Run like hell, or that psycho cop will destroy your buggy.
Produced by Rockstar Games and developed by the Angel Studios, Smugglers' Run is one of the Ps2 launch titles. In this racing game you'll have to identify yourself with a smuggler who has to deliver illegal goods driving prodigious off-road vehicles. You'll have to act in impervious frontier places, fighting against policemen, Cia agents and other criminals just like you. In other words, only the most tenacious bastard will succeed in sprouting himself in this game.
Three are the vast territories in which your gang, the Forgotten (hmmm..we have an original name here), will have to complete various missions. Snow, Desert and Forest are the names of these levels, that constitute the great novelty introduced by the Angel Studios. Thanks to a well developed graphic engine, driving your car you can see up to the horizon all the objects that surround you, are them trees, cactus, rivers, or other vehicles. Smugglers' Run is the first title on a gaming console able to show a view of this genre without any slowdown or pop-up defect. This type of views deeply influence the way you actually play the game; you'll always need to look at far away objects in order to avoid the risk of being encircled by 5 or 6 border patrols. Each of the three levels has its own particular dangers. Remember that you'll have not only CIA agents, policemen and army men at your heels, but also smugglers from four different gangs, eager for your precious load.
In the game there are six different cars and you will have to choose the correct one to complete your missions with success. Every time you collide with another vehicle or you land after a too high jump, your car is damaged. This will not only affect the external body, that towards the end of a race is often completely destroyed, but also and above all it will influence the performances of your car.
The Dune Buggy is the smallest vehicle of the game, extremely agile and fast, even if its lightness doesn't make it the ideal vehicle to transport precious loads through impervious places. This car simply jumps like Bugs Bunny does. The SUV, the Trophy Truck and the Military Vehicle are perhaps the best-balanced vehicles of the game, relatively resistant and fast. The Rally Car is extremely fast while the heavy Monster Truck is in absolute the slowest vehicle featured in the game but it is capable to stood up very dangerous collisions. With a small effort, however, the developer could have added many other cars in this game, also because the vehicles in Smugglers’ Run are not defined as those of Ridge Racer V. Anyhow, if you own a copy of Midnight Club, there is a little trick: save your Midnight Club’s game using your memory card and then load it while you're playing with Smugglers Run: you'll be able to drive a car from Midnight Club: Street Racer.
Each of these cars involves obviously different problems in the maneuverability, according to its weight and dimensions; for instance you'll hardly lost the control of the heaviest vehicles, but it's true to that they are not agile like a Dune Buggy. The controls are very simple and you'll soon get used to them. Anyhow, they leave the possibility to the most skilled pilots to distinguish themselves from the beginners.
The territories that you have to cross are full of obstacles and dangers of every sort, and your car will continually risk capsizing. But don't be afraid. The developers have not been too much cruel with the player. In fact every time your vehicles overturn it will be enough to steer toward right or left to immediately return to the game. That's a nice feature, which allows the player to never lose the rhythm of the reckless runs through mountains and hills.
There are many gameplay modes in Smugglers' Run, and you can decide to play alone or together with a friend. Smugglers' Mission is the name of the most important mode, in which you will have to face 30 missions through the three gigantic levels featured in the game, choosing for each of them the most proper vehicle. In the easiest missions you will have to take a load and deliver it, while in more advanced missions you will have to deal with roadblocks, psychopathic police officers, and hostile smugglers, all with a time limit.
In the most advanced missions, where the time limit is rather narrow, you cannot have more than a pair of accidents, otherwise you won't absolutely succeed in completing the mission. Despite this apparent variety, the substance of the game is always the same, and you will find yourself facing the various missions without giving a damn to the slender plot that should serve as background to your adventures. On the long road, the border patrols become very boring, and in many missions you simply can't get rid of them. With Smugglers' Run you will end up hating policemen, CIA and army.