The Active Network

Product: Kingpin
Company: Xatrix/Interplay
Estimated Street Price: 35/$40
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Story & The Features

Kingpin has nothing to do with bowling, it is a game based around Gangs and Gangsters and it is a game I have had high hopes with for a long time.

  • Recruit a gang of thugs and rule the streets. Your gang will follow you on a big job, back you up in a fight, or hang back to guard your turf
  • Talk to people the way you want
  • Rumble with up to 16 human gangstas via LAN or TCP/IP internet with player gang-bang for control of your turf.
  • Shoot a snitch in the kneecaps, or snuff out a rival with a single head-shot and watch them bleed to death
  • See the marvellous graphical effect of Kingpin's state of the art 3D engine
  • Featuring the music of Cypress Hill
  • The local Pawn-O-Matic has the weapons if you have the cash
  • Alternative Low Violence version included.

Installation & Settings

Yet again it is a moderately simple installation with Autoplay doing most of the work for you. However you do get a few more warnings with Kingpin due to its graphic nature and over-the-top swearing so there is an option to install a less intense version if you feel like it.


The game begins with you being beaten up in a back alley. A quick cutscene shows your character all beat up and ready for revenge, the first thing he does is discover a bent up old pipe behind a dumpster as a weapon. The first few characters you meet, you can talk to by pressing either the Y key (For an positive response or a yes answer) or the X key (For a negative reply or an insult). It is best not to piss off the early characters you meet as they can help you out by offering information, let you buy weapons or even join you as a gang member.

The first puzzle element in the first level is how to get into a large warehouse to collect a coil that can then be exchanged for a pistol (The first weapon in the game). This is where the first of many bad points come in. On each level there is a place called the Pawn-O-Matic where you can go to exchange stuff (The coil for example) or buy new items such as weapons and health, while there is nothing wrong with having to do this, the fact that the Pawn-o-matic is classed as a separate level (Despite being one room) is a little bit ludicrous. It takes a long while to load up the room up and you only spend a few seconds in there at a time, then you have to load up the previous level when you leave the Pawn-o-matic which adds to the frustration.

Kinping - Shot 1

The interaction with other characters is also pretty poor, with repetitive conversations on each level, and some very stupid replies such as , "What's happening?" you get the reply "Yes" or "Yeah", there is also really no need to have the X key used for negative replies as it does little to help or hinder you game. It would have been nice to see bigger levels and far more "Quests" for you to take on or avoid if you felt like it.

While some of the level designs are very good, the majority tend to end up like mazes and are very short also, strangely for a 3D shooter these days, the game is very easy to complete, I managed to finish the game 2 days after it arrived, and there is very little in the way of reply value for the single player.

Don't get me wrong, the game isn't all bad as it tends to be very exciting with some great gangster atmosphere on the early levels, some really good weapons and weapon effects and can be great fun at times.


There is no doubt that Kingpin has pushed the Quake 2 engine to what I think are its limits. Everything about Kingpin's graphics are excellent from the dark gangsta settings to the actual characters. It was great to see so many different looking characters in the game. Lighting also reflects properly off of the characters in the game depending on where they are standing or running at the time.

Cutscenes use the in-game engine and are pretty darn good, if a little short, with some great animation and vehicles used to show off just how good the graphics are. There is very little in the way of bad things I can say about the graphical element of Kingpin as it is almost perfect.

Sound & Music

The majority of the sound in Kingpin is just as good as its graphic counterpart with sound effects such as gun shots, lights crackling and steam all sounding perfect. Now onto the swearing, unfortunately in trying to be realistic the game actually ends up using too much of it in my opinion and I'm one someone who does my fair share of swearing. It also seems that there is a big lack of imagination when it comes to the conversations thus the majority of conversations resort to swearing and repetitive replies. The Cypress Hill music (I'm a big fan by the way) is good, but once you hear it a couple of time (There are only a few tracks) it really does get on your nerves.

Final Comments

How It Grades
Originality: C-
Gameplay: B-
Story: D-
Graphics: A-
Cutscenes: B
Sound: A-
Music: C
Interface: B+
Multiplayer: B+
Overall: B-

While Kingpin can be immense fun in parts, despite the new character interaction we have seen most of this before and done better (Half Life). Yes the graphics and sound are extremely good and it does have a good atmosphere, but after the first few levels, the game seems to become disjointed from the Gangster feel that Kingpin should be using.


Overall Score 71%
Version Reviewed Version 1.0 UK
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 CD
1 Set of instructions
Reviewers PC Setup Pentium II 450
Windows 98 Second Edition
128 Meg SD-Ram
Voodoo 2 - 8mb
DirectX 6.1a
SoundBlaster Live! Value
Toshiba SD-1202 DVD-ROM - 32x
17" LG Electronics Monitor
ATI 8mb XPert AGP Graphics Card
Microsoft Force Feedback Pro
Microsoft Freestyle Pro (USB)
PC Required Intel Pentium 200 MMX PC (or 100% compatible CPU)
DirectX 6
DirectX compatible video card
DirectX compatible 3D accelerator card
DirectX compatible sound card
32Mb RAM (64MB recommended)
128MB free hard drive space
Windows 95/98


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