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Older video game fans will remember Midway's mid-1980s arcade game, NARC. Controversy brewed around the game's strong drug themes, and its 21st century progeny bears the same stigma. However, if you look past the hoopla, there's an enjoyable action/adventure game for adults here, and at a bargain price to boot.
NARC is published by its original parent company, Midway. The first NARC game was almost satire in it’s silliness and faux “hardcore” trappings (naming your Cops ‘Max Force” and “Hitman” will do that.) It was also incredibly violent, with drug dealers often being blown away in huge fleshy explosions. Don’t believe me, unlock the original and play it yourself. This 2005 update was developed by Point of View, who have quite a history with Midway.
Game Over Online
Have you ever played a game, finished it, and then wondered what in the world just happened? I don't mean in terms of a wacky cliffhanger, or how the evil scientist scraped up all the cash to build a giant fortress without the tax-man noticing him (and believe me, many a supervillain has been foiled by the IRS), or even how the hero worked up the nerve to propose to his beloved. I mean "What just happened?" in a "I can't believe they dropped the ball like this" way. That's how I felt while playing through NARC.
I had serious trouble coming up with a good way of introducing Midway's politically incorrect third-person action game, NARC -- the strapline being an introductory line of particular importance and difficulty. No matter what I dreamt up, nothing seemed worthy of representing NARC's deeply disturbed F-word flavored humor. Nor did any of my proposed straps manage to properly convey how fleeting the exhilaration behind abusing authority really is.
Game Freaks 365
NARC was delayed for nearly a year. What the developers did in this time, I don't know. Had they released it last summer though, it would have been Midway's worst game ever. It's still one of the worst that we've seen from a top-quality developer like Midway. With some of my favorites this generation (i.e. Psi-Ops, The Suffering, etc.), NARC is a budget-priced disappointment. We expect better from you Midway.
Há assuntos controversos no game, como as drogas e a violência, mas nada que já não tenha sido explorada em outros títulos desta geração. No final, "NARC" tem a competência de justificar os 20 dólares de investimento.
In the late 1980’s the nation's drug problem seemed to be in full swing. Kids everywhere were packed into gymnasiums and forced to sit through their schools weekly “D.A.R.E.” program, and even had their Saturday morning cartoons interrupted, where it seemed like a “Just Say No” ad occurred more frequently than a He-Man, or GI-Joe commercial. Point being, it appeared that no medium was safe from Nancy Reagan and her anti-drug campaign, not even the world of videogames.
Midway's classic side-scrolling shooter, NARC, was a real one-of-a-kind game when it hit arcades in 1988. And really, it's remained unrivaled in its ability to have it both ways. As a pair of hyper-badass Jerry Bruckheimer-style narcotics agents, you would use a fascistic level of force against any and all involved in the drug trade, including dealers, junkies, and prostitute-killing clowns--you know, everyone. It was a giddily surreal take on Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" mantra, and its absurd violence arguably paved the way for games like Mortal Kombat. All this manic fun is completely absent in Midway's modern remake of NARC, which comes off as a halfhearted third-person action game barely worth its budget price.
Game Informer Magazine
While the ability to brutalize the citizenry as a crooked cop may hold your attention for a few sadistic minutes, NARCs limited execution doesn't even deserve the title of being a poor man's GTA.
NARC isn't a very good game, but it does have its virtues. Unlike most other titles, it actually has something to say on an important social issue. Even if its opinion is a little simplistic ("Drugs have short-term benefits and long-term consequences") and awkwardly included in the game, at least there's an attempt at a message, which is more than most games manage.
Digital Entertainment News (den)
The graphics are also a mess; some might call it a style, but largely the game just features large, blotchy textures; simplistic – almost generic – locations; yawn-inducing overall design. On the upside, Midway is reintroducing NARC at a bargain price, only $19.95. That considered, if you’re old enough to handle the content (17 or older, by ESRB standards) NARC is actually worth checking out. Just don’t expect it to be the best action game you’ve played in years. Or months. Or even weeks, considering how many great games have been released lately.
Well for $20 you could do worse, but you can certainly do better. NARC looks pretty average and the script relies on 4 and 5 letter words, with repetitive music. The controls could have been handled better and the difficulty is rather easy. As for the power up system, what was Midway thinking when they allowed it to be included in this game? The violence is one thing, but this could be said that this promotes drug use and could bring even more groups against the Video Game industry. All in all, NARC is rentable and the $20 could be better spent picking up a PSone greatest hits game.
Game Informer Magazine
Put simply, NARC is a mess. Every time it starts to show a little potential, it blindsides you with a nearly unplayable mission, amazing camera failure, or a flat-out boring sidequest. Unlike other low-scoring games, NARC doesn’t amuse me with its awfulness or enrage me, it just makes me sad to see some interesting concepts go to waste and fills me with revulsion at the thought of ever playing it again.
Parents, keep this one away from kids. Not that it's worth playing in any way, shape or form, but there's way, way more in this game than you're ever going to want your kid to touch. As for the adults...keeps this one away from your console. Aside from hearing what decently cast voice acting sounds like and hearing Michael Madsen give an excellent performance in 6-10 hours of bad gameplay, there's absolutely no reason to touch this game, even at $20.
Common Sense Media
But not only is the game filled with unhealthy messages, it's pretty boring. The graphics are surprisingly average, with parts of the game too dark to see well, and players will be disappointed they can't explore more of the world here. The storyline is predictable, and gameplay seems like a bad Grand Theft Auto knockoff. The original version of the game is available here, but you have to unlock it.
Digital Press - Classic Video Games
NARC is essentially a sleezy, second-rate Grand Theft Auto knockoff. The graphics are dark and sometimes blurry, and the soundtrack is about as cliche' as it gets (I'm Your Pusher? C'mon.) I had originally rated the game's soundtrack a six, but I had to constantly turn it down due to my son being in the next room. I can really only see two possible target audiences for this game: people who can't wait for the sequel to Driv3r, and people who still think beating up virtual people for no real reason is a hoot.
Short, generic, and lacking almost any of the fun of the original arcade title. Instead of being as addictive as the drugs featured in the game, it’s like hitting yourself with a hammer, only those that like pain will keep doing it.
This moral ambiguity is one of NARC's biggest selling points, but it's also one of the game's biggest flaws. No matter how far you cross the line, you're never beyond redemption. Sure, you may get busted and demoted down to a beat cop, or even fired from the force for that time you blew a group of civilians with a grenade launcher. But hey, just drop a few bags of pot into the evidence locker at the police station or bust a few hookers turning tricks and you'll be forgiven in no time.
Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine (OPM)
NARC actually manages to make drugs look uncool. Wow. Walking around a city filled with a bunch of escaped extras from an afterschool special, you have two choices: Play another stupid mission in which you arrest someone with a series of golf-swing-meter button presses , or get high on drugs that double as useless power-ups. A life-threatening crack habit would be more fun.
Narc är ett praktexempel på varför man vill ogilla TV-spelsindustrin. Om ett lyckat koncept generar tunnland med pengar, i det här fallet GTA-serien, tar giriga utgivare som Midway efter. Men där GTA-spelen handlar om att göra karikatyrer på tidsepoker och samhällsaktuella ämnen, är Narc bara en ful och missbildad klon, som vill stjäla pengar från dumma spelköpare.