Midway deals NARC to retailers

Mature-themed shooter lets gamers play both sides of the law as corrupt cops looking to oust a drug cartel; tagged at $19.99.

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Midway today announced that it has shipped NARC, its controversial third-person action title, to retailers. The game will be available to the public tomorrow for the Xbox and PlayStation 2. NARC was developed by Irvine, California-based Point of View, whose previous work includes MLB SlugFest: Loaded and Spawn: Armageddon.

NARC is a remake of the 1988 arcade classic of the same name, which received the attention of moral watchdogs because of its drug themes and excessive violence.

In the remake, gamers will play as two narcotics officers, the polished and respected Marcus Hill and his antithesis, Jack Forzenski, who was just released from drug rehabilitation and is out on probation. It'll be up to the two officers to take on the KRAK drug cartel, led by Mr. Big and his new concoction, liquid soul.

"Our goal with NARC is to give players the chance to play through an interactive crime saga where the player will face the temptations and choices of an undercover police officer without holding anything back," said Steve Allison, Midway's chief marketing officer.

As a cop working within the law, gamers may return confiscated money and contraband they acquire in busts. Conversely, shady officers with sticky fingers will slip the cash into their own pockets and even engage in a little recreational intoxication, courtesy of the pills and powder they take from dealers. Of course, it isn't all a day in the life of Keith Richards--the game's characters will eventually become addicted to the substances they take and suffer various consequences.

In addition to the ethical choices that abound, players will also use a variety of weapons and hand-to-hand combat to take down pushers.

Gamers on the hunt for an action shooter that won't leave them broke will be pleased to know that NARC is hitting the shelves for the price of two dime bags, a decision Allison is quick to explain in a discussion with GameSpot. "Pricing is not necessarily an indication of the quality of the game," Allison said. "It's an indication of where you're sitting in the [retail] queue, relative to the rest of the market."

NARC is rated "M" for Mature. For more information on the game, go undercover with GameSpot's previous coverage.

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