Starsky & Hutch Hands-On

We go undercover to chase down 1970s bad guys at Empire Interactive's E3 booth.

On a visit to Empire Interactive's E3 booth this afternoon, we had the opportunity to partake in a little two-player Starsky & Hutch action with David Pringle, the game's producer. Although Starsky & Hutch can be played solo, the game has clearly been designed to be played cooperatively first and foremost. It's also possible, of course, to play the game using standard controllers, but we were lucky enough to play the PS2 version as the designers intended--with a steering wheel and a light gun.

The first mission we played saw GameSpot riding shotgun as Pringle capably pursued a bad guy on a trike through the occasionally busy streets of Bay City. As our driver did his best to weave in and out of the traffic, score points for hitting ramps, and collect power-ups for the car by driving into flashing icons, we did our best to collect additional power-ups by shooting them and, whenever possible, slow the bad guy down with as much of the unlimited ammo as our trigger finger could manage. Interestingly, most of the power-ups we collected were to add valuable seconds to our time limit or to improve the performance of the car, while many of those that were successfully collected by the driver were of direct benefit to us as the shooter--replacing our pistol with a machine gun, for example. From behind the light gun, Starsky & Hutch played more or less like you'd expect a decent shooter to. In fact, it's a shame that when playing solo there'll be no option to have the AI drive for you so you can do just that.

For the next level, we switched seats, and we're pleased to report that the game was just as much fun from behind the steering wheel as it was with a gun in our hand. The mission started out with us having to escort a family in the witness protection plan to the airport by taking out any bad guys who tried to prevent them from getting there safely. As we neared our goal, a second objective came up and we had to pursue and stop a stolen security truck. The handling of Starsky & Hutch's 1978 Ford Torino had a good arcade feel, and while sliding around corners wasn't quite as satisfying to pull off as in the Grand Theft Auto games, it was a fun and action-packed drive nevertheless.

We didn't actually get to play Starsky & Hutch single-player, but the solo game will focus primarily on driving and hitting a fire button while the targeting of enemies and such is handled automatically. For more information on Starsky & Hutch, check out our previous coverage of the game.

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