E3 2001 Hands-onState of Emergency

Rockstar's "Final Fight meets a soccer riot" game is simply incredible.

Between GTA3 and State of Emergency, Rockstar has the "nonstop jack move" genre locked down. State of Emergency puts you in a quarantined city. Since people are trapped in the city, they're taking to the streets in droves. You are one of these people, and it's up to you how you progress from there.

Much of State of Emergency is mission-based. Some people on the street will dole out missions to you, such as looting five VCRs and bringing them to a truck or drawing two rival gangs together so they eliminate each other. Throughout the entire game, the streets are absolutely packed. Currently, the game can handle around 100 people onscreen at once, and the goal is to get that number up to and over 200 by the time the game ships later this year.

The crowds act fairly realistically. If you pick up a pistol and fire a shot into the crowd, all hell breaks loose. You'll hear tons of screams, and some people will duck and cover, while others run for their lives. While the game sports a cartoonish look, there's no overlooking the game's hard-core, violent edge. As you can simply run anywhere in the world without bothering to take on any missions, you can run around with a shotgun, bazooka, pistol, or machine gun, simply mowing down citizens. The game is also packed with riot cops, who will attempt to beat you with their billy clubs if you start acting up. Aside from using weapons, you can also punch and kick. The game has a limited combo system for your attacks, allowing you to unleash four-hit combos on people. You can also attack people when they're on the ground. Pumping round after round of shotgun ammo into a dead body is way too fun. Occasionally limbs will pop off, and you can pick them up and use them as weapons. Storefronts can also be smashed up. You can shoot up buildings or pick up things like benches or newspaper stands and toss them through the front window. Though it wasn't in this build, buildings will eventually catch on fire if you wreck them enough.

State of Emergency is easily one of our favorite games on the show floor. Be sure to check out our video of the game in action.

Written By

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

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