Those of us lucky enough to
play lots of games saw it coming a long time ago, and it becomes a increasingly evident
with every new title; Rockstar is a name synonymous with kick-ass games. Rockstar
publishes games that make us feel like, well, like rockstars. With games like GTA 3,
Smugglers Run 2, and Max Payne currently on store shelves, its hard to go wrong when
you see the Rockstar icon. In my book its increasingly becoming a "buy me"
sticker. The future looks equally bright with titles like State of Emergency on the
imminent horizon. I like Rockstar games because theyre fun to play, theyre
cool, and they arent afraid to deliver the goods. Screw political correctness; the
games Ive mentioned here are dirty, raw, violent, brilliant, unique, and most
importantly theyre among the best games made on any platform, ever.
Run 2 is no exception to the Rockstar tradition of making fun games. Essentially an
upgrade of the first Smugglers Run, SRII brings the old school thrill of all-terrain
evasion racing, but also brings enough new tweaks to the system to warrant a sequel. While
the basic premise is largely unchanged, improved gameplay and graphics are the big draws.
The story has a little more unity to it this time around as well, as missions are united
through cut scene driven narrative.
like the original installment, SRII pits you against the police, army, and rival gangs in
a smuggling free for all. The terrain is brilliantly crafted; no racing around a cement
track here. Its all about enormous hills, sweeping valleys, and monstrous cliffs to
fly off of. The terrain has become much more lively this time around. The terrain poses
new threats, such as avalanches and landmines, just to make things more interesting. Grass
and foliage are rendered much better, making the surroundings much more real. I would have
liked to see trees and brush interact more with the vehicle, sweeping across the
windshield and so forth, but the current level is still a substantial improvement. This is
by far the most attractive aspect of the game, and off-road gamers should take note. While
SRII isnt a traditional racing game, it crushes the competition and delivers a
vastly superior off-road experience.
various law enforcement agencies are still gunning for you, and theyre really good
at what they do. What they lack in strategic thinking they more than make up for by being
relentless evil bastards. The police and the army will hunt you down and run you over till
you scream for mercy, and then theyll run you over some more--for as long as they
damn well feel like it. Your only hope is to use the terrain to your advantage. Discover
early what your vehicles strong points are, and choose your route accordingly. This
time around vehicles are equipped with various counter measures for an added edge; counter
measures include a speed boost and landmines, among others. Each different vehicle is
equipped with one type counter measure, and that can make all the difference.
are eight vehicles to choose from, ranging from an ATV to a heavy duty armored giant. The
variation in vehicles allows a lot of different play styles to be entertained. While there
is a great deal of variety, many of the vehicles are of questionable value (useless),
while others are almost always a good choice. While I dont need a lot of options to
tweak on the vehicles, a few, such as multiple colors to choose from, would have been
Run II: Hostile Territory, like its predecessor, is an extremely challenging game.
Actually, its a really tough game to beat. I found myself replaying almost all of
the stages on the second half of the game over and over again, slowly making progress
through the game. At times I would sit down for a session and give up in frustration
before beating a single stage. Of course the upside to this is that when a stage is
eventually beaten its that much sweeter. Often the trick is creative thinking and
careful planning. When this game was fun it was really fun, but after a while the abuse
started to run me down.
Territory is a sequel that makes enjoyable and significant improvements on the last
version, but doesnt take any major risks is bringing the game in a new direction.
For me, this is enough to warrant a go--particularly if you enjoyed the first game. For
those looking for an adrenaline rush, or for those too cool to be caged in a race track,
Smugglers Run II is a must play.