Wednesday, 18 May 2011

State of Emergency

 (Pardon me if there's any typos or misspellings or if the wording of some sentences seems off, I had the shits bad while writing this and at one point I fell asleep for a few hours, so I weren't at my sharpest, which is already rather dull. I'm also proof reading the text at 12:30 AM while picking my nose. I blame the game, it's bad and boring, definitely the cause of all my problems in life, even though I played it a month ago)

I played State of Emergency for PS2 a long while ago but on the blog I'm trying to catch up with the games I've played in the approximate order I played them so I'll try to pass my judgement on it now inspite of having forgotten things about it.

State of Emergency was a pretty big disappointment to be honest. I've been sort of looking for it on and off since I heard about it years and years ago and it's a shame I only found and bought this year, because I think I could've appreciated it's arcade-style gameplay a little bit more when I was younger. Right now, though, with more experience with video games and with a much more refined taste, which is debatably still crap, State of Emergency is in my opinion just bad. Not necessarily so bad you could laugh at it or make a big angry rant about it saying it's the worst game ever, just so bad you don't ever recommend it to anyone.

First of all, as a full-fledged arcade style... I don't know, mayhem game I suppose, it has no story. The basic premise is that the country has slowly but surely fallen under the rule of the Corporation which has removed rights from the people and lied to the masses in order to supposedly create a completely lawful, calm and productive society while raking in more money for the large corporations, but a rebel group called Freedom Movement has been fighting against the corporate power and the feud has escalated to the point where the Corporation has placed the country in a state of emergency in order to have a good chance at stomping out the last rebels once and for all, while there's riots and people just panicking on the streets of Capitol City.
There's no cutscenes and no plot other than the intro movie showing an explosion and then gameplay footage, it's just you as one of the five characters killing the Corporation's police officers and blowing up cars and buildings. The lack of story is perfectly acceptable in arcade-style games like these if the actual game is good but State of Emergency just blows and a story, old and clichéd as Freedom fighters rebelling against the tyranny of the Corporation may be, could only help keep your interest in it.

State of Emergency's all-star cast includes such memorable characters as
that average guy, that chick, that fat guy, that black guy and that thin guy.
By the way, I don't think you can pick up that trash can in the image.
There's five characters to choose from and from what I saw each one does have a short "backstory" description in the selection screen that tells how they joined the Freedom in one sentence, but apart from looks they're not different from each other, have no cutscenes or dialogue and no special attributes. Their characteristics and personalities can be summed up easily with 'the chick in purple suit', 'the generic average guy' and 'the fat badass gangsta', and the gameplay experience doesn't change in any way if you select one or the other. Also, three of the five characters are locked and can only be selected once you beat levels in the Revolution mode, the closest thing to a story mode the game has, so your options are limited anyway. I find it kind of stupid that the guy on the cover, the fat gangsta, the "face" of State of Emergency is one of the locked characters. Why do that? He's the only guy we know, and he's the only guy who could potentially have a persona.

The Revolution mode I mentioned is one of State of Emergency's three modes, and I'll describe it last. First, the most fun of the game modes is called Chaos and it's all about getting a high score, and you get points for killing enemies and causing destruction, extra points if you cause specific type of destruction when the game tells you to, and you lose points if you kill civilians while the civilian kill penalty is on. After a few tries, though, the fun goes away after you've beaten the default high scores and seen everything you can do. Using grenades and bazookas to blow up cars and buildings that serve as the edges of the map, shattering glass panes with gunfire or fists and killing Corporation guards and street gangs with punch-kick combos or rifles and flamethrowers is everything. I realize I just made it sound appealing to people with good imagination, but take my word for it, the mode gets boring. Go play GTA 2, get a bazooka and fire it repeatedly on the same bit of wall and occasionally a stationary car and you should get the jist of what Chaos mode eventually amounts to, as the levels in State of Emergency are tiny and the way you you can keep on going destroying stuff is that when you turn your back to the destroyed walls and cars and enemy spawnpoints for a long enough time they'll regenerate and respawn. So you basically go through the same bit of street about twenty times doing the same exact stuff until some random enemy kills you for good or you run out of time.

False advertising. The image almost makes it look like a fun beat 'em up.
The most boring and pointless mode of the game is Last Clone Standing. What you do in this mode is kill a hundred clones that run around the level aimlessly, although often away from you. It's boring and pointless because your only goal is to kill all hundred guys as fast as possible, so all you do is run back and forth between assault rifle spawns and spray bullets at clones as they run past you. You can't melee them as they run away so fast your attacks wont hit most of the time and they can take a few hits before going down, and it's not even fun when they don't fight back.You can't use throwables like grenades as the grenades have weak damage and small splash radius and there's a delay between throwing the grenade and it exploding. You'll also pass on the pistol, submachine gun and flame thrower because hitting with them is less likely than with the assault rifles you can find from most corners of the area, so... yeah. You shoot a hundred guys running away. It's even less fun than it sounds if you think it sounds fun at all. Try imagining a game mode in Resident Evil 5 where all you did was shoot a hundred chicken as fast as possible in the middle island of the Marshlands 3-1 chapter, and you have a good idea of a game mode much more fun that what Last Clone Standing is.

Like mentioned, the closest thing to a story mode this game has is the third one, Revolution mode, and it's terrible. If Chaos is the most fun and Last Clone Standing is the most boring mode, Revolution is the most annoying. And the longest.
In Revolution you are given different tasks by the Freedom Movement that you go do and then you come back and get another task, and this goes on until you've done about a fifty tasks in a level. There's no voice acting, you just read the mission objectives, and the missions themselves are what makes this mode so annoying. At least half of them involve either protecting someone or something or trying to kill a fleeing target, and dear Lord doing either of those is frustrating. When protecting something, the enemies beeline straight to their intended target and in order to divert their attention you have to hit them, which isn't as easy as you'd think. Hitting targets that are moving away from you is much more difficult than it should be, and there's sections where a large group of them spawn almost right behind you at the same time and only one of them has to reach their destination to make you fail. Retrying tasks is as simple as running back to the guy who gives out the missions, which thanks to the tiny size of the levels is always a 10 second jog away, but it's tiresome to run back and forth between two nearby spots just because your kick never connects with the last enemy before he enters the door you were guarding. The killing of fleeing targets is as frustrating as protecting something, because due to the small size of the levels your target only has to run for 15-20 seconds before they're safe and if you get too close too early they can literally turn on their heels at the door they used to enter and immediately make you fail before even entering the level, forcing you to once again run back and forth between two spots, and because meleeing a moving target is nigh impossible and the target always has an entourage of 20 guards and runs only slightly slower than your sprint speed you really need the guns that the Revolution mode rarely gives away. When you do get guns, however, the task is usually completed with one burst fired a second after starting the task, making the missions practically nonexistant then.

One of the whopping 15 identical bits of street the game offers you.
The Mall level is the most different of all, it has a roof and floor instead.
Tasks other than protection of locations and running after fleeing targets involve picking up objects and carrying them back to the task-man or just plain killing a couple of enemies, but nothing ever makes the gameplay feel rewarding or like you're accomplishing anything as all tasks literally only take 15-30 seconds from start to finish, are mostly just frustrating with cheap sudden one-hit failures during the escort and protection missions, have no visual payoff and you couldn't care less about the noble cause or the random Freedom people you help because there isn't any story or characters to emotionally invest in. It's all just busywork. In Revolution mode you don't even get weapons too often and destroying the windows of stores gets you nothing, there's nothing else but the windows to interact with and you can't cause brawls as big as you can in Chaos mode, so there's no fucking around for fun to do either.
The destruction in the game was made out to be a big deal, like you destroy scenery with random objects picked up from the ground and the back cover of the box states that, and I translate a quote from Finnish: "thousands of destructive weapons", but there's no destruction beyond blowing up stationary cars, badly damaging buildings and breaking windows, and there's 8 guns, 2 projectiles and from what I've seen 9 melee weapons that have largely the same animations. You don't pick up TV screens or potted plants like I thought you would even though you can see them on display in store windows and civilians actually carry them around, and you can't even smash mailboxes, only windows.
There's also only a few hand-to-hand moves if you try playing State of Emergency as a beat 'em up game during Chaos mode. Kick and punch that you can do small combos with, grapple and a power move. The controls are iffy, like some Japanese budget beat 'em up if you've ever played one, and shooting has no aiming whatsoever. You can press a button to supposedly aim, but for me it didn't do anything, and so any shooting in the game is just spraying bullets at the general direction the character is facing, which is why the pistol is so useless.
The levels are horribly tiny and get this: there's only 4 levels total, and they have really no differentiating key features, just slightly different layouts.

This image sums up the only worthwhile aspects of the game:
buildings on fire and people running
State of Emergency is just plain boring. Bad controls and no point to the gameplay. There's no reward for playing it and there's not even a cheap hook that would keep you interested and get you to come back to beat your high scores like arcade games like this need. Games like Crazy Taxi and, oh God, even Under the Skin are also largely plotless arcade games that rely on simple point collection to keep you playing, but they have payoffs to what you're doing. Crazy taxi's nutcase driving is thrilling and Under the Skin rewards you with varying visual gags for every prank, State of Emergency gives you neither the thrill nor the visual rewards.
Someone might think that judging a game so harshly might be unfair now, after all it was released ten years ago, but State of Emergency obviously had nothing to offer the gamers in 2001 and now in 2011 it has even less, and that's all I'm here to tell you.
I will never know what it is I saw or heard about State of Emergency that made me think it might be a good game, and I also honestly don't believe anymore that State of Emergency 2 is crap compared to this, because State of Emergency 2, as far as I can tell, has some gameplay and a story.

Although, I will have to give the game one praise: the amount of people running on the screen is astounding. You can have easily two dozen enemies surround you while a good several dozen civilians run around like headless chickens in the background. But that, my friends, does nothing to make the game better.

Credits for the images go to, and
Thanks for lending me them guys, I couldn't've captured any screens from the shits.


  1. I have officially started going back and watching all of your old LPs again...I miss them... ;) no plans for future stuff?


  2. I always do plan to do stuff, I just never get around to actually doing anything, that's my main problem. Can't say for sure when anything new is coming and what that new stuff would be exactly.

  3. So basically, at some point, something, may or may not happen? :)


  4. That is a very accurate way to put it.

  5. What can I say? I have a gift ;) Regardless, hope life is treating you well.


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