Yo yo yo, word up bee-yatch and all that schnozzle. Seems like there's still enough room out there in Xbox land for another slice of cliché-filled 'urban' attitude. This time it's the turn of Crime Life, the tale of a wannabe gangster from the wrong side of the tracks who wants to make his 'cru' the most feared in 'da hood'. Yawn. How many times will sickly sun-avoiding white men in darkened offices so badly misinterpret American gang culture before someone actually comes up with something that isn't knuckle-chewingly embarrassing? "Yo, Blackman and Robin, caught yourself a nice black woman?", one of the guntoting 'homies' shouts every time he sees us.
The combat system needs a bit of work too. At the moment, regardless of what you're doing, it seems to involve bashing the A button for ages until a Y button icon appears over your target's head. Press the Y button at the right moment and your opponent is instantly killed, an event that is for some reason shown in weird inverted colours, presumably so as not to offend the sensitive 18-year-olds who'll be the only ones allowed to buy this. Lose energy during a battle and you can replenish it at a fast food joint with greasy portions of 'fat burgers' and 'chubby pizza'. We're sure we've seen this kind of thing before.
They're going to have to sort the camera out too. At the moment it either floats high above you like a seagull or so down in the thick of battles we've ended up having face-offs with walls. But it's not all bad news. The D12 gang has lent its sound to the game, so anyone with a handful of ASBOs will adore it. The strong point, at least in what we've seen so far in the preview, appears to be the length at which Crime Life emulates and borrows just about every urban trick it can pull out of its grubby sleeve.
A case of 'put some rappers and guns in and the kids will lap it up'? Let's hope not, but as games increasingly seem to be proving these days, it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that bling. Fingers crossed that they manage to trim back the posturing macho nonsense a bit and replace it with a bit more proper, actual gameplay, innit?