For GameCube owners who have never had a chance to explore Liberty or Vice City in the comfort of their own La-Z-Boy, Activision’s True Crime: Streets of L.A. is a Shangri-La of open-ended gaming. As renegade cop Nick Kang, you’re free, at several points in the game, to “commandeer” any civilian’s car and explore more than 240 square miles of a detailed, satellite modeled Los Angeles, where you can shoot, run over or kung-fu perps and pedestrians alike..
Those similarities to the Grand Theft Auto franchise have led a handful of respected game industry publications and hundreds of bulletin board fanboys to pan True Crime as a “GTA lite” or even as a cynical attempt by Activision to cash in on the GTA phenomenon while it’s still hot. Personally, I enjoyed True Crime more than Vice City.
Before you e-mail Omni or Mr. Nash to tell them that I lack taste, couth and horse-sense, I’ve got to add that the GTA series has revolutionized gaming, the titles deserve every bit of the hype, and if you like your digital destruction with a healthy dose of flame-thrower, True Crime suffers by direct comparison. But I never got the impression that the developers at Luxoflux were gunning for a rip off.