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Smuggler's Run Review
By: Jaron Eldon

Wow! The PS2 has been released and it has a fairly good selection of starting games. One that stood out to me was Smuggler's Run, one of two Rockstar games released at the PS2 launch. As I walked down the isles at Best Buy, looking for a good game to start off my PS2 partying, I saw Smuggler's Run, and Midnight Club: Street Racing. I made the tough decision of deciding which one to get, and decided on Smuggler's Run, although, unknowst to me, I would soon be getting Midnight Club anyway. I got home and quickly hooked up my PS2, Popped in Smuggler's Run and was amazed.

Smuggler's Run is a game that is all off-road for the most part. You have a choice from only two cars at the beginning of the game, a buggy, and an SUV. Later on, you gain four more cars, the rally car, the trophy truck, the massive truck, and the military vehicle. The great thing about this game is that it's completely free-roaming, you look of in the distance and say, "Hey, I want to go to that mountain", you head towards it and before you know it, you are there. The game is all about smuggling illegal contraband to different check points, and gaining money for it.

Smuggler's Run's graphics are so amazing. The great thing about the graphics is that everything is 3D, instead of, in some racing games cases, having the backgrounds be CG. What this means is that, in a game like Gran Turismo, you look off in the background and see a beautiful landscape of mountains and water, but you can't get to it. Well in this game, anything you see can be driven to. One thing about the graphics is that the cars could use some sprucing up, the outside shell will be just one color, and there is almost no texturing on it, it will be just straight red, or whatever color is chosen. Another downside about the graphics is that the load times are incredibly long. May I offer you one more positive though? There is absolutely no popup from what I've seen, which is amazing for the large landscapes that you can drive through.

The camera views in the game are you're average racing camera views, and they look just fine. The controls are also very good. No big complaints in those areas, the camera always stays behind you, and the steering wheel always turns. The gameplay of the game is very basic, and very Crazy Taxi like. You go to a spot to pick up the contraband, then go to the corresponding checkpoint, and deliver it. Then you go to the next spot, and repeat. On some missions you get to do some racing, which can be very frustating, in fact, I'm still stuck on one race, but with school, I haven't had time to do much. A lot of the missions are timed, well, actually, almost all missions are timed, and that adds more difficulty to it. You've also got the Highway Patrol after you in most missions.

Overall, Smuggler's Run is very fun, and frustating, with some minor flaws. It has beautiful, and huge, environments. A very good game but not worthy of a perfect score.

Final Score: 8.5

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