reviews\ Dec 10, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Minority Report - GC - Review

Steven Spielberg’s amazing blockbuster film from last summer is finally arriving on consoles, coinciding with the film’s release on DVD.  The game was developed by Treyarch, the company responsible for a number of successful Tony Hawk ports as well as the surprisingly well-done Spider-Man: The Movie game.  Great movie, great developer; sounds like a recipe for success, right?  Wrong.  Minority Report lacks all the luster of either the movie or the Spider-Man game.  The game boasts redundant gameplay, poor graphics, and unpolished design.  Minority Report is yet another example of a great film license gone bad.


The game follows the storyline of the film somewhat closely, although it does take a fair amount of liberties.  You play as John Anderton, a future cop assigned to Washington DC’s pre-crime unit, a division which uses psychics to foretell murders and thusly stop them.  Soon, you find yourself framed for one such future murder, and you go on the run looking for some answers.  The game doesn’t provide any of the background from the movie whatsoever, so anyone who hasn’t seen the film will be very lost.  Also, they were unable to secure the rights to Tom Cruise’s likeness, so Anderton is a blonde guy now, which seems pretty weird.


The gameplay is very repetitive.  As Anderton, you run around, fight a pack of bad guys, run some more, fight more bad guys, rinse, lather, repeat.  You’ll do this for a good forty levels.  The controls are slightly more impressive.  Anderton can beat up the bad guys, then hoist up their bodies and continue to pummel them.  Then you can throw them into things, which is cool because almost everything in the environment is interactive.  You can chuck them into a glass sign and it will shatter as they go through it, or you can throw them against a rolling cart and knock it over.  You start out with a few basic combos, and as you progress and make more money, you can buy more combos off the black market.  However, the most effective move is the slide.  Using this move, you can knock down big groups of bad guys at one time.  However, the effectiveness of this move is a bit too much, as you can beat most of the game using just this move.


In a game with many sore spots, the graphics are especially bad.  The characters and environments lack much detail, and the animation is mired by weird-looking rag-doll physics.  When you throw an enemy or knock them against things, their bodies flop around like a rag-doll.  I’m sure it was an attempt at realism, but it ends up looking goofy and exaggerated.  The sagging framerates are also pretty ugly, as well.  The game does have some decent lighting effects, however, like when you fire a concussion rifle.


The sound consists of punches, screams and gunfire, pretty average for a beat-‘em-up.  The voice acting is pretty well done, and features the professional talents of Clancy Brown of Highlander fame.  The music consists of repetitive techno beats.  The game includes the song Apossibly by Apex Theory, and while I like the band and the song, it just seems terribly out of place in this game, another misused license.


It’s games like Minority Report that give people such low expectations for licensed titles.  Spider-Man had its fair share of flaws, but nothing to the extent of Minority Report.  Ugly, unpolished and boring, Minority Report is best left on the shelf.


Reviewer’s Scoring Details


Gameplay: 5.0
You fight a group of enemies, you run to the next area, fight more enemies, and so on, and so on.  Do this for about forty levels, if you can.


Graphics: 4.5
The character models are unrefined, the environments are drab and lack detail, and the framerates are pretty nasty.  The rag-doll physics are also just too weird looking to be believable.


 Sound: 6.0
The sound effects are average, although the voice acting is fairly well done.  The techno soundtrack is quite repetitive, and the Apex Theory song is out of place.


Difficulty: Medium


 Concept: 4.5
The game doesn’t provide any background to the film whatsoever, leaving players who haven’t seen the film very confused.  Also the fact that they didn’t secure Tom Cruise’s likeness is a definite minus.


 Overall: 5.0
With poor graphics, stagnant gameplay and an unevenly told story, Minority Report is prime example of a great license in the toilet.  If you see this in stores, use some precognition and avoid it like the plague.  


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