"Instead, Bulletproof plays out to be a poor man's Max Payne. Forget the promises made about our rapping chum carving himself an open path; his destination is set and linear. And dull."
Game developers, take note: no matter who you grab from the entertainment industry to base a game on, the odds are against you.
KISS Physco Circus was a disappointment and a commercial flop; the Metallica game has been in video game limbo for longer than Duke Nukem Forever, and Revolution X, Aerosmith's very own light-gun shooter, has been universally berated by anyone unfortunate enough to play it. 50 Cent's Bulletproof is not the exception to this rule. It's the benchmark: a picture of mediocrity that relies almost completely on the popularity of a generic rapper who is regularly pelted with jars of urine from his 'fans'.
In his defence, 50 Cent -- or 27 pence as we in the UK known him as -- has ensured his offering is crammed full of his work. You can find, unlock and 'enjoy' dozens of remixed and original tracks from the rap megastar, including media coverage and videos. All well and good if you want it, but for those of us that don't want to hear muttered ramblings about bitches, ho's and drive-bys, the effort here is insignificant. Some people will appreciate these slew of extras but most will want to experience the game for what was promised: a dark and gritty take on urban life following the same trend set by the free-flowing GTA series. And because of this, a lot of people are going to be disappointed.
Instead, Bulletproof plays out to be a poor man's Max Payne. Forget the promises made about our rapping chum carving himself an open path; his destination is set and linear. And dull.
Set in what we are meant to believe is an 'alternative reality' of jam-master fiddy's life, the idea is to take on some form of gang that has kidnapped one of his hip-hop cronies -- whom I know nothing about, despite the games insistence that I must -- and has plugged our lyrical master nine time with the funkiest of firearms available in the ghetto, yo. This may not be the fo' shizzle of plots, but it's all the more forgettable when you stray into your first shoot-out with the nefarious gangers.
Because things almost work here; the AI of your opposing forces is excellent. They will utilise cover cleverly, backing up advancing members with cover-fire and exploring new any advantageous angles they can employ in their favour. They'll even roll dumpsters in front of them for cover, or grab up garbage cans as makeshift shields. Their behaviour is almost as great as their appearance: each member looks different from the last. Smoke issues forth from cooling barrels; scenery takes visible damage. This would all be great if the game's camera wasn't a new definition of incompetent. Most of the time you'll find yourself staring up 27p's left nostril rather than your target, making simple things like aiming your firearm or even seeing what's in front of you a nightmare! For all it matters, on-screen foes could be dancing an irish jig while wielding dual pigeons -- it doesn't matter because the odds are you'll miss it as you struggle to get your viewpoint right.
Gun down these targets -- more by blindly spraying the area with bullets than clever sniping most of the time -- and you still won't get time to iron out your incompetent camera. For some unexplainable reason, the enemies in this game have been made respawnable. The amount of times you will find yourself running headlong into a corner while you try and fix your viewpoint only to be violently accosted by the very forces you've just finished assassinating is frustratingly countless.
Perhaps to try and hide this, G-Unit and hippity-hoppity clique members have been shipped in to provide the voice acting for the title. Whereas I'd like to pick up with an openly mocking tone, they fill their roles superbly, doing a much more competent job than you hear from 'professionals' on other games, but it's too little, too late. This isn't the dope experience promised; this sucker is as whack as any attempt I make to slip into street talk, feel me?
Fans of the music can spend their money more wisely on any of the slew of DVDs and albums were they can appreciate their peculiar tastes in music until their ears finally implode. This is supposed to be an enjoyable video game, but it ends up just being another sub-par effort in an overcrowded genre that tries to siphon sales from its thuggin' and buggin' lead man.
For us that don't care about 50 Cent at all, don't make the mistake I did; there is very little fun to be gleamed here. For those that do, grit your teeth and endure the flaws if you want. But don't say I didn't warn you!
There's a reason he gets pelted with those jars of urine, you know. It's only a shame he's safe from this fate in the virtual world.
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