reviews\ Dec 11, 2002 at 7:00 pm

WRECKLESS: The Yakuza Missions - GC - Review

You do have to admire a game that makes no pretenses about what it offers.

The manual for Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions, a Bunkasha Games and Activision release for the GameCube, states the game’s content thusly: "Put simply, get in a vehicle and FLOOR IT!"

Yep, that’s what you do. You have a mission, woven through three difficulty levels, and you select what you consider the appropriate vehicle, then take off, running through or over any and everything that gets in your way. But that’s not even half the mission.

The game features two main modes of play: Dragon Adventure and Spy Story. Both are timed missions, but they are akin to a single-mission time trial as opposed to the ongoing campaign.

The game takes place on the winding, twisting streets of Hong Kong. The Dragon Adventure begins with the Yakuza trying to stop an armored car and steal its payload. Two officers are instructed to stop them. How? By jumping in their vehicle (there are several to choose from, including high-powered cars or slow but better-handling vehicles) and pummeling the Yakuza cars into submission. There are side quests that promote destruction on a massive level. In order to score well, you may need to run over or hit 150 objects as you barrel down the roads.

Your car also comes equipped with rockets that can do a fair amount of damage.

The objective changes in Spy Story. Two erstwhile undercover operatives (referring to themselves by the names of "Chubby-wubby" and "Hubby-dubby") are out to rob the Yakuza cash vehicle. Again, ramming it into submission within a time limit is necessary, but wait, there’s more. Once you have damaged the vehicle to the point where it can no longer move, it is assumed that you have snagged the money. But you then have to get it to the airport. A direction arrow will help you, but if you have no clue how the city operates, that arrow may point across a body of water, a direction you cannot take. You have to find your way around the town to the designated spot. Oh, and if that isn’t tough enough, one of the sub-quests may be to finish with 30 seconds left on the clock. The game boasts a total of 40 missions, each progressively tougher than the last.

Wreckless is a demolition derby. You can run over people, slam into oncoming traffic, take out street accoutrements and utilities and generally drive with total disregard to anyone or anything.

The game does enable you to drive from a variety of vantage points, and the graphical elements are solid. The sound is also well done.

When it comes to the game controls, this game takes great pains to keep it as simple as possible, thus ensuring that anyone can jump in and play.

Wreckless has dry wit, and offers a sardonic view of action games. The game does have some features not available on other platforms, but lacks the graphical firepower of a game like Spyhunter. This game is enjoyable and challenging, but is also one of those games that likely won’t have you glued to your console system for hours at a time.

This game is rated Teen for violence.


Gameplay: 7
The demolition derby style of mayhem wears thin quickly, and while you can unlock more vehicles in order to create it faster and with more fervor, this game is little more than an arcade smash ‘n crash.

Graphics: 7
The cutscenes aren’t as sharp as they could be, and the explosions look a touch pixilated. The driving dynamics are solid.

Sound: 7
There is a bit of a nudge-nudge-wink-wink in the scripted dialogue, but the overall sound of the game is merely average and expected.

Difficulty: Medium
The game can confound players as they try to weave their way throughout the city. The controls are kept simple, but the game presents a real challenge, and that clock continues to tick away.

Concept: 6.8
There really doesn’t seem to be a solid intriguing reason to play this game over and over. It is okay, but the missions are all, more or less, the same.

Multiplayer: 7
Crash and blow up another player in head-to-head competition. Not bad for a party, but it won’t sustain interest for any length of time.

Overall: 7
This is an average arcade demolition game that does have a good range of features but suffers from game play that is basically the same thing over and over. It is a pleasant diversion, but little else.


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