A Great Escape? Not Quite.
Escape From Paradise City brings to mind a 1970s-era B-movie and does its best to cultivate that image.
The plot follows three unlikely heroes forced to work for the National Security Agency to take down the crime lord of Paradise City. You play each of the three at different points in the game. Each has a unique skill set. Porter, a retired thief, is an expert at long-range weapons. Angel, a death-row murderer, specializes in hand-to-hand combat. Boris, a crooked cop, uses his people skills to intimidate others to do his dirty work.
Paradise City is broken down into a vast series of neighborhoods. You can wander through them using a top-down strategic view, which is how the game is meant to be played, or in a third-person action view. Besides fighting gangsters, your main goal is to find safe houses where each block mayor lives. Get him to surrender and he will tell everyone that you're the new boss. After control of that neighborhood flips, you can access businesses there to buy weapons and get more cash.
The game looks pretty good, though to see the best details you have to use the action view, which limits your peripheral vision. And the voice acting is well done.
Battles can escalate once you hire henchmen and start to move into larger, richer areas. But controlling your men and activating their special abilities in addition to your character's skills becomes an unnecessary click fest.
Gameplay is extremely repetitive, even with character customization. Had Paradise been released as a budget title, it would be a steal. But $40 for this game is too much.
-- John Breeden II
Escape From Paradise City Mature; PC Windows 2000/XP/Vista ($40) CDV Escape From Paradise City Mature; PC Windows 2000/XP/Vista ($40) CDV