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Maximum Chase (Xbox) artwork

Maximum Chase (Xbox) review

"Developed by Genki, the very same who created so many Tokyo Xtreme Racer games, MC is a hybrid title, meshing high-speed chases with on-rail shooting segments, all wrapped in a silly plot told through cutscenes involving live actors in front of CGI backdrops. It's as goofy as it sounds... which is why I wanted it."

Though the original Xbox (aka X-Box or TEH ROAD by fans, obviously) will mainly be associated with Halo, first-person shooters, and western RPGs, the console did have a diverse library that filled each genre accordingly, albeit, not to the capacity as its competitor, the PS2. However, there are some releases that'll make people do a double take, because even they seem a bit out of place on said system, like Maximum Chase. Developed by Genki, the very same who created so many Tokyo Xtreme Racer games, MC is a hybrid title, meshing high-speed chases with on-rail shooting segments, all wrapped in a silly plot told through cutscenes involving live actors in front of CGI backdrops. It's as goofy as it sounds... which is why I wanted it. In fact, I bought it twice due to the first unopened copy having an unplayable disc.

The idea behind the game is to, as the back of the case puts it, recreate "Hollywood-inspired" chases and action scenes in video game format. With that in mind, this was created by a Japanese team and has an arcade slant to it, meaning the whole ordeal comes off comical. The acting is over the top, the main character tries being a badass with his absurd, eight-year-old haircut, all the villains are wearing black suits and shades, the CGI backgrounds don't mix well with the actors, and, for some reason, everyone is dubbed over, despite the actors looking like they're saying the same words anyway. The stages and their situations are just as cartoony, constantly finding excuses to put you in expensive, licensed cars conveniently as the suits give chase through parking garages with killer tractors and exploding barrels, movie sets with dinosaur bones, casinos, and exploding barrels, and highways featuring Xbox promotion trucks and exploding barrels.

If you're looking for something like Driver or Grand Theft Auto, this ain't it. But as a corny, arcade-style game, Maximum Chase had the appeal that could've made it a cult favorite. I was expecting the play mechanics to be pretty simple going into my first playthrough, but what I wasn't expecting was Genki's insistence on making the game as basic and straight-forward as possible. You'll only experience two types of stages, two styles separated from each another: an escape level and an on-rails shooting level, with a pattern that goes Escape, Shoot, Escape, Shoot, and so on. I figured they would at least incorporate both mechanics seamlessly into every stage. And I'll stress that though the game is short, ten total stages, you'll feel burned out after the fourth. The reason is that, after the introductory levels, Maximum Chase more or less stops adding any genuine variations in gameplay. You drive away from pursuers while occasionally ramming them and dodging scripted obstacles, then fire a thousand bullets at the vehicles moving in predictable patterns.

Of the two, the shooting gameplay is the more damning, since it really feels like a copy and paste job with every level, with the exception of different areas for the gun fights. Even full-length rail shooters have more variety than what's offered here. What's especially messed up is that there's a big shootout cutscene in a warehouse late in the game. How come that wasn't a stage? The only real challenges are the last two boss fights, requiring actual effort to combat the Apache's cheap movements and the 18-wheeler's unavoidable ram tactics. There's no heals or checkpoints, so if you get done in during the fights, it's back to the beginning of these repetitive stages. The chases fair better, due to the scripted events offering a sense of amusement, a sensation the shooting sections fail to achieve. Dodging forklifts, gas tankers, and traffic provides humorous results when the enemy cars crash into them and cause explosions. My favorite chase stage has to be the one traversing highway tunnels where you can drive on the opposite side, ala the motion picture Ronin. Accidents galore.

But once you complete your first playthrough of Maximum Chase, it's done, immediately wearing out its welcome on repeat visits; you'll get a good chuckle over the cutscenes, get brief enjoyment from the chases, and feel compelled not to complete any of the trivial, inane bonus objectives, like destroying a set amount of material. Sadly, there's only one reason to return for more, and that's to watch replays. Yes, a staple of car games is the cause of... replay value here, thanks to the chases actually being more fun to watch than play. In a video game. Maximum Chase may not be much of anything, but I guess Genki succeeded with its attempt in creating "Hollywood-inspired" chase scenes.

Rating: 3/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (March 25, 2012)

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