Here's a rule for video game villains of every stripe: No matter your level of insanity and sociopathic tendencies, your disdain for humanity, or your desire to crush underfoot all those who stand against you, you should never ever plot one of your devastating surprise attacks on a woman's wedding day. You should especially avoid this when the bride happens to be a helicopter pilot, the groom a supercop, and both are members of the elite crime-busting division of Pursuit Force. As we discovered in our recent hands-on time with a demo version of the upcoming Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice for PSP, it's precisely that kind villainous faux pas that begins the game.
The brief demo of Extreme Justice only took about 10 minutes to get through from start to finish. It also features two levels from the game and the very first mission in the game, as well as a mission that looks to be from about the midpoint of the game. As the game begins, your character is in the middle of an outdoor wedding ceremony to Sarah Hunter when, from out of nowhere, the service is broken up by a madman riding a rogue fire truck accompanied by a number of cronies. Once the decorations are ruined plus the wedding cake crushed, Sarah and your character hop into their Pursuit Force rides to give chase. These aren't just criminals, after all, these are wedding crashers, and they must be taken down with extreme prejudice.
The first mission is straightforward and very reminiscent of the original Pursuit Force. Your first job is to take down the four cronies that are accompanying the boss. To do so, you'll have several options: You can ram them with your car, shoot them with your pistol as you drive along, or, most excitingly, get close enough to your opponents to leap onto their car and take the fight directly to them. These action-movie-style leaps are easy to pull; once you're close enough, you simply press the circle button and your character will automatically make the jump. From there, it's up to you to blast the driver and any additional passengers before they can do too much damage to you.
There are two health meters to be concerned with in these pursuit missions--that of your character and the one associated with your car. As you take damage, your car's health meter will decrease, so it's in your character's best interest to leap to another car to keep the chase going. In one-on-one battles with enemies, your personal health meter will be of primary importance. Our first boss battle in the Extreme Prejudice demo was the nutjob riding the fire truck: Billy Wylde, who defends his beloved truck by blasting the Pursuit Force agents with blasts from a flame thrower. Once we boarded the fire truck, all we had to do was shoot Wylde with our pistol by pressing the right trigger and dodge his fiery blasts by pressing the square button. You build up an extreme meter that will let you heal your player as you go by pressing up on the directional pad.
Once we took Wylde down, we were taken to a cutscene that showed the Pursuit Force officers taking the bad guy into custody, only to be interrupted by a group of rogue police known as Viper Squad, who took Wylde as their own collar. The identity and motives of the Viper Squad will have to wait for explanation in the full game. From there, we moved onto the other mission in the demo, which, in some respects, played quite a bit differently from the opening mission.
In this mission, a rogue group known as the Warlords has attacked a strategic defense facility that serves as a major defense against nuclear weapons. In the first part of the mission, it was up to us to take out these invading Russians by circling around their forces in the Pursuit Force chopper and blasting them to bits using a heavy machine gun. During this part of the mission, it was also hinted at by the Pursuit Force commander that something happened to your fiancée Sarah earlier in the game and that this would be an ideal time to get revenge. We started off by blasting the enemy jeeps and tanks damaging the communication arrays in the facility because if you lose all the arrays, it's game over. It's not very difficult to take out the enemies here--you simply keep your targeting reticle centered on the vehicle and keep the right trigger pulled down. You need to watch out for incoming missiles, but they're easy to take down as well.
Once we blew away all of the bad guys in the base, it was back to pursuing the damaged tank carrying our nemesis Yuri "The Fury" Andreov (who also seems to be responsible for whatever it was that happened to Sarah). Chasing the tank was the same as any other pursuit, except that we weren't able to damage it by shooting it or bashing into it. Instead, we had to rely on our non-player character/partner who jumps up on the tank (when you're in close proximity) to lay down explosive charges to take care of some of the tank's armored plating. Then, we were able to get us close enough to climb onboard and take the fight to Andreov.
Once on the tank, we had to take care of Andreov's cronies that popped up from various corners of the tank. After filling them full of lead, we leapt toward them and tossed a grenade into the hatch to seal the deal. Periodically, Andreov would peek out from the main hatch and let loose with his AK-47 (and a few villainous bons mots). In between blasting back, we dodged his fire by pressing the square button. Occasionally, the main tank turret would swing our way. When this happened, we had two options: Either duck under the cannon by pressing square or go the more heroic route and pop a grenade in through the cannon by rapidly pressing the circle button. After repeating these a few times, Yuri "The Fury" didn't stand much of a chance.
Short and sweet--that's how we would describe this brief demo of Extreme Justice. However, the two levels showed off some nice variety to the missions in the game. Of course, there are questions left unanswered: Who, first of all, is the Viper Squad and what will it from Pursuit Force? More worrisome, however, is the question, what happened to Sarah? And will our hero be reunited with her at the end of the game? We'll have to wait until next year to find these answers out because the game is currently due to ship to stores in January.