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Posted: 2/12/2006 10:57:19 AM EDT

Story Here. Discuss.
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 10:59:26 AM EDT
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) is mounting a vigorous campaign to discourage parents and caregivers from purchasing or allowing children access to the 25 to Life© video game. The NLEOMF is a nonprofit organization representing the nation's 15 largest law enforcement organizations. It was established in 1984 to generate increased public support for the law enforcement profession and to provide information that will help promote law enforcement safety.

Click here to sign our online Petition.

In response to a notice from game manufacturer Eidos that the game was shipped to U.S. markets beginning January 17, the NLEOMF is protesting the violent nature of the game, in which participants role-play shooting gang members and police officers and using civilians as human shields. The NLEOMF is calling for all retail outlets to act responsibly and not stock this item.

"It is absolutely unconscionable that game makers are enabling young people — or anyone — to dramatize shooting and killing as a form of entertainment while officers and innocent people are dying in real-life on our streets every day," said NLEOMF Chairman Craig W. Floyd. "We're encouraging parents, caregivers and everyone who is concerned about both law enforcement officers and children to ensure this game never makes it into the homes or hands of impressionable young people."

Players of 25 to Life© are presented with a scenario that enables them to choose between playing as a law enforcement officer, or a drug dealer who role-plays shooting fellow gang members and law enforcement officers. The Web site advertising the game boasts that players have "more than 40 weapons to choose from, including shotguns, machine guns, stun guns and tear gas."

Noting that in the past 10 years, 70 officers have been killed by people under the age of 18, Mr. Floyd said, "While it's true that players are given a choice between wearing a badge or the colors of a gang, the ultimate message carried by the game is that some players are justified in endangering the lives of police officers. That's a terrible message for anyone, but particularly so for young people who are already confronted with numerous choices that can lead to dangerous consequences. Regardless of your views on free speech or marketplace dynamics, there is really nothing good that can be said about this game. The images are wrong. The messages are wrong. And stocking it in U.S. stores is wrong."

Mr. Floyd noted that the NLEOMF's recently released report on law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty during 2005 included more than 50 officers killed by gunfire, which he says "represents only a fraction of the number of officers who have been shot at and wounded." A total of 153 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during 2005, according to preliminary figures released by the NLEOMF and Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).

"We're focused on this game right now because children and communities are facing the greatest threat from it right now, but our broader goal is to encourage all parents and caregivers to be more aware of what their children are exposed to or encouraged to emulate," added Mr. Floyd. "Any type of media that glorifies violence against law enforcement or civilians should be scrutinized very carefully."

Support a protest against 25 to Life©. Sign our online petition.
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 11:01:37 AM EDT
Better ban all those Gangster movies as well.
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 11:01:42 AM EDT
Everybody knows that only little innocent 10-and-under kids play videogames, and it's physically impossible that this might be targeted at an older audience. It's also a well established fact that videogames, rather than allow one to vent frustration in a harmless medium with no repercussions, actually makes people more likely to committ the crimes that they are "practicing" in the videogames.

I'm going to go buy this game now. Is it out for Xbox?
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 11:15:44 AM EDT
The problem is simple - people do not understand that video games are not longer created for just children. I'm 38 and design video games for a living. I've been playing them since I was about 12 and still play them to this day. I do not work on games design for children under the age or 17. The last game I worked on was "The Punisher" which had some pretty visceral sequences such as sticking a drill press through a guy's head and electrocuting a prisoner in an electric chair (the last sequence was my idea. ). We had to edit alot of these sequences (by moving the camera around) to get an "M" rating instead of an "AO" rating (same as the "XXX" rating for movies which is the kiss of death for video games).

There is a rating system that was put together by the ESRB which is similar to the rating the MPAA uses for movies. "25 To Life" is rated "M" for Mature. The "M" rating is akin to the MPAA's "R" rating. The ESRB states:

Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language.

While the ESRB ratings systems is all well and good, the system breaks down when the parents don't pay attention to what they are buying for their kids or what they're kids are buying. There's a big stickers on games that shows the rating. We tell people up front what they are getting. If they choose to ignore it, then that is their choice but we don't sugar coat what we make.
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 11:15:48 AM EDT

I'm going to play some GTA right now in protest of this protest.
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 12:20:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/12/2006 12:20:31 PM EDT by Black_Winged_Angel]
Yay, Eidos just got another customer.

Do they plan to release it on PC? If enough people buy this this game and you have a camera or some way to do it, I propose we post out snapshots and movies in an offical link. In fact I'll start a poll right now.
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 12:24:16 PM EDT
if it gets their little girly panties wrapped up like that, i'll be buying it.
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 12:24:36 PM EDT
What fries me is that people who would censor this will selectively stand up for Dannish cartoonists, whose art has been fuel to the fire in the muslim world. Both are protected forms of free speech. Of course so is protesting the game. Gotta love freedom!
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 1:08:03 PM EDT
It's pretty simple. If you don't let your kids watch "R" rated movies without your consent and guidance then don't let them play "M" rated games without your consent and guidance.
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 1:09:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Black_Winged_Angel:
Do they plan to release it on PC? If enough people buy this this game and you have a camera or some way to do it, I propose we post out snapshots and movies in an offical link. In fact I'll start a poll right now.

Yes, they are going to release it on PC and it's pretty easy to get in-game screen shots. Most games have a "cheat" command to do it or you can always use external software to do it.
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 1:11:36 PM EDT

The National Law Enforcement Officers...

As always, the cops stand against freedom.z
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 1:17:37 PM EDT
Damn any game worthy of beeing banned is one I need to own!

I bought GTA SA before all the crap about that came out.

Never have figured out the Secret to unlock the supposed porn.
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 1:18:48 PM EDT
I've got the pre-ban GTA:SA and I'll get the pre-ban 252L
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 7:04:30 PM EDT
LMAO, I read the article, and openned Limewire. I scrolled down while it was searching, only then finding out it wasn't out for PC yet. O well! I'll download it first, as always, but if I like a game, I order directly from them, and continue playing my cracked version. I love the convenience of downloading software, but I understand those who make the games need to pay the bills too!
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 7:07:01 PM EDT
I would buy it but everyone I've talked to who played it says its pretty horrible, its funny they make a stink over alot of these shitty games and they just make them sell more copies, I'll stick with the GTA series, everything that comes out that tries to be similiar ends up sucking.
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 7:09:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Zatu:

I'm going to go buy this game now. Is it out for Xbox?

Link Posted: 2/12/2006 7:16:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/12/2006 7:16:36 PM EDT by Lockedon]
In stores now for xbox, ps2 and PC. best buy should have the xbox version at least.

However IGN gave it a TERRIBLE review
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 10:07:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2006 10:10:13 PM EDT by Black_Winged_Angel]

Originally Posted By Lockedon:
However IGN gave it a TERRIBLE review

And here it is.

25 to Life
This game belongs in jail. So do you if you play it.
by Charles Onyett

January 17, 2006 - For anyone looking for the definitive cops vs. robbers style of action game, this isn't it. In fact, it's not even close, though that applies mostly to the single-player campaign. Like Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance and Crime Life: Gang Wars, 25 to Life is another gritty, gory title with plenty of foul language and pointless killing. In it, you'll play as three different characters: the gangster Shaun Calderon, Detective Lester Williams and Andre Freeze Francis. The game starts out following Freeze as he comes to the decision that he no longer wants to be involved with the criminal world. As soon as he tries to leave, though, he's pulled right back in as his family is kidnapped and he's forced to fight to escape the life he strives to put behind him.

Somehow, escaping this life means Freeze has to kill about 300 police officers. By some sort of seemingly divine grace, you're able to pull this off without drawing any sort of attention. It's strange because most real-life police officers call for backup if they're being attacked. I'm pretty sure they don't sit back at the station playing darts and placing bets on televised car chases while the rest of their precinct is being fatally punctured by the firearms of one guy. Though it can be said that no backup arrives to make the game playable, it may be one of the first of many unanswerable questions you'll find yourself asking your television as you play through this game's single-player campaign. For instance, why are there so many boomboxes scattered around Mexico?

25 to Life is a third-person action game with a terrible aiming mechanic and woefully inadequate controls. As you might assume, that does a whole lot to make the game as unnecessarily frustrating and perplexing as possible. In it, you'll be able to use a wide variety of guns including several pistols, SMGs, rifles, grenades and Molotov cocktails. Each painfully linear stage takes plays out with a series of combat arenas. In other words, you enter an area, kill the enemies, pick up the floating health pack, move to next area, kill more guys. That's pretty much it. With a game so specifically focused on combat, it's amazing how limited your character is in terms of abilities. After playing through the game's first two levels, you've seen pretty much all there is to see.

Whoever you're controlling can crouch, run around, occasionally vault walls and lean side to side. The leaning is the only combat option that might have proved worthwhile or added some strategy, but as it stands it's pretty much useless. For one, you don't really lean that far, so you can't see much more of the combat area than if you were to just run out from behind cover. Second, the actual lean is slow, meaning if there are enemies around that know where you are, they're definitely going to shoot you. Third, once noticed, the enemies will always seem to know when you're going to lean out.

Basically, this means fighting from cover is awkward and ineffective. This is especially true since enemies will frequently lean out from cover too. In many cases you can't see exactly where your foes are and, because the leaning controls are so slow to respond, you'll have to stand out in the open to know when you're able to shoot at them. Don't get the wrong impression here; just because the enemies take cover doesn't mean they're smart. In fact, all the enemies in the game seem very, very confused.

Some of your gun-toting foes in 25 to Life will charge right at you while unloading all their bullets. Some will stand behind a wall and not notice you until you start shooting them. Some will have ungodly accuracy with automatic weapons from extremely long distances. Others, assuming you're standing far enough away and behind an object, will fail to notice you even after you've shot them. All these factors combine to create a completely brainless action experience, where the entire strategy of the game involves just pointing your gun and shooting at your enemies' heads. Even then, some enemies take two or three direct shots to the head to die, even if they're not wearing helmets.

Occasionally, you'll have a friend or two fighting alongside of you, which amazingly makes it more difficult to stay alive. The problem is your partner or friend has absolutely no regard for where you are when he's pulling the trigger. So if you're in between an enemy and your friend, he'll have no qualms about putting 800 bullets into the back of your head. Some sort of team command mechanic, even a basic "stay here" or "stop shooting me in the back you freaking moron" command would have been a welcome addition.

Fighting is even further hampered by controls that aren't that great. Trying to precisely shoot an opponent while he's moving around is a frustratingly inconsistent experience, especially when he's shooting you the entire time. From cover positions, it's also surprisingly difficult to target an opponent. Whether this is an aberration due to your over-the-shoulder perspective or something else is unclear. Either way it means the best way to kill an enemy is to run directly up to them and shoot them, negating any sort of cover-to-cover shooting strategy. In a close range battle, you're going to be dying most of the time. Sure, you may get one or two shots in against a foe unloading an entire clip on you, but as you'll quickly find out in 25 to Life, foes take about 25 shots to kill, unless you hit them in the head. Even then, some enemies can take 3 to 4 sniper bullets before they go down.

Depending on which character you're playing as, you can also take a human shield or stun an opponent and arrest them. Amazingly, if you arrest an opponent in the middle of a heated firefight, you somehow become invincible while you're slapping on the cuffs. Taking human shield comes highly recommended, though, because you're going to be dueling lots of armed jerks in firefights, and the strongest motivation you should have while playing the single player game is to avoid having to replay an area.

In addition to all the frustrating and highly questionable gameplay mechanics, you'll also be treated to graphics that at times resemble what ends up in a sink after 18 tequila shots in under an hour, and at others barely break into the realm of mediocre. The game starts out in an urban environment that's so generic you might fall asleep looking at it. Eventually you'll enter areas that are slightly more interesting, and in the end the game proved to have more environmental variety than something like Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance. Though there was a slight degree of variety, that doesn't mean any of the environments looked good. Enemy models and animations are terrible. They move around like starched mannequins, showing little to no response at being shot twenty times by an SMG. Characters will often blend into the background so you'll have to spend unnecessarily long tracts of time searching for that one foe who you can see on your radar, who keeps shooting you, yet somehow you can't spot on your screen.

The only decent graphical effect in the game is the slight distortion made by swinging a bat and the slight ripples caused by bullets. You'll often find yourself on fire, which apparently hurts exponentially less than getting shot. On the lower difficulties, your character can easily survive three or four Molotov cocktail explosions, and the effect of you running around shooting others while engulfed in cheesy-looking and totally-harmless flames can only be described as hilarious.

As with many games like this, the soundtrack is pretty much the best thing it has going for it. The gun effects are decent, too. If nothing else, at least they're loud. Character voices stink, and why each character needs to unleash a curse every two or three words is a little beyond my comprehension. Is it realistic? I don't know, I'm not a gangster. Does it sound forced and make me laugh unintentionally? It sure does. You might also be surprised at how many of the enemies and hostages will talk well after they've been killed. For instance, hearing an enemy bellow, "Jesus Christ please forgive me for my sins," a second or two after he's already died might make you raise an eyebrow. If you're smart, it would make you raise your finger to the power button and shut the game off.

In each single player mission you're given a primary objective, as well as several secondary ones. Killing 25 enemies, getting 12 headshots or breaking 4 cash machines are a few of the secondary objectives that, if completed, net you bonus goodies for the multiplayer mode. The multiplayer is definitely where you're going to want to spend most of your time with this game, since you don't have to deal with the ridiculously bad AI of the single-player campaign. You'll also find a surprisingly large array of options available to you, including several different modes of play, lots of customizable game settings, options for organizing your own 25 to Life clan, as well as tons of options for customizing your appearance. If only the shooting and aiming weren't so awkward to control and there was actually some sort of cover options for battle, this may have been way more entertaining to play.

As it is, the combat is still basically as silly in the single player. The one main difference is that since you're playing with others, you can create battle plans for attacking and defending in each of the 16 stages. The one thing that's virtually the same is the aiming, which stinks. In some levels you can take hostages to protect you, which almost adds some depth. In Robbery and Raid modes it verges on fun to stick together and protect the bag or evidence carrier. The problem is, it all boils down to just slamming the shoot and grenade buttons repeatedly while trying to move around. Imagine Max Payne with no cool slow-motion or rolling abilities and guns that aren't even close to as fun to use, and you'll get a good idea of what controlling your 25 to life online character is like.

Closing Comments
There's really no reason to buy this game. The single player is boring, arrestingly conventional and entirely forgettable. The multiplayer is slightly better, though mostly because of its options and not because of its gameplay. This game sorely needed some kind of unique movement, such as diving, rolling or a much more sophisticated duck and cover mechanic. As it is, the entire game consists of running up to foes and hoping you can shoot them more times than they shoot you. In the end, 25 to Life turns out to be a flimsy product that feels tacked together strictly for the purposes of producing a "gangster" game, which apparently sells copies. In the future, hopefully the developer can pair the theme with an interesting game design players can actually enjoy, or just stop making them altogether.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 10:13:02 PM EDT
Or how about you just be a responsible PARENT and approve what games, movies, music your kid has.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 10:23:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2006 10:23:42 PM EDT by BigB1129]
This game is terrible!

I mean playing it. Graphics and gameply sucks, I beat the thing in an hour
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 10:33:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SteyrAUG:
Or how about you just be a responsible PARENT and approve what games, movies, music your kid has.

+1, but no one every wants to be responsible, because when something bad happens that video game is always there to accept the blame.
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