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25 to Life
Information about 25 to Life25 To Life is a third-person shooter video game for Windows, PlayStation 2 and Xbox released in 2006 (11 years ago). The game was developed by Avalanche Software and Ritual Entertainment, and was published by Eidos Interactive.
Set in a modern environment, the game allows the player to play as both a police officer and a gangster, at different times, in a "cops and robbers" style game. The game can be played online with up to 16 players using the network adaptor for the PS2 and through Xbox Live for Microsoft's Xbox, and there is online play for the PC version as well. In addition, the game features a variety of hip hop songs played during the game.
The name of the game comes from a typical "indeterminate life sentence" that is often given in the United States upon a defendant's conviction for a violent felony. See the article on parole for more information.
GameplayThroughout the early and mid '90s, there was a boom in movies that took place in "the hood." This urban-themed movie trend really kicked off due to the success of John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood. After that, the "me too" phenomenon kicked in, and there was suddenly a glut of gangsta movies--the quality of each steadily declining the further in you got. The same phenomenon is happening with games. While games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (6 walls) stand out as Boyz n the Hood or Juice equivalents, we're also getting our video game equivalents of junk like Tales From the Hood or (shudder) Phat Beach. 25 to Life is the latest in line, and this third-person shooter is, in a word, dumb.
The single-player isn't tough, as long as you don't run around in the open too often.
25 to Life is an overly simple third-person shooter that has a story-driven single-player mode and a team-based multiplayer mode. The single-player starts you out in the role of Freeze, a gangster who's trying to get out of the game and escape with his wife and son. You're asked to do "one last job," which, of course, goes spectacularly wrong and messes everything up. You'll also play as a cop surrounded by dirty cops and as a gang leader who gets banished to Mexico only to end up taking over the organized-crime scene there by force. The story is all over the place, and since the playable characters are to a certain extent connected, you're never really sure if you're playing as a good guy or a bad guy. But the narrative is so lame that you probably won't care.
The single-player action boils down to hiding around corners, popping out, and mowing down as many enemies as you can. You'll come across a bunch of different weapons--including pistols, dual pistols, submachine pistols, assault rifles, and even a LAW rocket launcher or two. In case you're silly enough to get up close, you'll also be packing a melee weapon, such as a knife or a hammer or something. There's almost always enough ammo around to prevent you from having to turn to your melee weapons, and there's usually enough health around--at least on the default difficulty setting--to prevent the game from ever being too difficult, assuming you're careful and don't stand out in the open. An onscreen radar displays enemy positions, which is good for letting you know when you're safe and when you've got trouble coming around the corner.
The environments vary, giving you outdoor and indoor levels to play in. You'll run through some Los Angeles-like streets, rob a bank and a casino, run through the streets of Tijuana, and break out of a prison during a riot. There's a good amount of variety, though none of the environments are particularly noteworthy. Most simply contain singular paths that take you from start to finish as you blast your way through the game's short story mode.
As you play through single-player, you'll be unlocking new custom items for use in the multiplayer. The team-based multiplayer is cops versus criminals for up to 16 players in four modes. War is your basic team deathmatch. Raid puts the criminals on the defensive as they protect their stash from the cops. Robbery puts a series of loot items on the map, which criminals must steal and return to their base while the cops try to prevent them from doing so. Tag pits criminals against criminals in a graffiti war. The taggable walls act as control points, and it's up to your team to hold down as much of the map as possible to earn points. If you like, you can disable or limit respawns to adjust the finality of death.
While the multiplayer setup's focus on team games makes it resemble Sony's popular SOCOM series at a glance, you won't find any of that game's tactical elements here. Death comes quickly if you expose yourself to enemy fire for too long. Overall, it's a simple mode that doesn't beat out its competition on any of the three platforms.
25 to Life is available on the PC, the Xbox, and the PlayStation 2, and the experience is roughly the same across all three platforms. The PC offers slightly better control, with its standard mouse-and-keyboard setup, but the Xbox and the PS2 versions control just fine. However, a bug in the PC version caused all of the music to constantly skip, forcing us to disable it. The Xbox and the PS2 versions come with a soundtrack CD, though it is conveniently missing all of the game's best music, while the PC version comes with a Freeze playing card for use with the collectible card game Street Warriors.
It's like Max Payne (4 walls) without the fun!
Graphically, the game isn't much to look at. The bland environments and generic character animation stick out, and the rag doll-like physics of falling bodies look cheap, especially when dead bodies clip right through solid objects. The sound effects are similarly standard--you've heard gunfire in a video game before, right? The voice acting is passable, though the script's low quality negates any of the game's better voice actors. The soundtrack is a quality mix of hip-hop, both old and new. It's good, which makes the PC version's music bug all the more disappointing. Containing classics from Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy ("Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" plays during the prison riot scene, which is a perfect fit, even if your in-game motive doesn't match the song's), it's the high point of the entire package.
While 25 to Life works as intended, the third-person shooting doesn't differentiate itself in any way, making it feel like a sad Max Payne (4 walls) clone--lacking that game's style and acrobatic shot-dodge maneuvers. The multiplayer is functional, yet thoroughly unexciting. Even if you're a fan of the subject matter, you could certainly do better than 25 to Life.
PlotThe game is about an African American man named Freeze, his friend Shaun Calderon, and a Police Officer, Officer Williams. The main protagonist being Freeze, the story is focused around him, despite the ability to be all three of the characters during at least one point throughout the game. Freeze commits crimes with Shaun to get money, which he promptly spends for his family.
One night upon returning home, his wife confronts him about these actions. Saying they are a bad influence to their son, she wants him to stop. After an argument, he agrees. The next day, he tells Shaun he wants out of the game. Shaun levels a gun on Freeze, informing him that he must do one last "job" -- a narcotics trade.
At the deal, Freeze finds the Colombian gang members dead, and police officer Maria Mendosa waiting. He flees with the police in pursuit and loses them. Freeze then robs a bank until the police arrive. After a gun fight against the police, he finally reaches his getaway car only to be arrested after being hit by a nightstick.
Meanwhile, Mendosa informs Officer Williams of a new criminal, Shaun Calderon. They look for Shaun in his house (with a rookie) only to be found in a gun fight. Officer Williams then finds evidence and gets into Mendosa's car. Officer Williams goes to a club to find Shaun and chases him to the subway. Officer Williams then arrests Shaun but Mendosa kills him and tells Shaun to leave and go to Mexico.
Shaun goes to Tijuana and fights his way to a local club called "The Curtains Club". Shaun then robs a casino, fights security and goes to a wealthy man named Saragosa's penthouse. Shaun then kills him.
Freeze breaks out of jail and gets new clothes at the mall while being chased by the police. Freeze then kills Mendosa in the mall and hunts down Shaun then saying, "We used to be best friends, until you sold me out. Now, it's nothin' but flowers and a funeral for you, home boy", Freeze steps on Shaun's neck until he suffocates. The final scene shows Freeze telling Darnell, "From now on, it's just you and me against the world. Now let's do this." a large amount of police officers arrive, Freeze picks up a gun and points it at the police.
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