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25 To Life Preview

Scheduled release date:
October 2005
Release Date:
Jan 1 1900 12:00AM

It's been described as "SOCOM in the streets" and "Grand Theft Auto: Online," but Eidos Interactive's forthcoming 25 to Life isn't as easy to pin down as all that. What we have here folks is the world's first online

urban warfare game.

Oh sure, there's a single-player mode where you can create a gang leader or cop and build up a team of thugs or officers to support you… but the real deal Holyfield is that you can take that custom character or team online and shoot it out against other wannabe gangstas and pork. The game will support as many as 16 players (on two "teams").

Straight up urban is the style. In 25 to Life, the maps are the mean streets, subways, and ghettos of a big city. You'll be able to wander around town and start up a gun fight next to the corner liquor store, for example. Just watch out for "innocent" civvies and oncoming traffic, not to mention the subway trains. Oh, and car alarms, barking dogs, and heroic candy ass pedestrians. Feel free to break stuff too, as everything from windows, storefronts, and benches are fair game.

And the soundtrack… bust this: Tupac, DMX, Mos Def, The Ghostface Killah, Ludacris, Public Enemy, Xzibit, KRS-ONE, Gangstarr, Tego Caldron, and the Geto Boyz are confirmed.

All the bling bling and boom boom you could ever want is included. Aside from all of the various body types, you'll have your choice of jewelry, clothing, tattoos, and other accessories from dozens of designers. Meanwhile, there are more than 50 different weapons available. The five-oh has stun guns, Glock pistols, and M4 rifles… and the G's have AK-47's, street sweepers, and baseball bats.

We've had some hands-on time with 25 to Life, and we gotta say, it's shaping up to be tight. Like Sony's SOCOM, it's a third-person combat game. Hey copper, see that perp in the alley? Get him in your crosshair and bust his ass. Yo, G Money, see that pig? Put him in your sights and press the X button to unleash your AK on his dome. Each faction has its ups and downs. Cops can't use makeshift weapons or illegal firearms, but they have better accuracy due to professional training. Not to mention body armor. On the other hand, the budding New Jacks aren't bound by weapon restrictions, and that includes some nasty assault rifles and explosives.

The homies at Avalanche Software, the game's developer, have shown off four online modes so far. You've got your everyday deathmatch (called "war"), raid (cops have to bust up a crack house or thug den), robbery (steal the goods and escape), and tag–which is a variant of capture the flag involving graffiti tagging. Again, the game also has a deep single-player mode, which was scripted by P. Frank Williams, former executive editor of The Source magazine and co-author of Chosen By Fate: My Life Inside Death Row Records
. This guy has stared down Shug Knight, so you know he's on the real.

As for how the game looks, you're probably better off just skanking our screenshots . The devs are shooting for a rock solid 60 frames per second and progressive scan support, so you know it'll at least look smooth in motion.

25 to Life drops into stores this October. It's bound to become a million seller, since Charles Schumer, a Senator from New York has already started a campaign to boycott the game–going so far as to call on Sony to end its licensing agreement with Eidos.

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