187 Ride or Die


posted 10/11/2005 by Jared Rea
other articles by Jared Rea
Platforms: Xbox

Now more than ever, gameplay in video games revolves around choice. Whether it’s choosing between the forces of good or evil or as simple as being a Spartan or an Elite, the freedom of choice is something that we often take for granted in modern gaming. With the introduction of Ubisoft’s new blaxsploitation racer, 187: Ride or Die, the choice is apparent in the title itself. You can either accept the cold, dark and lonesome embrace of death, or you can choose to ride along with a crew of thugs to which the phrase “Ya heard?” is their comma and their use of needless slang is completely unheard of. After subjecting myself to 187: Ride or Die, suddenly the concept of slashing my wrists actually does seem like an extremely viable, alternate method of fun.

Aside from setting back the African-American rights movement about twenty some odd years, 187’s gameplay is entirely simplistic in nature. An arcade-style racer at heart, 187 creates a blend of mind-numbingly slow racing, stereotypical MTV style commentary and urban weaponry into a concoction that seemingly lays waste to the players soul. Yes, playing 187: Ride or Die will make you less of a human being.

Level after level you will be subjected to racing speeds up to and ending at roughly 30 miles per hour. The speedometer and boost power-ups will tell you differently, but there is never once a sensation of speed while plotting through the urban streets, regardless of what “Whip” you’re behind the wheel of. Of course, it wouldn’t be a blaxploitation game without a lot of black people with guns, right? Lucky for us, 187’s key gameplay gimmick is vehicular combat by means of having a partner along for the ride to sling lead at your rivals via sticking their body out the side window of your vehicle. The controls are simple, responsive enough and when the combat itself is done by means of an automatic lock, they couldn’t be more mindless.

At it’s best moments, 187 is an entertaining, if only slightly piece of action gaming. In it’s worse, it’s attempting to convey it’s horrifically trite storyline to you by means of ancient looking CG and characters as cliché as the stereotypes they were meant to portray. While one must commend Ubisoft for even bothering to put a bit more depth into a title so obviously removed from any semblance of quality, we can’t over look just how yawn worthy it is. To put it bluntly, I can remember episodes of My Two Dads with more depth than this; another silly revenge story.

To it’s credit, 187 takes well enough advantage of the XBOX; particularly as a multi-console release as it features vivid graphics at a nice framerate. It’s effects, notably by means of explosions are also quite gratifying. The game also features a soundtrack by Guerilla Black and while I’m sure that Mr. Guerilla is quite proud of his musical accomplishments, 187 sports yet another derivative and completely forgettable arrangement fueled by weak bass lines and repetitive medleys.

 If you somehow find yourself in the possession of 187: Ride or Die, there is always the option for a bit of cruel and unusual punishment by means of subjecting your friends to the worlds most boring show on Earth. Beyond your typical 2-player racing antics, 187 also features a co-op mode which simply splits the already simplistic controls of the single player game into the video game equivalent of the old how many does it take to screw in a light bulb joke. You could also take the show online by means of XBOX Live so that you can toss pre-pubescent boys into the mix of those who swear needlessly along with the in-game characters. The XBOX Live portion of the game is fairly barebones but features all the racing options the game has to offer already.

With so much competition in the racing genre as of late, it boggles the mind as to who Ubisoft thought they were going to fool into picking this one up. At the time of writing this, a copy of 187: Ride or Die goes for $49.99 at your local video game vendor and quite frankly, you’d do yourself better by spending that money to buy a car battery. Why a car battery you ask? So that you can attempt to jump-start your genitals with it as I assure you, the lessons you learn and the comedy that will ensue from this experiment will be more entertaining than whatever 187: Ride or Die could possibly offer you.

A plodding, exploitive game that lacks the speed and thrills necessary to compete with other racing games out on the market.

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