Microsoft Streets & Trips 2008
Microsoft's attempt to market Streets & Trips to a wider audience is even more evident in pimp daddy mode, a feature that allows you to keep track of your bitches.
New to Streets & Trips 2008 are "U-Drive-It" missions. Police car, ambulance, and fire truck icons will randomly appear on your map. Double click on an icon of your choice to activate a mission. Your GPS will locate a suspect, wounded victim, or fire for you to take care of. Try not to get shot as you weave through real life streets chasing imaginary suspects on your laptop. These missions add some much needed excitement to otherwise banal trips to grandma's smelly house.
Much has been made of Streets & Trips' GPS capabilities, a feature this reviewer simply can't afford. The only GPS device I have is a cell phone, that when the GPS is activated, drains the battery in roughly six seconds. Despite the fact that I have never used it and am not qualified to comment on it in any way, shape or form, Streets & Trips 2008's GPS features are accurate and reliable. You would do well to make every decision in your life based on what the GPS tells you to do.
Microsoft is doing even more to market Streets & Trips to a wider audience. In fact, this version of S&T will be the last one to be named after the year in which it was released for and will carry edgy taglines from here on out.
2009's version will be called Microsoft Streets & Trips: Awakenings and 2010's version is rumored to be called Microsoft Streets & Trips: The Crimson Butterfly. Hopefully Microsoft's strategy will lure in newcomers to the series, such as those people who have never felt the warm embrace of sunlight on their skin.
Graphics: Graphics are the most important part of any game and the reason for living, and Streets & Trips 2008 does not disappoint. The entire North American continent is painstakingly rendered in all its glory right down to individual streets.
Though the graphics are admittedly primitive, the game world is huge. Haul ass through the Mojave Desert. Go off road in Baja. Find a Tijuana donkey show. It's all here!
All this detail comes at a price however. Frame rates suffer, especially on older machines. Drive through the city of San Francisco and the sheer number of AIDS testing clinics will bring your machine to a screeching halt. Aw, that's not a nice thing to say. It's not even funny, just tasteless. I feel just awful now.
Sound: I heard that if you use the GPS thing in conjunction with the route finder some girl tells you where to make turns and stuff, but that's none of my business.
Bottom Line: Should you buy this software? It all depends on what you're looking for. Don't buy Streets & Trips 2008 if you want to get somewhere you need to go. The software just isn't designed for that sort of thing. However, if you value great graphics, innovative gameplay, and long-lasting replay value, Streets & Trips 2008 might just be right up your ally.
Now if only I had a place to go...