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     " It plays as though someone designed the game exclusively by cutting and pasting elements from other equally uninspired games that came before it. "

      Title: Fugitive Hunter: War on Terror by Encore

      Format: PS2 Shooter

      Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo

      The Hype: A growing trend in media in general, and video games are no different, is to sensationalize current events by getting them hyped into a game as fast as possible. Typically this leads to one of two results; a game that is past the times like Take 2's "Desert Storm II" which tried to deal with the Iraq war but came out long after it was decidedly over, or it ends up being a game that's rushed and unfinished in a desperate attempt to stay topical. Which one do you think this is?
          On that note, we need an extra special preface from the Mojo Jojo: Though this is unusual, I wanted to take the opportunity to give you a preface to the review. There are themes in Fugitive Hunter that I'm just going to tell you about now to save time. They revolve around the developers obviously being two things: 1) Desperate to get this game out fast. 2) Intent on throwing as many gimmicks that they thought were cool, with or without the ability to deliver them, as possible. I point this out because it will govern every aspect of this review and will save me a bunch of time if I can just refer you back to these two realities.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Now that we're into the meat of the review, you'll see how useful the preface was by me simply saying that the graphics are an obvious example of #1, the developers being pressed for time. They aren't quite as bad as some of the things I've seen put on the Playstation 2, but they're close. Far from being anything to be proud of, I would liken the jagged, illogical, and unimpressive graphics to putting your kid's straight "C-" report card on the fridge. Sure, you're not ashamed, but by no means should you be proud either. 2.5 out of 5

      Playability: Ugh. One word, three letters, "ugh". Can we move on now? No. Alright. So, first let's start with preface point #2, that which states they had ideas they thought were cool but didn't know how to do. The cool idea? Let's combine a tactical shooter with a fighting game. The goal was to produce a game that let you switch from 1st person shooter to 3rd person fighter-which is not a horrible idea in-and-of itself. Honestly, when I first read that on the back of the box, I was reminded of a friend of mine who was a special operator during Desert Storm who ended up in a knife fight during a building clearing. It had potential, or so I thought. The reality? That they would take an fps and add Street Fighter-esque boss fights for no legitimate reason. The rationale is that you must capture these fugitives (like Bin Laden) alive and the only way to bring them down is in ninja-like button mashing brawls, but it ends up being so forced and asinine that it meshes with the rest of the game about as well as crap mixes with peanut butter-stir it up enough and it almost looks like it belongs but you know something's wrong as soon as you get your first taste. The individual elements aren't much better, such as (and another reference to point #2) the futile attempt at tactical shooting, obviously designed by someone who has never done anything even resembling tactical shooting. It, in practice, is nothing but the most base fps faire complete with power ups, ludicrous weapons, and randomly generated encounters where bad guys appear out of no-where and function without rhyme or reason.
          But just in case all that's still not enough for you, let's take a look at the bulk of the gameplay overall-- the fps crawl through level after level. Firstly, just to get this out of the way, the levels are laughable at best and aggravating at worst, bringing back old and attemptedly forgotten standbys like key finding to open doors and recovering items that are insufficiently distinguished from the background to be visible. And while they occasionally feature a clever design and cover elements that could lead to some interesting fire fights, the archaic fps gameplay is good for nothing more than running balls out straight towards enemies that are doing the same at you. It's beyond dated, ridiculously bland, and almost ludicrously uninspired…playing as though someone designed the game exclusively by cutting and pasting elements from other equally uninspired games that came before it.
          Thus, again I say, Ugh. 1.5 out of 5

      Story and Drama: If I were to tell you "this is a game about hunting down Bin Laden and his ilk" you might have cool visions of covert operations in the mountains of Afghanistan, interrogating informants and sneaking past guards. Or perhaps you'd imagine leading a gung ho force of patriots against radical extremists attempting to perform heinous acts of destruction. What you probably wouldn't imagine is a game that level treadmills you as a solo combatant past innumerable volumes of "rag-heads" which leads inexplicably to a kung fu showdown with their boss. What's more, you would probably think that it would play on your sense of patriotism and moral outrage by painting the terrorists in contrast with the freedom and nobility of the people they are trying to destroy. Instead what you get is a bunch of stock footage that unapologetically tries to do nothing but evoke ire over events like the bombing of the USS Cole (shown during the intro) and then channel them into your playing of "Lt. Seaver", the mindless testosterone poisoned "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" "hero" of the game. And while I'm never against a little mindless violence, if you're going to base a game on bringing the scourge of humanity to justice maybe it should have both a little humanity and a little justice thrown in there somewhere. Instead, Fugitive Hunter plays like its tagline is "Free small slushy with every 100 fanatics eviscerated". 1 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Fortunately this game has no multiplayer. I say "fortunately" because that means I didn't have to try playing it. 0 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       Well, it's nice to know wherever there is atrocity, misery, and feelings of injustice there will be someone to exploit it by making a two-bit knock off shit fest of a video game that offers nothing but banks on your sense of outrage to get you to buy it.

      The Good: At $29.99 the game is a "budget title" so at least they're not trying to bilk you to much.

      The Bad: That's still $28.99 more than they should be charging.

      The Overall Ugly: If the gameplay, graphics, and story don't piss you off the portrayal of the coward that is Osama Bin Laden as a tough as nails trench fighter and master ninja will.

      What it's Worth: What kind of question is that? "What's it worth"…did you read the review? It ain't worth squat.

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