NARC is Midway's upcoming update of the arcade classic for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The original NARC was a 2D side-scrolling beat-'em-up that sent you into the urban jungle to clean up the city streets. The update, which is being developed by VIS Entertainment (of State of Emergency fame), will cast you as either Marcus Hill or Jack Forzenski as they set out to take down Mr. Big and his cartel, KRAK. Like all good villains, Mr. Big has a dastardly plan designed to get him cash and wreck everyone else in the process. His plans in NARC find the kingpin pushing a new deadly drug called "liquid soul."
Unfortunately, as is often the case in these situations, our heroes are facing overwhelming odds. As a result, NARC will allow you to make certain "choices" if you're looking to have an easier time in doing your job--basically, whether you want to play as a good cop or a bad cop. Good cops will return the confiscated money and drugs they acquire on the streets. Bad cops, on the other hand, will sell the drugs themselves and even partake of them for some "performance enhancement."
For example, ecstasy will stop all AI characters from attacking you until the drug wears off or you start to attack them. While this may sound cool, there are definitely consequences to your actions. The drug becomes addictive after 12 uses--your addiction is helpfully tracked by the onscreen addiction meter--and it will raise your addiction level by one point every 45 seconds. Quaaludes will pause the world and shift your view to a first-person view that will work like a sniper scope. While in the quaalude view, you'll be able to stop the action, look around, and zoom in or out on any place you see. Like ecstasy, quaaludes will become addictive after repeated use--you're hooked after 10 uses--and will raise your addiction meter one point every 30 seconds or so.
As previously mentioned, NARC also takes some creative license in its depiction of illegal narcotics, introducing its very own original drug, liquid soul. Liquid soul will have the strongest effect of all the drugs in the game by giving you super strength, albeit with some side effects. Your punches will do more damage and your kicks will decapitate your foes, but liquid soul is the most addictive drug in the game, meaning you're hooked after you take it once, and your addiction meter will rise one point every five seconds. To make matters worse, all AI characters will look like enemies--even the friendly ones--which can be a big problem.
Given the problems involved with juggling so many drugs, VIS has built in some limitations to ease you into things. Ecstasy will be one of the drugs available at the start of the game, while quaaludes will be available only after you've collected 30 packets of any combination of drugs. Finally, liquid soul will be available only after you've arrived in Kowloon for your showdown with Mr. Big. The other big limitation is the aforementioned addiction meter, which will impact your character's performance in the game if he's hooked on anything. Your character will be tempted to take specific drugs when you're around them in the game, triggering a minigame-style button-mashing contest you can try to win to get your character to not do the drugs. If you fail, your virtual alter ego will use them after all. Not only does this have a negative impact on Hitman's and Max Force's abilities, but it will also affect their standing as a good or a bad cop, represented by another handy meter on the screen. If the meter drops too low, you'll be suspended or busted down to beat cop, and you'll be unable to take missions that progress the main story until you've again proved yourself to be an asset to the force.
All told, NARC is a twisted game that appears to be living up to its predecessor's eccentric and sordid leanings. We'll bring you more information on NARC as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, check out a news Q&A with Midway chief marketing officer Steve Allison.