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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 5, 2006

My view: '24: The Game'

By Jeremy Castillo
Special to The Advertiser

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5 Outstanding: Add it to your collection now. A must-have.

4 Great: Buy it or rent it definitely play it.

3 Good: Worth playing despite some flaws.

2 Fair: Unless you're a fan of the license or series, don't bother.

1 Poor: You'd have more fun playing Pong.

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Game: "24: The Game"

Console: PlayStation 2

Developer/publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Inc./2K Games

Genre: Suspense

Number of players: 1

Rated: Mature, for blood and violence

Premise: Counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer and crew try to capture a boat that reportedly is armed with a huge weapons cache and lots of the chemical weapon ricin. The vessel is moored in a Los Angeles harbor. During your mission, kidnappings, terrorist attacks and assassination attempts pop up. And in the world of "24," these all happen in a single day.

Game play: Unlike many other platform shooters, "24" dives right into the action and never slows down. While it starts off as a typical third-person action game, there are many other genres thrown into the mix. One moment, you must decrypt security codes and dismantle a bomb, the next you're picking off snipers from a rooftop a la "Silent Scope" or you're in a high-speed chase through Los Angeles. However, some of the missions feel as though they are thrown in at random.

Because this game is so engaging and addictive, when something happens to knock you for a loop, your rhythm is thrown off. Something like a bad camera angle, which is common here, or shaky A.I. will do that to you.

If you manage to stay at a safe meaning relatively far distance from your adversaries, this game will be easy enough. But start firing at close range and your character will become target practice.

At the end of every level, your performance is graded with a letter and percentage rating. You can replay stages for better scores.

Good/bad: Fans of the series will love seeing their favorite stars make appearances here. Not only are the character models well done and accurate, but the show's cast members not some unknown voice actor doing impressions provide the voice work. Jack Bauer sounds like Keifer Sutherland, Kim Bauer sounds like Elisha Cuthbert, and the list goes on.

But strong ties to the show cut both ways. If you're not a fan of the series, some story arcs and characters seem to have no purpose other than to give the player something to do, or to pad out the game. While it's certainly forgivable, and nothing a few minutes of research on the Internet wouldn't fix, not knowing the reason for a task makes completing it that much harder.

My take: "24: The Game" is a pleasant surprise. I admit I've never watched an episode, so I played this game to see what the hype's all about. But if its writing is as strong, taut and intense as its game counterpart, then the praise surrounding the show is certainly warranted.

Jeremy Castillo is a student at Windward Community College and editor of the college's newspaper, Ka 'Ohana.