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Undercover A.D. 2025 Kei
Platform:  Dreamcast
# of Players:  1
Developer:  Pulse Interactive
Publisher:  Sega
Features:  VMU, Jump Pack
Ratings:  Rating Pending
Memory Req.:  
Info:  http://
One of the things that I seem to always hear from folks when the discussion turns toward import games, particularly Japanese ones, is how much better they are than the ones made here. I 'll be the first to admit to actually believing this for a good number of years. Fact is, there are a lot MORE games being made in Japan, so there is some truth to this- if you look at the sheer volume of software produced there. Well, let me be the first to inform those of you out there who still live by this outdated credo, that bad games live on everywhere, and the most powerful hardware on the planet can't cover that up. Case in point: Pulse Interactive's sad Undercover A.D. 2025: Kei, a game that definitely WON'T make you run out to get a Dreamcast, if you don't already own one. In fact, I can see a store somewhere that will have nothing but returned copies of this junker, and nothing else: Kei's Undercoverworld Closeout Center, or something like th

Enough rambling, on to the execution, or lack of it, in the case of this title. There are so many things wrong with this game, that I found myself playing longer and longer each time just to see how bad it would end up. I'm sure that's not the reason the developers made this game, but other than needing to laugh hysterically for theraputic purposes, I see no reason to waste your time actually buying this. First of all, the control is without a doubt, the worst I've ever seen for a third-person game. You CANNOT turn while moving Kei forward. At all. Think about that one as you walk into a room with two enemies on either side of you. You have to stop, turn in one direction, kill one guy, then stop, turn, and kill the other- all the while you're being shot at or beat on repeatedly. As much as I gripe about the dumb controls in the Resident Evil games, the control here makes RE look like Super Mario 64! You can switch to a first-person mode at just about any time, but all that does is give you the feeling that you're moving around rooms and streets like you're trapped in a shopping cart without wheels, going uphill.

Graphically, it looks like they started this game on the Saturn, then ported the code whole to the DC, only adding smoother textures and some Dreamcast-style effects. The end result is backgrounds that look unfinished and empty, and characters that all have smooth faces, yet jagged edges all around their collars. The animation is simply awful, and it's hard to watch the in-game engine at work in the cutscenes- you'll see a group of stiff characters speak for long periods while only one is blinking, or characters walk through each other from time to time. This is bad enough, but the "action" sequences take the cake! Combine the aforementioned bad control with enemies that shoot you offscreen (when they're not accidentely blasting each other), or swing aimlessly while standing in one spot (they're pretty easy to deal with), and you end up spending more time holding your sides from laughter, rather than holding the controller!

The game has some interesting ideas and missions here and there, but the overall presentation ends up negating the positives entirely. The storyline has Kei sharing some sort of psychic bond with her cat, but it comes off as just plain dumb (who brings their cat with them to a hotel tryst or a hostage situation?!!), the opening cinema looks really impressive, but as we all know these days, anyone can create great graphics. Kei is really nice to look at- (when you're not trying to make her turn left or right), but most of the other characters in the game look like they borrowed them from Generic Character Casting, or some other really bad games out there. The music becomes unbearable after about five minutes, but the main theme made me laugh like a madman- it steals from the opening seconds from the old TV series Ironsides, which featured Raymond Burr as a crippled detective who solved crimes. How fitting. Kinda makes you go,"Hmmm", doesn't it? I think I read that this one was being looked at for possible localization, and all I have to say about that is they must have hired Ray Charles and George Shearing as game testers. This game needs a LOT of work if it's to be taken at all seriously.

My final analysis, and yours, should be this: Undercover A.D. 2025: Kei is just the sort of game that people will look at if the DC goes under, point their fingers at and say, "See, Sega DOES suck!!" That's the point where I get up, shrug my shoulders, and leave the room. Then go home and play Soul Calibur for a few hours, thinking of what could have been...

Greg Wilcox

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