Review: Chicago Enforcer (XB)

Chicago Enforcer
Publisher: Kemco
Developer: Touchdown
Genre: FPS
Release Date: 02/22/05

Ah budget titles. The price is right, but often times the game is lousy. Sure there are exceptions. Oh GOTY, Katamari Damacy is one such game that proves you can be cheap and yet an amazing wonderful game. Arx fatalis is another, but on a lesser scale of enjoyable gaming. But these games are the very very VERY rare exception to the rule. Chicago Enforcer is one of those games that makes you go “Brand new and only twenty bucks. Man, am I in for a less than stellar experience.” And yes, my friends, you are.

It’s games like this which exemplify all to well why I loathe the First Person Shooter genre and can’t fathom how anyone can enjoy it. It’s mindless, repetitive, takes little to no skill whatsoever and every game in the genre feels more or less the same. I will say I haven’t ever played a FPS with a theme of “Al Capone has a heart of gold” going on, but hey, there’s a first time for anything, right?

Let’s Review

1. Story

Your character is a down and out ex prize fighter, Jimmy DeMora, who decides to take a job as a hitman/hired goon for Al Capone. Your mentor, who you only talk to over the phone. Not bad for a beginning. But that’s as deep as it gets. You go through ten chapters, each with multiple levels of blowing the same three goons away. Either Touchdown was lazy, or the mob has one hell of a dress code back in the 1930’s. Either way the game has you run back and forth through a Chicago that appears to be completely deserted from some mass plague save for members of rival gangs and the occasional civilian just walking along. Like most FPS games, there is no attempt at character development or creating anything of substance at all plotwise. It’s “Hey, here’s who youse gotta kill. Now getouttaheres.” It’s mind boggingly bad, which is sad, because there was a lot they could have done with the characters. But nope, no substance, and even less style.

Each chapter begins with DeMora on the phone to Capone’s sidekick who gives him order and tells him exactly why someone has to die. In Chapter 1, you have to kill a squealer who is going to rat on the Family. Okay, good start. But that’s it. Nothing else happens. In chapter 2, you have to take out five different gang locations. Okay, why? WHY?

If Touchdown had bothered to put even the slightest bit of polish on the game, then yeah, there could have been a halfway decent story here. But as it sits, this game doesn’t make you care about the characters at all.

Story Rating: 3/10

2. Graphics

This game looks like it was meant for the N64. And could probably run on it. Hell, maybe even the PSX. But this game certainly doesn’t push the Xbox at all. The backgrounds are awful and when you encounter something close-up, it is often times blurry and/or jaggy. The characters are pretty poorly done, with every character (including the women) looking exactly the same except for 1-2 minor differences. Some have a hat, some don’t. Some have glasses, some don’t. There are only three Mob goons and you will see them ad nauseam. I even ended up giving them names. There was Suity, Scruffy McBruceWillis, and Polecat. The most annoying thing about the character design is that the Policemen and the Civilians looks almost exactly the same! Same blue outfits, same walking stance, same everything until you get right up close. And all the cops in the game are evil and want to kill you, so maybe you shoot one from far away to save yourself trouble, especially as in later games they take for f*cking ever to kill, even with a ton of bullets from a machine gun, and OOPS! You went and shot a civilian! And because killing an innocent bystander is against the mob code of ethics in this game, it means the game resets from your last save point.

Oh don’t worry, we’ll get into that little annoyance later on in the review, but trust me, I’ve got a whole stack of adjectives for that little bit of stupidity someone thought up.

Overall the game is ugly to look at, although the facial expressions of civilians when you come up to them brandishing a lead pipe is priceless, and the fact your character gets very bloody when you beat someone with that is a nice touch. There’s also the enjoyment of watching a person fly up into the air and thud when they try to roll and you shoot them with the shotgun, or where you can shoot someone and they way down some stairs or off a high ledge. But aside from those few shining examples, the game is pretty low key graphic wise and not something up to this generation of gaming’s standard of quality.

If you’re looking for a game with textured backgrounds, well defined character models, and ever changing levels that don’t look exactly the same throughout the entire game, get something else. Chicago Enforcer lacks anything but a few cute things hidden amongst an ocean of crapulence.

Graphics Rating: 3/10

3. Sound

Well the voice acting isn’t horrible. It’s amazingly over the top with cliche’ and ethnic stereotyping, but it still isn’t bad. There isn’t any music that I noticed. That’s right: none. It’s just the sound of your guy running and walking and lots of gunfire.

It’s amazing to see such a minimalist approach taken towards any sort of sound in the game. The voice acting remains one of the best parts of the game, and yet there is so little of it. And a little music would have helped the monotony of the game, as everything else is so repetitive thank to repeating enemies and backgrounds.

Sound Rating: 4/10

4. Control and Gameplay

The Controls aren’t bad. It’s probably the best thing about the game. They’re very easy to learn, it’s even easier to aim, and Touchdown even lets you pick your own crosshairs design for what works best for you. It’s a very nice touch. The left trigger grabs items, the right shoots, and various buttons let you switch guns. You can crouch and do a leaning sidestep, but neither really comes in handy.

The problem simply is that the game is very glitchy. You can open a toilet, but it will freeze in mid opening. You turn around, and the lid is now fully up. In an episode in Chapter 1, you will encounter a Hotel Manager rummaging through files. You can shut the file on him, and he will continue rummaging. Little things like that make a bad game even worse.

And then there are the loading times. Even though this game looks like an N64 one, there’s 45-90 seconds of loading times in this game. And oh my god does it get annoying fast, especially when coupled with the “Oops. I shot a pedestrian because I thought he was a cop” thing that happens quite a bit in the game. When you first start out, you have to watch that trigger finger of your, or you will be dealing with a lot of loading.

But aside from those negatives, the actual gameplay is decent. You’ll find the game fun for the first few episodes, maybe even for the first chapter. But then when everything looks and feels the same constantly, and the game starts giving you “Run to Point A, not to Point B, and now back to Point A again” quests, you will get annoyed fast.

Chicago Enforcer plays well, and shows that had Touchdown actually put a little more into the game, it wouldn’t actually be half bad to sit through. As it stands you have a game with a lot of promise, but barely begins to scratch the surface of its potential.

Control and Gameplay Rating: 7/10

5. Replayability

Well, at least Chicago Enforcer has some Xbox Live bits to it. You can play Deathmatch and Multiplayer deathmatch games on Live. What I notice though, is that on Live, the load times are even longer. Oh man, does that suck the fun potential out of it right there.

What’s more, the multiplayer levels are plucked straight out of the game, meaning it’s nothing but long wide open spaces to have to deal with. No strategy or cunning needed. Just shoot, shoot, shoot! Your other options are tightly confined places with no room to run or even move. It’s one extreme or the other. I can see some people having fun with this, but not many. If you want a more original themed multiplayer FPS to play on Live, try Dead Man’s Hand.

Actually, some of the most fun with I had with Chicago Enforcer was trying to get people to play this on LIVE with me.

Replayability Rating : 4/10

6. Balance

Ha. Heh. Guffaw. Chuckle Chortle Snicker. Bwahahahaha! Balance? In this game? I think not my friends! There is no AI. I the computer is amazingly dumb, even on the highest difficulty, and even if it hits you, it’s only because there are a ton of mob members at once and you stand there just shooting. If you take the shotgun or the tommy gun and just move while firing, you will never get hit. It’s so amazingly dim, you’d think you were playing on practice mode and they were using paintballs against you. It’s just sad. And the ‘bosses’ or main targets? You can just walk right up to them and club or shoot them. It’s pathetic.

Then there’s the problem of the cops. At times it will take one hit to take one down. And in later stages, without any rhyme or reason, there will be a cop that can take 4-5 point blank shotgun blasts.

What’s more hilarious is the shotgun also works at a distance weapon. Really, there is no reason to use any other gun, because this thing just mows down anything in its path. It’s hilarious watching a shotgun pick someone off of the top of a 10 story building, while your sniper rifle is completely useless.

And then there is the Civilian thing. Why in god’s name does the game automatically end and start you back over from the beginning of your last save if you kill a civilian? You’re a member of the MOB in this game. You work for Al Capone. Last I checked, the Maffia was not, “Yeah, rub Lenny out, but make sure no innocent bystanders get hurt in the process. We couldn’t live with ourselves and return to our drug making and bootlegging if a random person got shot and killed in the crossfire. Totally and utterly insane and it has no place in this game. Truly would I love to sit down with whoever stupidly put this into the game.

Completely and totally unbalanced and sure to irritate you easily.

Balance rating: 1/10

7. Originality

I can think of other Maffia based video games, but none where you are in a first person setting as a member of a mob. I can think of Lethal Enforcers and some other light game guns where you kill mob members, so this is a nice twist on everything, although it’s clearly inspired by the success of other “play as a bad guy” games like GTA. Chicago Enforcer has a great premise and hopefully someday some will take this idea and make an actually fun and rewarding game out of it.

Originality Rating: 5/10

8. Addictiveness

Good for the first 1-2 episodes, and then you will never want to touch the game again. The loading times, the hideous AI, the fact everything and everyone looks the same and leaves you trapped in a world of monotony will make you never want to touch another game published by Kemco again. I mean it. I will never again look at the publisher the same, fearing the next game I pick up by them will have gone through the same “rigorous” quality control that allowed this piece of crap to get onto store shelves.

Addictiveness Rating: 2/10

9. Appeal Factor

You know who will play this game? Besides mentally retarded people that is? FPS addicts and people who really want to experience a Maffia based FPS. That’s it. And hopefully even those people will be turned away from this game by reviews like this one. If you’re fresh from that lobotomy you needed, or completely and totally mad, then go and pick up this game! You’ll love it. Everyone else, buy a copy of it only if you intend to bury to save your friends and loved ones from ever being exposed to this.

Appeal Factor: 2/10

10. Miscellaneous

There’s very little redeeming about this game. It’s quick to beat, although I wager 25% of the time you play this game will be the horrid loading times. Even on the highest difficulty, the game has no AI, and only ever hurts you with sheer numbers. It’s hideous to look at, lack any real noise whatsoever and has only a few positives that are easily dwarfed by the overwhelming amount of things utterly wrong with this game.

Yes, you can play it on live. But there will probably only ever be half a dozen people to own this game, so good luck trying to find someone on Live who will admit to owning this, and even more luck getting someone to agree to play this once you do. This is a sloppy poorly made game and all involved with it (save the voice actors) should be ashamed of themselves because this had a lot of promise. Shame on you Touchdown. Shame on you.

Miscellaneous Rating: 2/10


Story Rating: 3/10
Graphics Rating: 3/10
Sound Rating: 4/10
Control and Gameplay Rating: 7/10
Replayability Rating : 4/10
Balance rating: 1/10
Originality Rating: 5/10
Addictiveness Rating: 2/10
Appeal Factor: 2/10
Miscellaneous Rating: 2/10

Overall Score: 33/100

Short Attention Span Summary
Chicago Enforcer is one of those games in the “Stay the hell away from” range. It’s easily one of the worst FPS games out for this generation of consoles. Maybe if it had been released 10 years ago, it would’ve received a strong rating, but it seems more like a high school or college class project than anything that should actually be for retail today. There is no reason to play this, not even as a rental. Send a clear warning to Kemco and do not give them a cent of your money for this festering piece of fecal matter.



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