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Kingpin: Life of Crime

aka: Kingpin: Life of Crime - On the Street
Moby ID: 1345

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 80% (based on 28 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 54 ratings with 2 reviews)

Ordinary FPS dressed up in filth

The Good
SCENE: The plaza of a dingy run-down area of a large industrial city at night. Fires burn in oil drums and wounded dogs stagger about looking for a place to die. Over in a corner, a group of burly men in their late 20s stand around. Some are wearing leather jackets, some are simply wearing string vests. Every one of them is wearing jeans and they all have tattoos; huge tattoos of eagles and hearts with arrows through. They are smoking, drinking, swaggering, and swearing.

SCENE: At that moment, one of the men notices something and alerts his colleagues. A stranger is appearing out of the distant haze and is walking towards them. He cuts a slim physique but walks with an unnerving confidence. It is Ed Evans. A plucky young Brit with a shady past. He approaches the group and attempts to affect the language of the area.

EE: "S'up doggs, Yoze kno d' whereaboutz of Kingpin? Dogg cold knoze ah be meet'n him speciall-ee."

The group pause for a moment, then burst into riotous laughter. Evans' confidence is shaken. Rather than waste energy on killing or attacking the youngster, the men decide to humour him. One of the thugs walks off and after a tense few moments, a huge, heavily built man in an Armani suit comes round the corner. He is flanked by some men who appear to be bodyguards. The man walks up to Evans, smiles, and extends his hand. He is surprisingly well-spoken and polite.

Man: "Good evening, sir. What can I do for you?"

EE: "I...er...I was told...you...er....were expecting me. I'd like to interview you for an article I'm writing. You...you are...Kingpin...right?

Man: "Yes, I am he, and you must be Mr Evans. Please, come with me and we'll conduct our business in more comfortable surroundings.

EE follows Kingpin into a building. From the outside it looks like an abandoned tenement block but once inside, it's clearly been completely renovated. As they walk down corridors, people are dancing to music, snorting coke, and in some rooms, having sex on the floor. Eventually they reach a swanky air-conditioned private lounge. They sit down and an attractive girl pours them a couple of drinks, then exits. Kingpin lights a cigar and leans back. Small talk ensues for a while, but once the real questions start to come up, the don talks with refreshing candour. Unfortunately, with the drinks flowing freely, Evans finds himself getting drunk fast.

EE: "You've done very well for yourself."

KP: "Ha ha, of course. You know why? Because I'm at the cutting-edge of everything that's fashionable. I STARTED that fashion. I'm gritty, I'm masculine, I have large weapons, and nobody swore as much as I did back then."

EE: "Yeah. There was something refreshing about it, I agree."

KP: "I was the zeitgeist and I still am. I even introduced RPG elements. You could talk to my people and choose to respond to them positively or negatively, and you would get different reactions."

The Bad
EE: "I suppose so"

KP: "You SUPPOSE so?"

EE: "But there wasn't much else was there? I mean, in every other way, you were simply average. Your graphics, sound, speech, music, playability, durability, were all bog standard. There was no imagination, except imagination that has been used in a bad way."

KP: ...

Evans was beginning to slur his words. He had come to kill Kingpin, but it didn't look like that was going to happen any more.

EE: "With you, it was possible to shoot a cowering, innocent young woman in the arm, have the arm fly off, watch blood spurt from the wound and then witness her body slump to the floor as she lets out cries of agony. You sold well because of this. You have proved that many people who play games want to see this sort of thing. I'm not suggesting that we should let sights like this offend us and start writing angry letters, because I will admit, there is a fascination in being able to see such brutality and perhaps it's better than you showing the violence without showing the consequences. What I ask is, why do you even have to show the violence? Why do games have to be that violent at all? It might be 'what people buy' but people buy lots of non-violent games too. It's because of YOU that 'Soldier of Fortune' exists. That game is a f***ing disease to humanity. Billing itself as 'adult', it's the most childish game in the world. The designers are probably sweaty, grotesque, junk-food shoveling behemoths who sit around on the filth-encrusted floors of their desolate apartments cuddling machine-guns. I won't even begin to talk about what gun obsession compensates for, because we all know. Society at large thinks computer games are destroying us, and who can blame them, when games like you, which are CLEARLY AIMED AT TEENAGERS DESPITE THE 18 RATING come along to stir up controversy for the sake of it. How are games going to be taken seriously as long as your kind is around? Can you imagine the image conjured up by the average non-game playing person of a typical gamer? 'Half-Life' might have been about shooting people, but at least the violence wasn't the point, it wasn't the sole entertainment value. With you, the swearing and violence is everything, but there's no message, no statement that you're making, unless it's 'Get off on making people bleed, you verruca of a man.' I hate you! I hate you because you're juvenile, ugly, and boring, but above all, I hate you because you sold well, influenced the ultra-violent FPSs that followed, and reinforced the stereotype that games are mind-degrading pointless pursuits that boys play when they can't get laid! I want you dead! I want all your offspring dead or at least sent to some far distant island! But not a tropical island, just some tiny lump of volcanic rock! I had intended to kill you painlessly, because I'm not like you, but if you put up a struggle then I can't promise anything."

For a moment, all is silent. Neither person moves or breathes. The only sound is the fan in the corner of the room. Then...

KP: (almost a whisper) "You know...I've heard you like to play hentai games"

EE: "I...no, that's not true...I...OK, listen....I play bishoujo games and I play them for the emotional content not the sex...they're cartoon women."

KP: "And why did you not interview Soldier of Fortune instead? Or even Doom?"

EE: "I haven't played enough of Soldier of Fortune, and unless the game improves in quality remarkably after the first few levels, I never will. Doom was extremely provocative for no reason, but was also a supremely skillful work of design and furthered gaming in ways far beyond the medium's ability to show blood and guts. Unlike you. Also, he lives in a palace and is good friends with Al Pacino. I could never get to meet him."

KP: "I think we're done. Allow me to show you out."

EE follows KP out of the room and back down the stairs, as he does so, he suddenly remembers he left his gun on the seat. Ambiguous glances are exchanged with the people in the rooms nearby. Swearing he saw KP nod to someone, EE is relieved to finally leave. Just as he steps outside, he is struck from behind, rendered unconscious, and pulled back into the building.

Years later, it's been said that you can still hear his ghost's tortured screams when you pass through that plaza.

The Bottom Line
Kingpin is an average FPS. All the developmental work has gone into location specific damage zones and making the game as coarse, ugly, and violent as possible. As opposed to, say, making it fun and interesting. No-one will buy it any more anyway, games like this are dead two years after their release, but there are plenty more to follow. They are the very opposite of the word "adult" and they make me want to quit playing games forever.

Windows · by Shazbut (163) · 2006

Yo! This game is all F@&#ed-up motherf*&%er!!

The Good
Well, there's a lot of action in Kingpin, lots of blood and gore. lots of heated firefights, and lots of attitude. Which now that I think about it, its the game's only strong point.

Kingpin puts you in a gritty, burnt-down city comprised of bum-filled alleys, whores-packed bars, rat-infested warehouses, etc. in other words Kingpin thrusts you into the getto face first, and that's pretty commendable for a genre which has gotten us used to fighting aliens or other monsters on extravagant military installations. Moreover, extra points should be awarded to Kingpin for the use of the F word so many times, every f&%$ing phrase in the game has either a F&k or a Motherf%$&er in it, or a variation of it. Over the top? You betcha, and I think that helps the game a lot, since this isn't by all means a "discrete" game. Kingpin is all about making a lot of noise, and so it does. I also rejoiced in the fact that this could only happen in a PC. Try finding a game like Kingpin in any console! ;D

The Bad*
Unfortunately, for all it's "attitude" Kingpin lacks a lot of things that prevent it from being nothing more than a mediocre shooter.

For starters there's the graphics. They are a fu&#ing piece of crap... or, well, "they aren't too good" :). The game suffers from severe quake-palette disorder. That is, everything is brown, dark brown, maybe some gray, but that's it. Needless to say it gets EXTREMELY boring after a while. Also, the characters seem to be all modeled as 100-pound gorillas with broad, gigantic shoulders, blocky heads, and chubby limbs. They look way too cartoonish (which does NOT help the game) and they get terribly boring to look at after a while. The bitches, er.. ladies, fare a little better, with a slimmer and more realistic look to them, but it's far from perfect.

But the worst problem with the game is it's monotony. The game plays the same way oooover and ooover again. The story goes along the lines of you being a beaten-up thug, who goes out for revenge. In order to carry out his crusade, our thug goes around the city collecting cash, guns, etc... and then since he apparently gets bored, he decides to go for the big guy upstairs, the Kingpin himself, in order to take his throne. Cool huh? Well, as you could probably tell the story is just a lame excuse to have you trashing gangs around in order to get their stuff and/or to get to the next section of the city. The problem is that all the gangs are essentially the same save for their clothing, and the game handles them in the same way all the time: You arrive to a new section of the city, go to the bar, and get a quest from some dude via a lousy interaction system which turns npcs into signposts ("-Is something going on? -Yeah! I need you to go and save my son timmy!"). Said quest puts the local gang in your way, and thus you have to remove them in order to get to the next section of the town, and go to it's bar, etc. etc.... There are a series of bosses on each section, but they are equally boring. They are just very though thugs. Anyway, hope you didn't get attached to that extremely original gameplay concept, because by the end of the game the whole facade is removed and you just go shooting everyone in order to get to the Kingpin....yipee...

The weapons also help make the whole affair uninteresting. They are the same ones you have seen in every other fps since the dawn of time, and the only standout is a barely effective flamethrower from which most enemies can quickly recover. Furthermore, all the weapons are suited for head-on in-your-face assaults (shotgun, tommy gun, rocket launcher, etc.). There's not a single weapon which allows you to make use of some strategic angle (like say, a sniper rifle) so the action may be fun, but it gets to be too much of the same after a short while... To complement your arsenal, you can hire up to 2 goons to watch your back, but they are dumb as dirt, and usually bite the dust before they can be of any use (except early on when they pack heavier weapondry than you).

The Bottom Line
Essentially Kingpin may be interesting to look at because of it's "F&k you a$hole" attitude and unusual setting. But it's a lame, boring, and unoriginal fps with no saving virtues.

Also keep in mind that this game is most assuredly NOT for the politically correct, and I'm not just talking about the cursing and violence...

Windows · by Zovni (10504) · 2006

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Tim Janssen, Jeanne, Alsy, Scaryfun, vedder, Xan Girdeux, Klaster_1, COBRA-COBRETTI, lights out party, ti00rki, Patrick Bregger, Cavalary, Riamus, nyccrg, Longwalker, Wizo, Deleted.