|True Crime: Streets of L.A.|
|Platform(s)||Keypad-based mobile phones
Xbox OS X
|Release||Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube|
November 3, 2003
Nintendo optical disc
True Crime: Streets of LA is an open-world action-adventure video game developed by Luxoflux and published by Activision. It was released for the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube in November 2003 and is the first installment in the True Crime series. Activision later released versions for Microsoft Windows and the Macintosh in May and November 2004, respectively.
One of the first open-world action-adventure games to be released after Rockstar Games's Grand Theft Auto III (2001), Streets of LA focuses on the other side of the law in the genre of the police procedural. The player controls police officer Nick Kang, and is to set out catching criminals and doing missions for the police force.
True Crime has been called "the GTA III clone where you play a cop", as the core mechanics are identical – the player can wreak havoc across and do almost whatever they want in the city and progress through the storyline at their own leisure. However, as the game focuses on the other side of the law, committing similar crimes in Streets of LA in comparison to that of the Grand Theft Auto series will have less severe consequences than in the Grand Theft Auto games, but will result in the player losing "good cop" points. If the player loses a certain amount of "good cop" points, their rank in the police force will drop, to the point where they are exiled from the police force entirely. If that does happen, the player will have to perform "good cop" actions in order to rise back up the police ranks. The amount of "good cop" points determines the game's ending.
The game features an extensive Template:Convert re-creation of a large part of Los Angeles, most of Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica with most of the street names, landmarks and highways. However, there are unmarked neighborhoods surrounding the game. The player cannot enter these parts of town, as an attempt will respawn Nick back onto the nearest street in the game. The game in general features many Los Angeles landmarks, such as the US Bank Tower, Hollywood Sign, Santa Monica Pier, and Marina del Rey.
The player assumes the role of Nick Kang, a young American detective and the living bane of every police chief because of his highly unorthodox and destructive means of catching criminals. When the game begins, Kang returns to Los Angeles after being suspended for going after a suspect and disobeying a direct order from his superiors.
Kang is at a police shooting range practicing his two-fisted technique when the Chief of the Elite Operations Division (E.O.D.), Wanda Parks, enters. Parks welcomes Nick back to the force and asks for his assistance in solving a series of bombings of local businesses in the Chinatown district. Though seemingly unrelated, the pattern of the crimes indicate the work of one or more of the Chinese Triad groups. At first, Nick is uninterested in the case, wanting to focus on his personal matters; Parks subtly coerces him to help out, on one condition — he does things his way. Despite Kang's reputation, Parks quickly agrees to this.
Parks partners Nick with Rosie Velasco; when Nick teasingly remarks how she is a "good girl", Rosie angrily responds by saying before going straight and becoming a detective, she "ran with more than a few Latino gangs in [her] time." Like others in the department, Rosie is uneasy about Nick and his reputation, but for Rosie, it is more personal — if Nick goes wild again, she doesn't want to get dragged down with him.
Why Nick first refused, and then accepted this case is personal: his father, Henry Wilson, was an exceptional police officer who was involved in a major drug operation in the 1970s; one day, he disappeared and was never found. Soon afterwards, Internal Affairs found a stash of cocaine in his locker, bringing his motives and role in the situation into sharp question. Though heartbroken by his father's disappearance, Nick refuses to believe this.
Rosie learns of Nick's backstory, and when his mother died and father disappeared, Nick and his brother Cary had traveled to Hong Kong to grieve. Nick then returned for revenge while solving another case. His methods grew increasingly reckless in his pursuit of justice. Nick went under the surname "Kang" when Henry disappeared. As Nick unravels the thread tying the smaller criminal dealings together throughout the game, he faces Triad thugs, as well as crime lords like Jimmy Fu, Big Chong, the mysterious and legendary Ancient Wu, Rocky (a member of the Russian Mafia) and Han Yu Kim (a general of the Korean People's Army).
The plot takes one of three different turns: Bad, Average and Good. Nick's actions and his Good/Bad cop rating decide the course. Each ending path concludes with a one-on-one brawl.
- Nicholas "Nick" Kang-Wilson (voiced by Russell Wong): Although he was recently suspended indefinitely from the police force due to repeated incidents of excessive brutality, property damage, and refusing to follow orders, Nick was recruited into the E.O.D. as the group's first field agent. The same over-the-line methods that got him thrown off the force enable him to succeed at the E.O.D. Nick's skills in martial arts are only matched by his ability to expertly wield firearms and drive like a professional stuntman.
- Rosie Velasco (voiced by Michelle Rodriguez): An ex-gangster turned straight, Rosie is determined to prove herself worthy of her badge; unfortunately, she has just been partnered with Nick, and isn't too happy about hitting the streets with a "loose cannon". Nick isn't too happy about it either, but when their first meeting together concludes with her being wounded in a shootout, she winds up behind a desk working intelligence for the rest of the case.
- Chief Wanda Parks: The Chief Detective of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), as well as head of the Elite Operations Division, with jurisdiction over the entire City of Angels. She has two decades of law enforcement experience and is one of the most well respected officers in the LAPD. Parks puts up with Nick's brash and over-the-top nature because she knows when all hell breaks loose, Nick is the only man who consistently delivers.
- George (voiced by Christopher Walken): An old friend of Henry's and a father figure and mentor to Nick. He reveals the backstory of the Wilson family to Rosie, and serves as a narrator at the beginning and end of Nick's quest.
- Rasputin "Rocky" Kuznetskov (voiced by Gary Oldman): Not much is known about Rocky at the beginning of the game, except that he is a member of the Russian Mafia and is involved with the Chinese Triads in some matter. As the game progresses, more about this character is revealed, including his peculiar habits.
- FBI Agent Masterson (voiced by Gary Oldman): He is called on the scene to oversee the case that the EOD is working on throughout the game. He doesn't like working with the EOD, especially because of Nick. Voiced by Gary Oldman.
- Bouncers: Sixteen of the bouncers/security men of Rocky's club, the Gulag, When Nick sneaks in, the bouncers and DJ open fire on him. Nick kills all of them, save for the DJ Ricky, before confronting Rocky and his goons. In an alternate next mission, two of the bouncers and the DJ survive and they fight Nick in an alley.
- Don Rafferty: An old friend and partner of Henry's when they were working on the drug case, Don Rafferty knew the Kang brothers as they were growing up. It is eventually revealed he was corrupted by Rocky, and went along with his drug smuggling and money laundering operations. Though Rafferty attempted to turn Henry, Henry refused and was subsequently murdered.
- Misha: Rocky's bodyguard, visible a number of times throughout the game. Depending on the path Nick takes, he may have to fight him. He is killed by Nick in every ending; the reasons are touched upon above in the plot summary.
- Misha 2: Another right-hand henchman, this Misha looks like one of the normal Russian goons. Misha is first seen in the spa, when the player fails the sneaking mission, or the fight against the bathers. Misha interrorgates Nick, but Nick kicks a bench against Misha's head. Misha is next seen acting as a bodyguard for Rocky in the Gulag.
- Ricky: The DJ at the Gulag. When Nick first visits the Gulag, Ricky discovers him and starts a firefight. Apparently he survived, because he is seen two more times. In the alternate mission "Back Alley Brawl", two of the club doormen and Ricky take Nick to the back alley and engage him in combat, but Nick beats all three of them. In another alternate mission, Nick comes looking for Rocky inside the Gulag again. Ricky and two other Russian thugs fight Nick, but Nick beats them, then interrogates one of them, Rocky's right-hand-man Misha.
- Chyort: Rocky's new bodyguard in the average ending after Misha is killed. Apparently he doesn't trust the Triad.
- Han Yu Kim: A General from North Korea seeking to strengthen his country's position in the world scene through illegal means. To this end, he is working with Rocky and his Mafia connections, as well as the Chinese Triads. He is seen in all three endings, and fought as the last boss in two; his ultimate goals are only revealed in the true ending, however. The character's image is based on Kim Jong-il.
- Ancient Wu: This mysterious figure is said to be the creator of the Chinese Triad, though many view him only as a myth or a legend. Nevertheless, Nick learns the truth of this legend as he pursues Rocky and the Triads. In later branches, he is viewed as Nick's mentor and often helps him escape sticky situations (he releases Nick's handcuffs when he was captured in the airport and appeared in one scene to get Nick out of a police car). It is known that he was a Chinese mercenary in his time of youth, commonly seen kissing young Chinese boys of the high class.
- Jimmy Fu: Jimmy Fu is a lesser Triad crime lord working for Big Chong. Nick sneaks into his warehouse, but is trapped and forced to shoot his way through Jimmy's men. After killing his attackers, Nick is about to question Jimmy, but is forced to defend himself against a sniper determined to make Fu pay for having intercourse with his sister in Korea. If Kang fails, his vest saves him, but Jimmy will be killed, and Nick is yelled at by a furious Rosie who reveals Jimmy's last words as the next link in the case. If Kang kills the sniper, Jimmy is arrested, and under heavy interrogation spills the name of his boss: Big Chong.
- Big Chong: A crime lord from Ancient Wu's gang, wanted for sex crimes and sexual extortion. Nick tails him from his house to the Cyrus Hotel where Nick loses him. Nick then finds out he is at the Russian spa, having a meeting with Rocky. Nick then jumps from where he is spying on Rocky and shoots through Chong's crew. Chong comes out to kill Nick himself but is killed in the ensuing firefight.
- Gypsy: A stripper working in the Body Fantastique strip club. She was also a driver for Lola Gees. [Episode 4 Alternative story]
- Lola Gees: Star on her own show Con Girls who works for Rocky and General Kim. [Episode 4 Alternative story]
- Cary (Kang) Wilson: Nick's little brother, owner of a vast chain of 24-hour dojos throughout the city, where Nick can improve his fighting ability. Nick is very protective of his younger brother who, for his father's sake, he has vowed to defend with his life.
- Jill: Rocky's girlfriend; she uses her charm to trap and lead Nick astray more than once. She appears in the intro movie and various other times through the game.
- Snoop Dogg: An unlockable playable character in the game, with his own mini-game and quotes. He is unlocked by either collecting 30 Dogg Bones scattered throughout Los Angeles or by entering a cheat code.
Bad ending: Nick faces off with Han Yu Kim at the top of a high-rise bank after shooting his way through the General's mercenaries. If Nick loses the final fight, he is thrown off the building and only wakes up in time to realize his fate, as the General escapes. If Nick wins, it is the General who falls off from the building before Nick receives any information from him.
Average ending: Cary is dead and Rosie is kidnapped by Rocky, who forces Nick to drive an armored car full of counterfeit money to the Chinatown Plaza, in exchange for her life. After being ambushed and killing the General's men, Rocky and Nick have a final fight. If Nick loses, he dies and Rocky escapes. If Nick wins, Rocky surprises him and is about to stab him to death, when he is shot down by Rosie. Earlier, he had taunted Nick about knowing the truth about his father; however, the secret died with him.
Good ending: After battling through Ancient Wu's trials, the truth is revealed: Rocky was formerly a member of the KGB, who quickly turned criminal when given the opportunity, along with Rafferty, Henry's former partner. Kang tracks the two to the Santa Monica airport, but is surprised by Jill and knocked unconscious. Rocky reveals the rest of the story: when Henry refused to be turned by Rocky or Rafferty, Rocky shot him in the head and dumped his body in the ocean. Rocky prepares to kill Nick, but Rafferty takes the bullet. Nick is freed by Ancient Wu and kills Jill and some other gangsters before going after Rocky, who is attempting to escape; Rocky dies after Nick blows up his jet. The General arrives and explains that the Russians stole their money and must deal with loose ends. If Nick loses, the General escapes and Nick either passes out or dies from his injuries just as the police arrive. If Nick wins the fight, the General is killed just as the police arrive.
|True Crime: Streets of L.A.|
True Crime: Streets of LA is the soundtrack to the video game. It was released on November 11, 2003 for Koch Records and was produced by the likes of DJ Quik, DJ Battlecat, King Tech, and Goldfingaz. The soundtrack was co-executive-produced by Big Swoop, Bright Riley and the Streets of LA video game's Chris Archer. The album featured West Coast rappers such as Snoop Dogg, West Connection, Warren G, Bishop Lamont, and Jayo Felony. The soundtrack peaked at no. 100 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and no. 42 on the Independent Albums chart.
The soundtrack was the recipient of a (2004) Billboard Digital Award / Best soundtrack in a Video Game and nominated for "Best Soundtrack To a Video Game" on MTV’s 2004 Video Music Awards. The song "Dance Wit Me" went on to gain radio play as the single from the soundtrack. Mixed by Rich Niles, this title featured Snoop Dogg and Doggystyle Records' Quazedelic.
- "Dance with Me" (2:57) – Snoop Dogg
- "Not Like You" (2:37) – Systematic
- "Terrorist Threats" (2:29) – Westside Connection
- "Don't Fight the Pimpin'" (3:07) – Suga Free
- "What U Wanna Do" (4:08) – Warren GWarren G, RBX
- "True Crime Remix" (4:06) – Young Dre The Truth, Bishop Lamont
- "I'll Do Anything" (3:18) – Damizza, N.U.N.E.
- "Thug Night" (4:17) – Jayo Felony
- "Hollywood" (4:20) – Bizzy Bone
- "Drinks in the Air" 3:11 – Hollywood
- "Don't Do the Crime" (4.17) – Kam, Cavie, Above the Law
- "Legends" (3:54) – Boo-Ya T.R.I.B.E.
- "They Don't Know" (3:47) – Dee Dimes, Bigg Swoop
- "Flow" (4:04) – Sly Boogy
- "This Is How We Live" (4:24) – Lil' 1/2 Dead, Kon-Troversy, Quicktomac
- "We Don't Stop (3:27) – Soul Star
- "Can't Fuck With Us" (4:23) – Tray_Deee, Mr. Short Khop, Threat
- "Do Time" (4:02) – Pomona City Rydaz, Lil 1/2 Dead
- "Roll Wit Me" (3:08) – Young Billionaires
- "Cali Folks" (4:06) – Stylistik
- "Lets Get It Crackin'" (3:42) – Lil Eazy E, RizzyBoy
- "Dangerous" (4:20) – Dr. Stank ft, Butch Cassidy
The game was inducted into the Greatest Hits for the PlayStation 2 in 2004, as well as becoming one of the Xbox Classics for the Xbox and the Player's Choice title for the Nintendo GameCube. A sequel, True Crime: New York City, was released in late 2005 for keypad-based mobile phones, the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube.
Critical reception for the game was fairly positive overall, with the PS2 version and other console versions holding average scores of 77 on Metacritic, and the PC version holding a score of 68. Common criticisms included the main protagonist, who was described in GameSpot's review, rated 7.2/10, as "completely unlikeable", the perceived low level of difficulty and its technical glitches. IGN rated the console version 9/10.
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