Activision's Minority Report: Everybody Runs is based on the movie of the same name. You play the part of John Anderton, a man accused of a murder he has yet to commit. Just as in the film, the quest to clear your name will draw you into conflict with police and military officers. In this respect, the video game does a respectable job of emulating the high-tech action that was so prominent in the movie. Unfortunately, the designers of the game chose to include a targeting system that makes it nearly impossible to effectively discriminate between targets. You spend so much time struggling to aim that you never get to enjoy fighting the bad guys.
The problem with the targeting system is that it can't tell the difference between an innocent civilian and an attacker, or make an intelligent guess as to the threat level of an attacker. Frequently, you'll have to press the L and R buttons over and over again to cycle through available targets. All this is done in real time, however, so you're being shot at and wounded while your targeting cursor passes over a number of innocent civilians and harmless sentry robots. To make matters worse, some areas in the game obviously take advantage of the targeting system's inability to judge between minor and major threats. Often, heavily armed guards will hide behind sentry robots, or you'll face a boss that sends out numerous spiders to distract your aim while it's hurling deadly plasma at you. Thanks to the bogus targeting system, the game is artificially difficult and more frustrating than it needs to be.
If not for the cruel targeting interface, Minority Report would have been a decent game. There are eight huge levels to explore, and each stage offers hundreds of people to fight, dozens of rooms to search, and a fair amount of scenery to hide behind. As you play through the game, you can collect six different weapons, such as a gel rifle, a grenade launcher, and a concussion shotgun. When you're able to target an enemy, the onscreen response of your character resembles a cross between Robocop and Dirty Harry. Most bad guys wear body armor, so they'll just be blown back by your first shot. After that, it's up to you to decide whether you want to finish them off while they're down or let them get up first. If you get in close, you can pistol-whip them. Fallen enemies will leave behind health items or ammunition for your projectile weapons. There's even an area where you're flying through the air with a jetpack. Make no mistake, however--the targeting cursor will distract you from all these good points and make you hate the game. You'll hate it a lot.
There's nothing else amiss about this GBA version of Minority Report. The graphics are two-dimensional, but they're layered in such a way that you can move freely within the areas bounded by the far walls and the foreground. The settings are patterned after locations from the movie, although the separate tiles for the background graphics are repeated constantly. The character graphics resemble the police officers and thugs from the film, although they too are reused countless times. The character graphics animate nicely, however, especially when you dispatch an opponent and he or she slumps to the concrete. In between each stage, you'll get to watch a cutscene based on a scene in the film, although Tom Cruise's likeness has been replaced by a generic stand-in. At the same time, the game also borrows music from the film and sprinkles in a few speech samples here and there, primarily of wisecracking thugs and the occasional police officer.
It's sad when a video game doesn't do justice to the movie it's based on. It didn't have to be that way for Minority Report, however. If someone at Activision--or at Torus Games, where the game was developed--had made a functional targeting interface, this would have been one of the better movie-based video games of the past decade. Nonetheless, this point is moot. Minority Report just isn't fun to play, and all because of a horrible targeting system.