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Dare you walk these mean streets?
A staggeringly bizarre and controversial game, Hooligans offers gamers the chance to recreate the dark period when English football was known not for its players or the quality of the matches, but for the waves of violence that sprang up in their wake. The goal of the game is simply enough, with players taking control of a gang of soccer hooligans and aiming to become the number one gang in Europe. This entails travelling around the continent, taking out rival gangs by killing or maiming them, making use of the various classes that you have available. The Leader has access to handguns, while the Rat is skilled at breaking and entering and the Hooligan is a dab hand with explosives. The game plays out as a real-time strategy game viewed from an isometric perspective, something like a larger-scale Commandos, and players start out with only a couple of gang members, recruiting more as they take over territory, while watching out for rivals and police. Most players will take a violent approach but you can even send in female supporters to seduce enemies, so despite the obviously confrontational nature of the game, it does offer some opportunities for strategy. The player makes their way through a campaign, with various objectives needing to be completed in order to progress and which generally revolve around causing as much chaos as possible. While the subject matter is questionable and morally dubious, there is a certain dark appeal to Hooligans, in the same way as Grand Theft Auto or Postal and the grim humour on display here is likely to appeal to a certain type of gamer. The violence is off-putting, given its real-world context but if these aforementioned games are up your alley you might just enjoy this twisted walk down some highly mean streets.
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- Commandos 3: Destination Be... Strategy, 2003