Escape from Paradise City Review
Escape from Paradise City is neither a new song from Guns ‘n Roses nor a new John Carpenter action movie. Instead it is one of those games that try to merge multiple genres in an attempt to come up with something original. Unfortunately as is often the case with games like this, blending mediocre gameplay elements results in a game that is pretty much a sum of its parts.
The "parts" in the case of Paradise City are action-RPG and RTS elements, although the game fits more into the prior genre than the latter. During the game's campaign you take control of one of three former criminal strong-armed by the NSA into cleaning up the gang-infested streets of Paradise City. Nick Porter is proficient with guns, Angel Vargas is a knife-wielding street fighter, and Boris Chekov orders others to do his fighting for him. Take your basic archer, fighter, and pet-handler classes from a fantasy-based action-RPG, dress them in new duds, and plunk them down in a gritty urban environment and you get these three characters.
The RTS side of the game comes into play in the game's missions which take place on a map divided into a collection of neighborhoods. Once you take over a neighborhood from a gang, the businesses in that neighborhood will begin to generate cash for you (I'm not sure why they begin paying protection money to someone working for the NSA, but that's what they do). The strategy element comes into play in deciding which neighborhood to take on next and in your ability to send in gang members from your controlled neighborhoods to clear out some of the opposition for you before you head in. That's about it as far as the strategy elements go, though. Actually taking over a neighborhood is done through classic “click on the bad guy until he's dead” gameplay.
When you go into a new neighborhood your first order of business is to clean some of the thugs off of the street. To do so you run up to them and begin clicking until they're dead. Enemies that are heavily injured will sometimes run off to get help, but pretty much every fight plays out in the same manner with your enemies running right up to you and trying to kill you before you can click them to death. One of the enemies will be the neighborhood boss and once you click him to within an inch of his life he'll go running off and convert the neighborhood's businesses to your side one by one. You don't need to kill of all of the gang members in a neighborhood to take it; you simply need to make sure that you can make your way to the boss. And since the game always displays the location of his office on the mini map, it's not that difficult find him.