PS2 Reviews

Smuggler’s Run Review

Do you need a bit of retro gaming in your life?  If so, check out this review of the classic driving game “Smuggler’s Run” for the PlayStation 2…

Before consoles had access to extremely large maps allowing you to roam around at your leisure, there was “Smuggler’s Run”.  On the PS2, this game placed you in the shoes of a smuggler armed with an array of vehicles which are to be used in various smuggling activities while simultaneously avoiding police, military, intelligence (CIA) and competing factions who are all trying to take you down and/or steal your cargo.

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Perhaps the most notable facet of Smuggler’s Run is its publisher, which is none other than Rockstar games (the infamous clan behind the GTA series).  In this title they (along with developer Angel Studios) really sought to break out of the limited graphical restrictions of the PS2, introducing players to a whole new level of graphical accomplishment.  Of course looking back upon it now it looks rather primitive, but at the time, most everyone was floored by its inventiveness and impressively scaled off-road maps.  Speaking of levels, the game featured 3 distinct territories (a desert area, snow-clad regions and a forested locale) each containing around 10 levels.

Aside from the main Smuggler’s missions, there were also the additional Turf War and Joyriding modes which add their own activities to the mix.  For anyone that’s less interesting in perpetually running away from border guards and other nasty characters, the Joyriding mode is great as it allows you to free roam without fear.  Assuming that you want to learn the layout of each territory before committing yourself to anything, this is the mode for you.  Conversely, the Turf War mode constitutes a series of 3 mini games and involves direct confrontation as well as smuggling.

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While a lot of players and/or critics might say the game is too repetitive, they’re sort of missing the point.  What makes Smuggler’s Run such a blast is the overzealous way the various enemies pursue you across the terrain, oftentimes resorting to what amounts to suicide levels of self-abandonment.  Having a group of squad cars descending upon you, each one with a super-powered engine and rearing to slam into your vehicle, the goal becomes survival and the fun factor is in finding inventive ways to thwart them.  At the same time, you’re usually navigating treacherous terrain that’s filled with obstacles and even chasms.

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