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Morally dubious but addictive
Dopewars might be technically crude, morally bankrupt and seedy beyond belief but it is also a strangely addictive and compelling little game that takes you into a dark and ugly world. The game's premise is simple enough, with players cast into the role of a low-life drug dealer who is heavily in debt to a loan shark and who is running out of money and friends to call on for help. What follows is basically a sort of economic/business sim, like a less complex version of Capitalism 2 and which is set in a hugely unappealing world. To get out of your troubles, you have to make use of your limited resources to buy up drug supplies and find new markets to sell them to, hoping that demand increases will cause subsequent price rises which will allow you to get out of your hole. Of course, there are numerous hazards to encounter along the way, like cops, muggers and rival dealers, not forgetting the immense shadow of the loan shark that perpetually hangs over you. There's not a great deal to Dope Wars and most games are over in about ten minutes, making this perfect for brief bouts when you have some time to kill. The only real point to replaying is to try different strategies, although they aren't exactly complex, and to try and beat your own high score. Visually, the game doesn't score a lot of points being simply a dull set of pop-up windows and text but the game's appeal is in its subject matter and for the guilty thrills it provides. If you can get past the suspect subject matter, there is an intriguing little game here and which provides some short-lived but addictive pleasures that ultimately leave you with nothing. Hmm, that sounds like something worth thinking about.