Overall Score 71%
Car Thief 4
Excellent! Car Thief 4 is a turn based RPG with grit. Your character starts the game in serious debt to a nasty looking loan shark and, with just 30 days before the first payment, it's time to start stealing luxury cars and the odd Honda too.
The game starts with a choice of character and a map of Las Vegas, your home city. Cars, bikes, vans, quads or later in the game buildings can be selected to steal, burgle or worse. The action is point and click. Breaking into, or car jacking, a vehicle is a multi-stage process. Using your various character skills you might pick the lock or break a window, then immobilise the alarm, remove any restraints and get the engine started. Jacking seems a lot easier to do than stealing.
Once you've got a car you can sell it to your local fence. If you consider that boring you can play death-race with other local hoodlums where the winner gets to keep the losers car, but don't expect anyone to race you in your newly jacked Dodge Viper or Lamborghini. There is always a chance you'll get caught and cautioned by the cops. Get caught three times and it's jail for life.
Your criminal activities are not limited to Vegas either. You can fly or drive to other major cities if you feel the cops breathing down your neck. Soon you'll locate other gang members and work your way up the crime ladder. Eventually you'll feel confident enough to have a go at a Reservoir Dogs style bank raid. Once your debt is paid you can retire to an exotic location of your choice with any profit. Deciding a good time to quit is a balancing act, and the police activity at the airports keep the game tense to the final click.
The graphics are very nice. Real photographs of people and your chosen targets are used to great effect. The high quality of the sound effects stands out too.
Car thief is an unusual game to play but it works well. At times the game looks like a text adventure (even though the game is strictly point and click). Playing is rather like reading a 'choose your own adventure' book, generally the players is faced with a few icon based choices. There are lots of possible outcomes to any situation but there isn't much to discover beyond the surface and long term appeal may be a little lacking.
Car Thief 4 is a testament to indie innovation. No big studio or publishing house would ever create a game like this but it works, it looks good and it plays well too. Although I didn't find the game very addictive, it should have wide appeal and this game could do well sold in book shops, not game shops.
Car Thief 4 deserves success.
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