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February 1, 2005
25 To Life - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
13/7/2007EidosAvalanche Software/
1, 16 $49.95

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Guns drawn...
What's this. Just another third person action game I hear you all say? At first glance it may appear so, but 25 To Life is likely to generate a lot of interest when it hits the shelves in a couple of months time. In this game developers Avalanche (who have worked on the THQ's impressive Tak titles on PS2), are combining street violence with street hip-hop culture. This game is big, is violent, and, probably most importantly, online. 25 to Life allows you to play as either cops or gangsters, either way, your ultimate goal is to take control of the city streets.

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The story unfolds through the eyes of Detective Lester Williams of the local Police Department and Andre “Freeze” Francis, the street “lieutenant” of the 22nd St D-Boys, a well established street gang whose greedy philosophy keeps their enemies in fear. Their gritty journeys are conveyed through four intertwined chronicles that culminate into true life lessons.

Freeze, a young twenty-something hustler is trying hard to get out the game, stay down with his lifelong crew and avoid his third strike. But when Calderon, Freeze’s lifetime homeboy, double crosses him on the last Job; it forces Freeze to get revenge, save his only son from a life of crime and survive a series of deadly shootouts. Along the way, Freeze faces-off with Detective Williams and his deadly partner, Maria Mendoza. Freeze must also step to a legion of haters out to kill him...

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The multi-player game.
Set in the heart of today’s cities, experience the gritty lifestyles of police task forces or as a gangster survive the local neighborhood thugs while fighting your way up the ranks. Bust out of prison, or infiltrate the inner sanctum of the drug lord’s mansion, your knowledge of the streets will be put to the test. A fully customizable character system gives you the freedom to define your looks and style. Display your ranking by unlocking and customizing your gear with the latest threads! Of course to take control you'll need a robust weapons arsenal includes both lethal and non-lethal ways to take down your opponents. In fact there will be over 40 weapons available including Shotguns, Machine Guns, Stun Guns, and Tear Gas. The developers are also littering the levels with realistic touches which not only add realism, but could also aide or hinder your progress in the game. We can expect pedestrians, car alarms and barking dogs just to name a few things likely to give away your postition.

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Money, and bundles of flour?
The real selling point for this game, and the one area which will probably determine its fate at retail, is the 16-player online support. Sure we've got military games online (such as SOCOM or Ghost Recon), racing games (such as Burnout 3 or Crash N Burn), First Person Shooters (such as Killzone or Medal of Honor: Rising Sun) and sports games (such as FIFA or Tiger Woods PGA Tour) but this game is a different kettle of fish. Not only do we have a totally different environment but also a game world which probably isn't to dissimlar to American streets and ganglands. 25 To Life allows you to pick a side and the defend your turf by any means necessary. As with any online game the developers are including support for the USB headset.

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Using the sniper rifle.
Eidos do know how to generate an impressive soundtrack for a game, and 25 to Life is no exception. Being a street based game the game is littered with plenty of gangster styled hip hop and rap music. The tracklist is impressive and includes KRS-ONE – Black Cop, 2Pac featuring Nutso – Ghetto Star, Gangstarr - Code of the Streets, Geto Boys - Yes Yes Ya’ll, Ghostface Killah featuring Jadakiss – Run, Public Enemy – Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos, Xzibit – Enemies, Jackpot – To the Finish, UTP Playas – Nolia Clap, Tech N9ne – My Wife My Bitch My Girl, Tego Caldron – Circa De Mi Neighborhood, Grafh – Bad Company, Shade Sheist & N.U.N.E. – You Got, Locura Terminal - Prisonero, Blaze feat/Esham and ABK - Shot-gun. It should be superb.

So 25 to Life is still a bit of an unknown. It looks like Grand Theft Auto mixed with a hip-hop flavour. With a rich storyline and solid 16-player online support it's hard to see this game not generating an audience. Unfortunately with the changes at Eidos the game won't be released until very late 2005, or early 2006 in PAL territories.