Game: Kingpin: Life of Crime (1999)
Studio: Xatrix Entertainment
Platform Played: PC
Obtained on GOG a long time ago. I cannot recall the price.
Author’s Note: NO IMAGES ARE MINE!
Background: I first played Kingpin in 2011. I didn’t care for it. I recently revisited it and found it somewhat entertaining. It has a DeusEx vibe as it takes place in a gritty world full of criminal conspiracy. It also has a Daikatana touch to it as it has a touch of sidekick focused necessity at times which gets annoying.
Now, I just said I revisited it. I enjoyed playing it—I did not finish the game though in the three hours I immersed myself in it though. I instead found myself enjoying it and frustrated by this nineteen year old FPS. One could argue that it is a second generation first person shooter, another person could argue it is an early immersive sim. Rather, than wrestle with taxonomies and classification let’s discuss this game’s good qualities before highlighting the cons.
Atmosphere/Music/Level Design: The game takes place in a dieselpunk city which has a gritty feel in Skid Row and in Poisonville, the game’s two early hubs. The levels are oftentimes boarded up slums and industrial facilities. Rats are present everywhere; ceilings, floors, and furniture look distressed. The levels are not linear. They are mazes of destruction and in some cases frustration. The soundtrack from Cypress Hill sets the stage for a crime thriller of a game.
Weapons: Any good FPS has compelling weaponry that helps tell the story. Kingpin has a pistol, a shotgun, a Thompson submachine gun (Tommy Gun in game), and much more! Weapons are also modifiable which adds variety to them. The handgun can be modified with a magnum mod (more stopping power) and a silencer. However, when you are observed by enemies the handgun is not much of a worthwhile weapon.
The Bad: Glitchy weapons can be problematic. It appears that the crosshair doesn’t always mean the gun is aimed at your target. The only gun that is more reliable is the shotgun. Of course, it is not the best choice when the target is far away! I cannot say that any of the weapons hit the most annoying enemy in the game: the rats. They’re dangerous! More dangerous than some of the human gangsters you’ll fight against.
Lastly, the game doesn’t give power to the player when and where they need it. It is unfortunate that you can start a mission, complete the mission to a certain point and then discover you need to hire a henchman to complete it. I’ll backtrack later. For now I’m saving and quitting for a long, long time.