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Video Game / Kingpin: Life of Crime

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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 (as Gray Matter Interactive). 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.

The game is available on both Steam and Bear in mind that playing the game in widescreen on a modern system involves altering the game's .exe file, which can cause conflicts with Steam's authentication procedure. A fan patch has been made to allow for widescreen resolution, with a separate steam version of the patch to address the authentication problem.

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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.
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  • 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.
  • 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 feature everything between desolate ghettos and classy, but equally vile Radio City with its neon signs and Art Deco architecture.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The game is loaded with foul language.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Recruitable gang members all dress entirely in blue or grey, to help you identify them as friendlies during frantic firefights.
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  • Diesel Punk: The setting is a weird mix to say the least, but mainly falls under this. Evoking the big-city urban decay, pollution, and poverty of The '70s, the Tommy Guns, teamsters, Art Deco architecture, and Gangster Land vibe of The Roaring '20s, and the pop-culture (such as Pulp Fiction and Cypress Hill) of The '90s.
  • Elite Mooks: The gangs get progressively tougher as you go through the game, but the difference is usually only a couple more 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.
  • Excuse Plot: The thug gets his ass kicked in an alleyway and rest of the plot is just seeing if he's a bad enough dude to get revenge.
  • Expy: The Kingpin is modeled after Marcellus Wallace, down to the small band-aid on his neck. Several of his lines are lifted almost verbatim from Marcellus as well.
  • Final Boss: Kingpin and Blunt. However, you can only kill the Kingpin.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The thug goes from a random nobody who gets his ass kicked in an alleyway to one of the most feared criminals in the entire city, capable of taking entire gangs out on his own.
  • 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.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Thug's main goal is to get back at Nikki Blanco, the head of the thugs who beat him up at the beginning of the game. Kingpin gets involved because Nikki's one of his best men and the gangs Thug's cutting through to get to Nikki are technically under his payroll, so he's got to deal with this disrespect, but Thug isn't even really interested in Kingpin and decides to kill him in the end more for the chance opportunity to rise to the top than a vendetta.
  • 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!
  • Klingon Promotion: 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.
  • 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.
  • No Name Given: The player character. Most have given him the Fan Nickname of "Thug".
  • Orcus on His Throne: The player's journey is interspersed with cutscenes of the Kingpin sitting at his desk, playing pinball, and generally lounging around while barking at his henchmen for failing to stop the player.
  • Pipe Pain: The first melee weapon in this game.
  • Product Placement:
    • The game has 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 if the game was ever sold in a Diesel shop.
    • There's also the big Cypress Hill logo on the game's splash screen, as their music is used in the game's soundtrack and a few of their members voiced characters in the game.
  • 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.
  • Sequel Hook: The game ends with Blunt fleeing Radio City and swearing revenge against the player for killing the Kingpin. This was never followed up on; While a sequel was announced in 2004, nothing came of it and it was likely quietly cancelled.
  • Shmuck Bait: After getting tickets to the Skytram, you will come across a ringing telephone booth. Answering it will instantly kill you via the booth (and you) exploding.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Many to Pulp Fiction. The game contains several lines from that movie, and the Kingpin is an Expy to one of the film's characters. The scene where Thug shoots the truck driver, splattering blood onto the side window is a reference to the "I Just Shot Marvin in the Face" scene.
    • 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 reference 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 Deco Crystal Towers at the end of the game resemble 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.
  • 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 thug 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.
  • World of Jerkass: Almost everyone seems to have anger management issues, which isn't that surprising since about 97% of the cast is made out of violent criminals.
  • World of Muscle Men: Most male characters are built like linebackers and even the fat ones have giant muscular hands.
    Tehsnakerer: This past talk must go way back into our evolutionary history, because humanity in this world seems to be made off of bizarre protomen, who are made mostly out of muscles and anger.
  • Wretched Hive: Skidrow, at least. The rest of the city may or may not qualify for this trope.


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