Ever meet that big movie star - the one you've been waiting your whole life to meet - only to find out that, even though they're even better looking in person, they're not that fun to be around? No? Well, that's the only convoluted analogy I could think of to describe G Police. It is quite possibly the best looking game to hit the scene since the advent of 3D-accelerator cards. The sound is remarkable. The SGI-rendered cutscenes are unprecedented. Unfortunately, the gameplay has some relatively major flaws.
The storyline's not to blame. It's actually quite intriguing, considering this is a purebred action game. In the years following the late 22nd century's great war for the solar system's resources, the governments of Earth are overthrown, and the entire planet is demilitarized by the megacorporations. It soon becomes apparent that some sort of independent law enforcement agency will be needed to keep the corporate moguls' greed and lust for power in check. Hence, the Government Police are created, and you, as Jeff Slater, war veteran and crack hovership pilot, are their newest recruit. This complex story, along with some bad blood between Slater and his new Commanding Officer, and a "searching for clues about his sister's mysterious death" subplot, is a welcome change from the usual unimaginative drivel that plagues this genre. Unfortunately, that's about all that's welcome.
First of all, this is not one for the light of wallet. The game's priced about right, but anyone but the most well-equipped gamers will have to take out a second mortgage to experience everything the game has to offer. The minimum system requirements call for a Pentium 133 with 16MB RAM, but without an ultrafast CD-ROM drive and, most importantly, a 3D accelerator card, you'll be playing an entirely different game.
With hardware 3D acceleration, most would consider G Police a joy to play. Watching the incomparably rendered graphics zoom by makes the pitiful control setup and confusingly cluttered scenery worthwhile. So what if you can never keep your hovership going in a straight line. The buildings you keep crashing into (causing no apparent damage, of course) are simply bee-yoo-tee-ful! The lighting effects - the blasts from your jets, the lens flares, and the brilliant explosions - are what 3D cards were made for.
The missions, 35 in all (that we know of), are well executed enough to keep the action moving along. The enemies come in all shapes and sizes - aircraft, ground targets, people - and the cops-and-robbers feel of the missions adds an intriguing twist. You're never at a loss for weapons, either. As the level difficulty progresses from frustrating to downright ludicrous, your DASA-Kamov AG60 HAVOC (Got all that?) can be outfitted with more and more powerful weapons. Of course, seeing any of this stuff in action requires that you actually make it past Level 2. We recommend using the tutorial mode to get used to the, er, touchy controls for, oh let's say, eight to ten hours before attempting even the first level. That should do the trick.
Bear in mind, too, that this is in 3D-accelerated mode. If you don't have a 3D card and a rippin' processor, just scratch G Police right off your letter to Santa. While the graphics in software-accelerated mode are still absolutely amazing as unaccelerated graphics go, the reprehensibly loose controls make the scenery unnavigable. What is merely confusing with a 3D card is, without one, just a fast-moving jumble of underlit chaos. Forget negotiating your path from waypoint to waypoint, and don't even think about being able to win in a dogfight past Mission 10 or so. To put it simply, I consider playing this game without 3D acceleration one of the most exasperating experiences of my life. Whatever you do, don't attempt it!
All things considered, G Police puts too much emphasis on the graphics. The gameplay is there, but you can't get to it. If you're sportin' an ultrafast PC with a 3D accelerator card, G Police is a worthy buy, if only for the visuals. If you have anything less, save yourself the frustration.