels, and the music is really good. The one problem is, there is one track tied to each environment. So that one track will play over and over again. It gets very redundant. Also, the sound effects department is really lacking. Rainstorms and races through marshlands are really flat and uninteresting, and when leaves and small tree limbs hit your vehicle, there is no sound effect.

SMUGGLER'S RUN: WARZONES is a fairly interesting game and a good pick-up title for the Nintendo GameCube. While it has a few problems here and there, it makes up for it with its great gameplay, and its even better multiplayer modes.


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