A byproduct of pop-culture in post-9/11 America, 24 grew to become one of the most iconic shows of the decade. The series spanned eight seasons with a mini-series conclusion along with a TV movie, a series of comics and a video game.
While fans are all too familiar with the show and the movie, very few took the time to experience 24: The Game. Released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2, this forgotten title could have presented a positive opportunity for the franchise but was held back due to a series of flaws. The plot is one that fans would expect from the series but it had issues with the gameplay.
The plot is set between the events of Day 2 and Day 3 with story split between multiple characters. President David Palmer has been hospitalized following the assassination attempt at the end of Season 2 and Jim Prescott is now the acting-President. The day begins with Jack Bauer and his CTU team preparing to raid a ship that is smuggling WMD’s into the country. After the raid, its discovered that a terrorist group is planning a series of attacks across LA, including an assassination attempt on the Vice President. It’s a race against time to stop the threat and save the day.
Like the show, the game was set in the 24 hour time frame with each level set in the hour time slot. Its gameplay featured a mix of third-person action along with driving and a series of mini games. The third-person action was a standard shooter that also featured elements of a cover shooter. Driving was simple as players had to race from one point of the map to another in given time. The missions are graded based on the players performance while receiving a high score would unlock special content.
The game also needs credit for having one of the best cast of actors featured in a video game. Unlike most licensed games; 24 had the entire cast of the show lend their voice and likeness to the game. Among the games ensemble cast include Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, Dennis Haysbert as David Palmer, Reiko Aylesworth as Michelle Dessler and Carlos Bernard as Tony Almeida just to name a few.
However it would be a series of glitches and the lack of real effort put into its development that would plague the game. The third-person component suffered from poor camera-angle along with enemy AI being predictable. The vehicle section was also disappointing for its poor vehicle handling along with the action being very dull. This is all thanks the sloppy work done by a team who rushed the product just so it could be released in time for Season 5.
The first game may have had its problems but it was a good starting off point while the idea dose deserve a second chance. Rebranding the story of Jack Bauer as a video game hero would allow his story to continue in a new media by applying the same creativity used with other franchises. Plus with 24: Legacy coming soon with a new hero, many will still be wondering about what happen to Bauer.
24: The Game should not be looked down as a complete failure but as a trial & error that should have set the foundation for the franchise to grow. Despite its flaws, it did the best at capturing the aesthetics of the show to create an experience true to its source material.
Final Score: 7/10