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Smuggler's Run 2: Hostile Territory

Preview - the illicit and treacherous world of smuggling on the road, revisited


The physics engine will be tweaked ever so slightly, but on the whole there was very little at fault with it in the first place. The only additions in that respect are the new modes of transportation, including quad bikes and hummers (amongst other military vehicles). Vehicle damage is said to be even more extensive this time around, too. The most striking change throughout the rest of the game is its storyline. Smuggler's Run probably did have some sort of storyline, but we never noticed it. In Hostile Territory though, the plot and your missions are explained through professionally filmed full motion cut scenes, and the missions are slightly more involved with ongoing objectives and sub-objectives. There are 30 missions in all, set all over the USA as well as on the two aforementioned international maps, Afghanistan and Vietnam. As you can see from the screenshots, these new environments give Angel the excuse to craft palatial temples, ancient ruins and other relics of the past. No doubt they will have to be careful with their handling of the Vietnam scenarios though. Americans understandably have this thing about Vietnam. Apart from collecting contraband and smuggling it across the countryside in time-honoured fashion, our heroes (whomsoever they may turn out to be) need to pay some mind to the nature of their cargo. Some goods slow you down, others are liable to break and anything with a biohazard sticker on it will blow up if handled too roughly or when the timer expires. As some missions will take place in the dead of night, we expect some seriously covert intrusion and smuggling to take place, and with that comes the deadly threat of hostile fire.

Deeper and down

For instance, things you might want to look out for on your tour of Vietnam include minefields, set up to try and keep people away from the dodgy dealings, crossfire from ongoing battles between the locals, and even acts of God, such as avalanches and other natural disasters. As well as those extremes, local weather conditions such as rain, snow, fog and sandstorms contribute to your discomfort, and cause enough damage in their own right before you take hostile encounters into consideration. And a lot of the time, your enemies are just as eager to get you as they are the smuggled goods! Final changes include elaborate new AI routines, set to make the skirmish modes slightly more entertaining, and a licensed soundtrack to replace all those horrendous bebop hip hop style techno tunes that accompanied the first game. Other than that, there's the obligatory lick of paint and some new visual effects including dynamic reflection mapping, high-resolution smoke and some particle effects, running smoothly on a 60Hz display. Smuggler's Run was a tremendous opener for the PlayStation 2, amidst a collection of average releases, and even though the sequel's claims of being new and improved are somewhat tenuous, we fancy it will still sell a packet and demonstrate Angel Studios/Rockstar's ability to drive the genre in new directions when it arrives in October of this year.

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