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GamesFirst! Magazine

Smugglers Run 2: Hostile Territory

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Due October 2001 for PS2


snap_23.jpg (5625 bytes)When the dust finally settled from this year’s E3 console frenzy, a few different things were imminetly clear. One of those things is that Rockstar has one of the most all-around impressive lineups for the coming year. Everything they had on display at E3 this year looked gorgeous and played better.

snap_35.jpg (6364 bytes)One of the many things I like about Rockstar is their willingness to make games about breaking the rules. Whether your stealing a car, smuggling contraband, or rioting in the streets, Rockstar delivers to the bad boy or girl lurking inside all of us. Rockstar pulls no punches, and I like that.

snap_30.jpg (6467 bytes)Smugglers Run 2 continues the tradition started with the innovative first installment. No longer confined to smuggling between the U.S. and Canada or Mexico, Smugglers Run goes international and brings us to the Afghanistan lowlands and the wetlands of Vietnam. The environments are beautifully rendered, surpassing the origional installment by providing crisper, more detailed animation. Smugglers Run 2 shows a high level of detail, and it only takes a moment to notice that the excellent lighting and the abundant foilage have taken a step up in quality. Bombed villages, ancient temples, and thriving villages also add to the richness of the environment. The vehicles are equally impressive, easily surpassing the rather plain-looking vehicles found in Smugglers Run. New vehicles will include the quad bike and tank-line military vehicles

snap_62.jpg (6624 bytes)Conceptually, Smugglers Run 2 has taken it up a notch. It feels slightly darker, slightly more dangerous than the origional. Afghanistan and Vietnam add to the feeling of danger with minefields, enemy gunfire, explosions, and environmental hazards like avalanches. Dangerous weather will also be a factor; rain, snow, sandstorms, and fog will affect how the vehicles handle. On top of this, more familiar challenges await such as cops and rival gangs out to squish you and steal you stash. This is above and beyond the challenge of sucessfully navigating the terrain in order to meet crucial timelines in pick-up and delivery. Night missions will also be available this time around. With the help of night-vision goggles, you can slide past the enemies under the cover of darkness. The contraband has also gotten more detailed. Bulky items can slow vehicles down. Other items can break, and this time around packages with biohazard stickers will explode after a certain amount of time has expired.

snap_41.jpg (6687 bytes)Although the challenge will certainly be there, Rockstar has promissed us a more player friendly game this time around. Smugglers Run was bloody hard, sometimes impossibly so, and this was my largest complaint with the otherwise superb game. This is a good sign. It means Smugglers Run 2 will be a better game than its predessor, and it also means Rockstar is listening to the game playing public.

snap_91.jpg (6724 bytes)The story line will also be more sophisticated this time around. FMV’s will intertwine with game goals, replacing the sparse story of the first installment with a more detailed, cohesive plot. Smugglers Run 2: Hostile Territory looks to improve on virtually every aspect of the origional title, and this is reason enough to eagerly await the final product. Smugglers Run 2 will be the contraband of choice in October 2001.

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Jeff Luther


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