XBOX REVIEW: 187: RIDE OR DIE

When nerds pretend to be thugs, 187 Ride or Die is the result.

This game tries so hard to be taken seriously that it's embarrassing. With gang slang and tons of F-sharps, this game not only can't walk the walk but it can't even talk the talk. Anyone under the impression that this game is the answer to GTA is seriously misguided. If you think that a cool game is comprised of hip hop beats and cuss words than you might as well save your money and buy a rap CD. This crap is just window dressing. This game would never get any street cred. It was created by a team of losers that installed a paint-by-numbers lexicon of thug talk which is loaded with cliches designed to capture the imagination of kids from the Midwest that have parents that can actually afford to pay for games like this. If you really want to get mad, just go online and listen to some of these tough talking 13-year-olds. It makes me want to put my fist through something - their skulls actually, but it's just not worth the effort and expense of tracking them down, purchasing an airline ticket and taking the time off of work. Or is it?

At the core of this glorification of urban cesspool socialites, is a combat racing game that is average at best. It's like a cheesy gangsta' kart racer. You drive your car around and shoot at your competitors which are rival gang members. There are a few missions that include your typical escort style, and one that was stolen from Speed where you have to keep your car moving at over 100 mph to keep a bomb in the trunk from detonating. The tracks are relatively small and in no way comparable to the open-ended missions in the GTA series.

Buck is anti-hero of the game. He's a gang member out to wrest control of the streets from a rival gang. It's one of the shallowest concepts for a game that you can imagine. You feel nothing for Buck. He's just as much of a scumbag as the rival gang members. Still, it's not a bad feeling to blow up a vehicle loaded with gang vermin.

Powersliding is required to negotiate many of the tight turns you'll encounter. There are a variety of vehicles both new and vintage but they suffer from unresponsive steering. It's really no fun at all to control these vehicles - which comprises a huge part of the gameplay. There are various power-ups such as health and speed boosts. You can also acquire speed boosts by performing various skids. The boosts give you a rush as the environment blurs at the side of the screens.

Weapons and ammo can also be picked up along the tracks. Pistols and automatic weapons are available as well as a steady supply of ammo. Molotov cocktails, mines and rocket launchers offer a diversion from gunplay but the rocket launcher is by far the most fun since it turns a vehicle into a fiery deathtrap. You can choose from manual shooting in which you can shoot in any direction using the analog stick or you can automate it using a lock-on targeting system which simplifies the combat aspect of the gameplay a little too much in my opinion.

In Deathmatch mode, vehicles that take on too much damage will eventually explode. You will be armed with both a shotgun and a chaingun which you can use to kill enemies as well as destroy their vehicles with. A split screen mode lets you play head-to-head. The co-op mode has one player doing the driving while the other person is in control of the weapons and the boost. Online modes are similar to the single-player modes with the exception of the smack-talking punks that seem to confuse this with a role-playing game. Some of these kids think they're the real thing and that just drives me nuts. I know that if these kids even met a drunk in a back alley they would crap their drawers. If only I had a plane ticket and a bottle of Johnny Walker….

Graphically the game looks about as good as it plays, which isn't a compliment, just in case you weren't paying attention. The animation is stiff and the characters all look like blow-up dolls. They move like them as well. The music is repetitive and even though I hate rap the lack of variety is sure to grate on everyone's nerves. The voiceovers are not bad but the dialog is awful. Whomever wrote this script just doesn't have a clue.

187 Ride or Die is bad - but it's not so bad that it's good. There's nothing good about it, period.

Preview by Gooseberry

Thugs with fast cars has been a popular theme in movies and videogames and 187 Ride or Die capitalizes on it in spades.

187 Ride or Die is an urban-themed combat racing game that plunges players into a brutal street-racing gang war where victory depends on ruthless driving and deadly shooting skills. 187 Ride or Die will ship for the current home consoles and PC this summer.

187 Ride or Die features the voices and likenesses of rising young actors including Larenz Tate (Menace II Society, Ray), Noel Gugliemi (Training Day, The Fast and the Furious), and Guerilla Black. 187 Ride or Die tells the story of a reluctant urban hero named Buck (L. Tate), a young man living a thug’s life seething with money, fast cars and beautiful women – with danger lurking around every corner. Set in the underworld of Los Angeles, Buck must defend the territory of his mentor Dupree (G. Black) from a menacing nemesis and his gang of bandit roughriders, led by Cortez (N. Gugliemi), who are determined to take control of the streets.

Ubisoft is bringing something unique to the racing genre, which accounts for nearly 20% of the console market," said Tony Kee, Ubisoft’s VP of Marketing. "With an engaging storyline, an addictive blend of street racing and combat, and an impressive soundtrack and, 187 Ride or Die has the kind of edge that will appeal to racing and hip-hop enthusiasts alike."

Features:

  • Adrenaline-Pumping Combat-Racing Action: Put your pedal to the metal as you literally blow your opponent away in non-stop, intense and unique combat-racing action intensified with replay and slow-motion camera effects, and spectacular blur and filter effects.
  • Pimpin’ Rides: Select from a number of unique vehicles ranging from vintage roadsters to modern muscle cars in your quest to rule the streets.
  • Strapped to the Nines: Put your hand on the pump and take out the opposition with numerous weapons, including an array of pistols, shotguns, and much more.
  • Endless Replay Value: Several different game modes including single player Death Race, Cop Chase and Assassination. Or battle with your friends on PlayStation 2 online, Xbox Live and PC online.
  • Loaded Cast and Production: Features the voices and likenesses of rising young stars such as Larenz Tate (Menace II Society), Noel G (Training Day) and Guerilla Black. Developed by a talented production team that includes Director Ali Kojori (who also collaborated on Def Jam Vandetta, NBA Street, Fight Night, Need for Speed) alongside Creative Director Matty Rich (Straight Out of Brooklyn, The Inkwell).
  • Exclusive Music Soundtrack: Banging hip-hop soundtrack produced exclusively for 187 Ride or Die.
System: PS2 (shown), X
Dev: Ubisoft
Pub: Ubisoft
Release: Aug 2005
Players: 1 - ? online
Review by Dan
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
4.5
VALUE
2.0