Light gun games make you feel as though you’re in a Western where, as the town sheriff, you get to shoot down all the local scum. Nowadays, though, the bad guys are not greasy bandits, but drug dealers that have a lot of money and considerably better weaponry than the good guys. Well, in Drug Wars you still get the chance to shoot them down while dismantling a drug cartel in South America along the way. But don’t get too serious because, from the opening sequence, you get the idea that the game is to be played with a more tongue-in-cheek attitude. The cartel’s main bad guy is merely a caricature of Tony Montana – Al Pacino’s infamous character from Scarface. Of course, it is more of an SNL parody than the real thing (well, it’s not easy to top Al Pacino, right?). So, get ready for a game that can amount to some serious fun?if you don’t take the fun too seriously.
What can be said? It is an interactive live-action movie, there’s not much graphical finesse put into it, and light gun games are not necessarily about that. It’s a movie creation where you can shoot people, real celluloid people, not graphical representations; it makes for a more realistic experience – or so they say. It’s a simplistic presentation and approach but it works, basically everything that moves has a gun. That’s why it’s important that the video quality of the game is enough to distinguish friends from foes. The visual quality in Drug Wars is around the average-to-below average level; an excellent screen resolution on your computer may help. But you can always determine who’s who in the game, so don’t worry about it too much.
There’s a great deal of shooting and yelling that goes on throughout; sound effects and voice acting are important to note, too?remember that this is a virtual movie. Drug Wars doesn’t provide the best sound ever heard in a video game, but if you crank up the volume it can help set the mood. It’s very important in this type of game to have effective sound effects that immerse you into the bullet-riddled world. The game sound is never ear shatteringly impressive, but it always flows on the right side of aurally effective.
Like it was said earlier, just point and shoot, interact with an occasional character, choose where to go next, and start shooting again. It’s mundane yet easy, not complicated in the least – who needs carefully constructed story arcs when you can let your gun do the talking? Drug Wars is all about simple fun, like way back in the days of Gunsmoke. Light guns have always had something appealing to them; a big part of which is that you get to use a toy gun to shoot bad guys with rather than a clumsy joystick or a fiddly controller. If you want to enjoy the game to its fullest then you simply have to get a laser gun – the whole experience is so much more enjoyable that way. When you purchase the game you do get a discount coupon if you want to buy the gun with it.
Don’t expect too much from Drug Wars, just expect to shoot lots of bad guys down; if your expectations are higher than this then you may well be sorely disappointed. Not that you should expect mediocrity, but this type of game has a different agenda from the rest of the (industry) bunch. It won’t try to amaze you through incredible graphics, but rather amaze you with simple fun, easy interaction, and maybe a good story to go with it. The mere existence of games like Drug Wars keeps gaming a diverse branch of the media – and that’s always a good thing.