Game Over Online ~ Street Wars: Constructor Underworld

GameOver Game Reviews - Street Wars: Constructor Underworld (c) Infogrames, Reviewed by - Wolf

Game & Publisher Street Wars: Constructor Underworld (c) Infogrames
System Requirements Pentium 200, 32MB Ram, 160 MB HD
Overall Rating 74%
Date Published Tuesday, July 27th, 1999 at 11:57 AM

Divider Left By: Wolf Divider Right

Street Wars: Constructor Underworld is the successor of the number one best seller, Constructor. The easiest way to describe it is as a cross between SimCity and Settlers, with a twist. The twist here is that it's set in the US gangsters era of the 1920's and 30's, so you are able to create mobsters, arm them with Tommyguns, and wipe out the opposition using old-fashioned mob-muscle.

Graphics in Street Wars are about the same as its predecessor. The resolution is fixed at 800x600, but that doesn't matter because the graphics aren't anything special. You get your usual little buildings, tiny little bitmapped workers and mobsters and that's basically it. An effort has been made to make the whole game look better by having nice pictures of the house you just clicked on, and little animations of any people you select, but the overall look of the game is quite average, albeit colorful.

The game begins slowly with a tutorial mission, with several tasks to complete to progress to the next mission. Completing the tutorial mission has only taught you the pure basics of the game, as you sloooooowly, and I mean slooooooooowly progress through the game, more technology will become available to you. Every building you can construct needs a resident, these residents can either pay you rent, or breed a worker/resident. Now this is where it starts to get a bit more interesting. There are five levels of buildings available to you, the higher the level, the more rent it earns you. Level 1 buildings, when fully upgraded (using the gadget factory) can breed you Level 2 residents. Level 2 buildings, (requiring Level 2 residents) when fully upgraded, can breed you Level 3 residents. Level 3 buildings (requiring Level 3 residents) etc., etc. After getting well into a game, you are faced with the relentless and tedious task of continually checking up on your residents and making sure you don't run out of residents on any level (or you're stuffed). There is no way that this could be automated since most of the game is actually based around this task of maintaining a balance of residents (however boring and tedious it may be) to buildings. The ultimate objective for each mission is mainly to build a Level 5 building which can breed Gangsters that come equipped with shotguns. You can also create gangsters by getting some basic workers together and then magically transforming them into gangsters. The problem with this though is that your gangsters are only armed with knives. Better guns can only be purchased when the gangsters have racked up a good kill count, which is rather difficult and involves chasing the enemy worker buggers around the map, loosing a slash every now and then. Breeding gangsters from level 5 buildings will give you gangsters with shotguns, and you will soon be annihilating the enemy buildings with a slew of shotgun fire.

There are a few different cities to battle in where the developers have tried to put in some mission structure. They have utterly failed, as you'll find yourself in control of a huge army of Tommygun gangsters and you are told to bribe the opponent to keep them off your back for awhile (while you're just itching to run in there and blow the hell out of them). On the other hand, you can keep someone in a brothel for a while, whilst the only buildings you have are upgraded versions of the brothel (which is not called a brothel anymore), meaning you have to construct a new building and NOT upgrade it, which is just utterly stupid.

The music was surprisingly good. However, as good as the music might be, after playing the same city for hours at a time, you will feel a strong urge to throw your speakers out the window, screaming for the insane numbness in your mind to stop as that music brainwashes you into a magical throbbing trance. Sounds are just usual little sounds, building noises, knife swishy noises ... the usual.

Multiplayer consists solely of Network play, where up to four players can slug it out. I would hate to think of how long such a game would last with humans pitted against something better than the completely useless and stupid AI, which has no sense of self-preservation or the slightest sign of intelligence as it repetitively attacks the same building over and over again. Placing a police beacon there gets the gangsters arrested every time. The AI will repeat this for as long as the mission lasts, effectively rendering the opponent helpless against your gangster raids as they keep looping the same strategy over and over again.

Personally, I really enjoyed playing the game, despite all it's faults. After all, it's good to be bad. I can only recommend this title to real RTS nutcases though, as many other people will find the game a bit too complex (or just irritating) for their tastes. For anyone who does play, make sure you have plenty of time on your hands as finishing a city can take several hours.


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