Talk about ambition!
Say what you will about the actual product, the developers of Starsky and Hutch had an amazing vision in mind for this game. A game focused on two player co-op with asynchronous multiplayer where both players use peripherals to complete their individual goals? That sounds amazing!
The only thing I’ve played that has come close has been the one time I was able to play Legend of Zelda: Four Swords with four people all using the GBA to GC link cables. It’s one of those things that’s almost impossible to actually make happen, where everyone involved has all the hardware necessary, but when it comes together, it can be pretty fantastic.
Starsky and Hutch would be even more difficult to make happen though since for several of the consoles it was released on, the peripherals didn’t even EXIST! Was this game a mess? Yes. Were there terrible decisions made regarding this game? Oh boy, were there. That said, I still have to applaud the developers and, honestly, the publishers, for actually getting behind this crazy idea and turning it into something real. Mad respect to them.
2/19 – Starsky and Hutch
Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s video game of the day.
Today’s game is the 2003 video game adaptation of the 1970’s TV Series, Starsky and Hutch. The game, going by the same name as the series it is based on, was developed by Mind Eyes Productions for the Playstation 2 and was ported for simultaneous release on the Xbox, Gamecube, PC and Game Boy Advance.
For those not familiar with the TV show, Starsky and Hutch follows the two titular detectives, David Michael Starsky and Kenneth Richard Hutchinson, as they solve crimes and chase down baddies in their red Ford Gran Torino. The show is often remembered for helping to popularize the Buddy Cop sub-genre, later utilized in the films Lethal Weapon and Tango and Cash.
While Starsky and Hutch can be played single player, the gameplay is designed primarily for two players to play co-operatively. One player plays as Starsky and focuses on driving the car while the other player plays as Hutch and shoots enemies. Starsky and Hutch supports steering wheel and light gun peripherals for each console, except for Game Boy Advance.
Starsky and Hutch’s story is separated into three distinct seasons, with six episodes each. Each episode is a different mission. On top of completing missions such as chasing down an enemy vehicle or escorting a friendly one, the game has a meta twist in that players must also keep viewer ratings high by performing stunts, shooting enemies or collecting various tokens. Crashing into obstacles or other cars will lower viewer ratings.
While the game did come out only months before the 2004 film starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, and undoubtedly wanted to capitalize on the mind share, the game is not directly based on the movie and instead, is intended to feel more like the original television show.
Reviews for Starsky and Hutch were mixed with many saying the gameplay simply lacked variety. Missions often dragged on for upwards of 20 minutes chasing a single car. Shooting the car is fun at first but quickly becomes dull. Reviewers commented that the game is certainly better multiplayer and with the peripherals but consoles had limited peripheral support at the time. The Playstation 2’s light gun and steering wheel options were noted to be the best but the Xbox’s light gun support was shoddy and the Gamecube simply didn’t have any options at the time. Because of these critiques, the Game Boy Advance version is noted as being the worst of the lot.
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