COPS: High Speed Pursuit
America's show finally has a video game. Too bad it's average.
With 20 years of episodes under its belt, it's crazy to think that it has taken this long for someone to make a game based on the hit TV series (and slice of Americana), COPS. It seems like a recipe for a good time. A little high-speed pursuit through our nation's highways, followed by chasing a degenerate into someone's yard and tackling him. Or perhaps you pull up to a house and just bash in the door. Well, we don't have something that exciting. Instead, there's COPS: High Speed Pursuit from Hands-On Mobile, an iPhone App built on a solid premise, but not executed in the best possible way.
At its core, HSP reminds us of a Need For Speed video game, except instead of evading the law, you step behind the wheel of a police cruiser and give chase across a series of different environments, including Route 66, the Florida Interstate and the American Northwest, among others. The goal, of course, is simple. Some idiot broke the speed limit and won't slow down, so it's up to you to get him or her (you never see the driver) to stop.
This involves stepping behind the wheel of six police vehicles that have different attributes in the following categories: acceleration, durability, speed and handling. That said, they all feel the same, and we played the majority of the game without using the on screen brake. Just keep a thumb on the accelerator and tilt the iPhone to steer around corners.
Keeping up with a criminal is one thing. It's easy to weave in between traffic. Getting him to stop, however, is quite irritating. To do this, you'll need to wait for a red rectangle to appear a few feet behind the vehicle, and then place your car directly inside of it for a few seconds. Doing this, though, requires too much patience. You're essentially dealing with a parking spot on wheels, and the game won't cut you any slack. In other words, you can forget about being partially within this rectangle or even directly behind the car. Instead, you'll need to slow down until you're inside that rectangle, praying to the video game gods that a curve doesn't send you off course.
In addition, the game's a proverbial one trick pony. All you do is chase after people. There are no on foot missions or the option to throw spike strips or call in a roadblock. None of that makes any sense, considering the nature of the show.
At least COPS rewards you for taking down its virtual bad guys. Over time, you'll unlock new rides, and there are a plethora of achievements, from driving 50 miles to avoiding traffic in a single pursuit.
None of that, however, makes COPS: High Speed Pursuit a must buy. Perhaps if it were .99, but it costs $3.99. Sure, it's just a few bucks, but considering the higher quality racing games on the iPhone, it's tough to recommend. But hey, at least they have the familiar theme song (it sounds like a cover). That never gets old.
What's Hot: The excellent theme music (though it sounds like a cover), great controls, different police vehicles, decent amount of scenery.
What's Not: No gameplay diversity, taking someone down requires a lot of patience, $3.99 is a bit much.