Video Game: Kingpin: Life of Crime
Kingpin: Life of Crime
is a First-Person Shooter
based on the Quake II
engine and released by Interplay Entertainment
in June 1999. It was developed by Xatrix Entertainment, also known for Cyberia
, Redneck Rampage
, and the single-player portion of Return to Castle Wolfenstein
. You play as a thug who refused to pay Nikki Blanco. For that, he gets beaten up, dropped off at Skidrow and is told to never show up in Nikki's territory again. Cue the Roaring Rampage of Revenge
.Needs Wiki Magic Love
This video game contains examples of:
- Artificial Brilliance: Compared to other games of its era, Kingpin has remarkably good NPC A.I. Both enemies and allies can navigate the entire level relatively intelligently instead of being limited to a single area, and are reasonably maneuverable in combat instead of just standing and firing. Injured or outmatched enemies will even run off and hide, or run to another area to look for reinforcements. They can even climb ladders or leap from ledge to ledge, which was quite a feat in its day. Overall they behave a lot like a multiplayer bot, and in fact the A.I. was written by the same guy who made the EraserBot for Quake II.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: All of the bosses have lots more health and generally better guns than the regular mooks. This makes sense, given the survival-of-the-fittest, Chaotic Evil nature of the game world.
- Big Bad: Kingpin.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: The boss of Chapter 6 (the train tracks and depot) has no name and is indistinguishable from the regular goons found throughout the level. You only know he's a boss because he appears near the end and can take a lot more damage than the regular goons.
- City Noir: The urban locations in Kingpin: Life of Crime. Features everything between desolate ghettos and classy, but equally vile Radio City with it's Art Nouveau architecture (bearing a suspicious resemblance to some places in Payback). Also noteable for a weird mix of modern as well as 20's, 30's and steampunk-scifi styles (Cypress Hill music, Tommyguns, and thugs with cybernetic facial modifications all in the same setting!).
- Cluster F-Bomb: The game is loaded with it!
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Recruitable gang members all dress entirely in blue, to help you identify them as friendlies during frantic firefights.
- Dystopia: Skidrow, at least. The rest of the city may or may not qualify for this trope.
- Elite Mooks: The gangs get progressively tougher as you go through the game, but the difference is usually only a couple bullets more to kill them. The Kingpin's personal bodyguards, on the other hand, are very tough and can survive almost as much damage as the game's bosses.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Thug seems genuinely disturbed when he finds Big Willy's girlfriend Lizzie has been decapitated by the German ship captain's men.
- Fan Nickname: At least one YouTube comment refers to the player character as "Thug". Hey, it's a Meaningful Name!
- Final Boss: Kingpin and Blunt. However, you can only kill the Kingpin.
- Harder Than Hard: The "Real" difficulty is one of the most difficult FPS experiences in existence, especially early on when your equipment is very limited.
- Immune to Bullets: Blunt. There is no reason for her to be, other than to escape alive and leave a Sequel Hook for the game.
- Kick the Dog: Thug didn't have to shoot that truck driver with a shotgun, but the driver had the nerve to ask for money Thug had said he would pay!
- Nintendo Hard: This game is really hard, even by the high standards of its era. The resource management aspect of the game is particularly unforgiving of careless gunplay, especially in the early levels. It's comparable to its contemporary, System Shock 2, except unlike System Shock 2 you can't avoid most combats.
- Orcus on His Throne: The player's journey is intersparsed with cutscenes of the Kingpin sitting at his desk, playing pinball, and generally lounging around.
- Pipe Pain: The first melee weapon in this game.
- Product Placement: The game had a tie-in with clothing maker Diesel. The idea was that the developers would put the Diesel logo on some character textures (there's also a big billboard in one level), and in return, the retail copy would be sold in Diesel stores. The textures appear in the game, but it's unknown wether the game was ever sold in a Diesel shop.
- Recurring Boss: You fight Nikki Blanco twice in the game, once about 1/3rd of the way through, and once at the very end just before the fight with Kingpin and Blunt.
- Revenge: The plot of the game is this.
- Scary Black Man: The Kingpin.
- Scrappy Weapon: The grenade launcher from this game. Most grenade launchers in video games either fire grenades that explode on contact with enemies, hold more than three rounds in a magazine, let you carry more than 18 rounds total (especially if the game's bazooka has a clip of five shots and an ammo cap of one hundred rockets), take less than four seconds to explode, exist in games where enemies aren't smart enough to run like hell before the 'nade goes off or some combination of the above. Kingpin's grenade launcher is not any of these things. It's so bad that not even the AI can figure out how to kill you with it.
- Shout-Out: To Pulp Fiction. The game contains several lines from that movie.
- The scene where Thug shoots the truck driver, splattering blood onto the side window is a reference to the "I shot Marvin in the face!" scene.
- The Kingpin himself is modelled after Marcellus Wallace, down to the small band-aid on his neck.
- And at least one player skin that is a shout-out to The City of Lost Children, whose visual style Kingpin borrows from.
- Poisonville is a refernce to Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest.
- And the crazy German ship captain boss is a homage to Dr. Strangelove.
- There are a number of shout outs to Payback: The Art Nouveau Crystal Towers at the end of the game rsemble the "Outfit" building, and the ringing telephone in the street that explodes if the player answers it is a reference to the scene in the movie where Porter tricks the gangsters into picking up the phone in his apartment that was wired with explosives before by other gangsters.
- In Radio City, one building is an almost exact copy of the one from the famous Eward Hopper painting "Nighthawks".
- The character "The Jesus" shouts the same phrases as the character of the same name in The Big Lebowski.
- The Dragon: Nikki Blanco.
- Video Game Caring Potential: You can choose to play nice, which will allow you to recruit goons to help you out, go on Fetch Quests and things like that.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can choose to play mean, which will result in violence, and prices being driven up.
- Villain Protagonist: To be honest, the player character is this. He was a small-time thug who got beaten up for refusing to pay "protection" money. He starts off trying to get Nikki Blanco, and then escalates to taking on the Kingpin himself.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: At the end, Thug becomes the new Kingpin after killing the old Kingpin. It's doubtful he has anything in the way of managerial skills, but he's got plenty of minions to take care of that for him, and after all the people he's killed it's unlikely any of the Kingpin's surviving staff are in any mood to argue with him.