187 Ride or Die Review
I’m not really all that sure what the “187” in 187 Ride or Die’s title signifies, but my confusion over the title is minor compared to the confusion experienced by the game’s designers when developing the game. Is the game a street racer? A car combat shooter? A hip-hop gansta’ action game? It looks like they couldn’t really decide and probably changed their minds more than once during the process, and the result is a mediocre, confused, and repetitive game that hardly warrants a rental.
|Don't worry, they'll be fine.|
In 187 you play as Buck, a guy with a name that makes me think more of the back-up catcher on my high school baseball team than a deadly hip-hop gangster. I guess it’s better than “Binky” though. Anyway you work for a guy named Dupree who’s feeling the pressure from a rival gang lord muscling in on his territory. Your job is to go out and defend your turf while taking out the enemy gang in the process. So just how do you go about doing this? Drive-by shootings? Back-alley brawls? Assault on the rival gang’s safehouse, er, I mean crib? Massive aerial bombardment? No, no, no, and certainly not. Instead you must race cars through small closed-circuit loops and win each race! Seriously, the other gang will pack their arsenal of weapons into crates and leave town if you show them that you can drive faster than they can.
OK, to be fair to the gansta’s here they do bring weapons to their races and this is where the game tries to be a combat racer. Each car has two people in it – one to drive and the other to stand up and shoot at the other cars through the sun roof (the shooters always manage to stay in the car even when taking turns at 60 mph, so I can only assume that the cars have shag carpeting and that the shooters are holding on to the fibers with their incredibly strong toes). One button fires forward and the other backwards, so effectively it’s as if you have a gun mounted on the hood and one on the trunk. There is an option to control the direction of fire with the stick, but the tracks are littered with ammo and weapon pick-ups and there is a de facto target lock system at work so there’s no real need to aim at anything in particular or to conserve ammo. You’ll do quite well in the game keeping the forward fire button continually pressed and ignoring the rear fire button.
If you do enough damage to a car it will explode in a fireball and you’ll be treated to a slow motion close-up of the carnage. Parts will scatter everywhere and the driver and gunner will be flung from the vehicle. It would seem that this is a pretty brutal takedown, but in this game being blown to smithereens amounts to a few second penalty in the race. Your opponents will always reappear good as new and will soon be right up on your tail. Makes all the shooting kind of pointless, don’t you think? I suppose that if you were destroyed yourself you’d get to experience the same miraculous reincarnation, but I don’t know for sure. There are so many health bonuses on the tracks and the enemy shooting is so poor that I never experienced losing my car. As I write this it occurs to me that perhaps I should go back to the game and try to get myself blown up on purpose to see what happens, but to tell the truth I can’t really find the motivation to go back and play the game again.
The driving controls consist of accelerator and brake buttons, with the addition of a turbo button for boosts of speed. The control is strictly arcade style so you can basically keep the accelerator down almost the whole time with occasional brake taps that lead to dead-on powerslides around tight corners. There are a number of cars in the game, all of which must be unlocked by plugging your way through the campaign. However, all of the cars pretty much have the same feel so it doesn’t really matter how many are in the game or which one you choose to drive. SUVs do drive considerably slower than the other cars, though, so you won’t even bother with them unless you have to.