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Video Game / 25 to Life

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25 to Life is a Third-Person Shooter developed by Avalanche Software and Ritual Entertainment and published by Eidos Interactive. It was released on January 17, 2006 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Microsoft Windows in North America. (in Europe and Australia, it was released in June 2007 for the PlayStation 2).

You play as one of three characters: Andre "Freeze" Francis, a 22nd Street D-Boys gang member and drug dealer looking to leave the gang and start a new life in Miami with his girlfriend Monica and son Darnell; Lester Williams, a US Marine turned Las Ruinas police officer; and Shaun Calderon, a 22nd Street D-Boys gang leader.

25 to Life has examples of the following tropes:

  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: In the NTSC version, customization items are unlocked for the multiplayer by finishing levels and completing secondary objectives in the single-player mode.
  • Arc Villain: Saragosa, the drug kingpin who runs Tijuana. Shaun spends Chapter 3 taking over his empire.
  • Asymmetric Multiplayer: The multiplayer mode divides players between Law Enforcement and Criminals, with both sides having their own equipment and a unique ability (LE players can extend a Criminal's respawn timer by tasing and apprehending him, while Criminal players can use civilians as human shields). Tag, the Domination equivalent, deviates from this by pitting two groups of Criminal players against each other.
  • Badges and Dog Tags: One of Lester's taunts has him boasting about being a marine.
  • Bank Robbery: After Freeze returns to his apartment only to find his girlfriend and son are being held hostage by Shaun, Downtown has him sticking up the 1st Terrance National Bank in order to pay off the ransom.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Shaun Calderon and Maria Mendoza.
    • Big Bad Ensemble: She and Shaun become this after he blows her cover, which results in her killing Officer Williams and framing him.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Played Straight and Inverted. Of the three playable characters (two of whom are black), Officer Williams is the first to die. The next dead man is Shaun, who had his neck broken by Freeze.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Criminals, both player-controlled and NPC, can grab civilians and use them as cover. AI-controlled law enforcement will hold their fire when presented with a hostage-taking player, only firing if the player fires a shot or releases the hostage. AI-controlled criminals and players have no such qualms, and will fire away without a care for civilian casualties.
  • The Cartel: The Saragosa Cartel, which Shaun destabilizes and takes over after being driven out of the United States.
  • Covers Always Lie: See that white guy on the cover? He never appears in the game. Freeze also doesn't wear that specific outfit (in fact, the only times he wears a tank top are in Prison and the first half of Mall).
  • Dead Man's Trigger Finger: If a character dies while they are firing an automatic weapon, there is a chance the gun will keep firing until the magazine is empty. This can potentially cause collateral damage, so keep some distance if this happens.
  • Dirty Cop: Detective Maria Mendoza. Hoo boy. She worked alongside a gang leader for a quick buck, killed the Colombians who were the middlemen for Freeze's "last job", framed him for a double murder he didn't commit, and killed Lester Williams (a fellow Las Ruinas police officer).
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Shaun has nothing but contempt for law enforcement, yet even he was visibly shocked to see Maria kill Lester.
  • Frame-Up: Mendoza's specialty. She frames both Freeze and Shaun for murders they didn't commit; Freeze for killing the two Colombians who he was supposed to do a deal with, and Shaun for killing Officer Williams after the former blabbed about their business dealings.
  • Gangbangers: The 22nd St. D-Boys are primarily African-American, but they also have Hispanic and white members. Calderon in particular is a gang leader, while Freeze is a drug dealer who wants out.
  • Gun Porn: 25 to Life has a wide variety of firearms available to the player, ranging from simple .38 revolvers and 9mm pistols to LMGs, anti-materiel rifles, and anti-tank weapons.
  • Guns Akimbo: The game handles dual wielding in an odd way. Rather than allowing you to pick up a copy of a weapon, dual weapons are treated as a weapon variant and marked with "2X" in their name.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Shaun. In one cutscene, he shoots and kills two patrons after an argument with someone over the phone.
  • Harder Than Hard: The appropriately named OMFG! difficulty. Good cover, hostages, and extreme caution will be your best friends.
  • New Game Plus: Get far enough in the story, and earlier levels are marked with a "+". These versions provide the player character with weaponry that is superior to what they normally start with. For example, Warehouse starts Freeze off with the 2X 9MM Semi. In the Plus version, he gains an AK and some frag grenades.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Las Ruinas, the city where most of the game is set, is pretty much Los Angeles under a different name.
  • No-Gear Level: Downplayed. Prison starts off with Freeze unarmed, although he acquires a melee weapon shortly after he leaves his cell.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: For a street gang, the 22nd Street D-Boys are alarmingly well-equipped; AKs are a common sight, more than a few members wear body armor (not that it helps them), and one guy in particular, a banger by the name of "J-Dub", even owns a LAW, of all things. This gets lampshaded by Lester late into Subway.
    "Where the hell do they get firepower like that?"
  • Ominous Legal Phrase Title: The game's named after the indeterminate life sentence usually reserved for firearms-related homicide.
  • Prison Riot: Chapter 4 starts off when a violent uprising fueled by mistreatment occurs in the Hellhole Prison known as the Crazy Horse State Penitentiary. Freeze uses this as the perfect opportunity to escape.
  • Product Placement:
    • From time to time, you'll see vending machines that dispense Vitamin Water.
    • The game shills pretty hard for CRUNK!!!, as advertising can be found on billboards, banners, and the vending machines that don't dispense Vitamin Water.
    • One of the primary objectives for the Mall level is to get a fresh change of clothes from a Dr. Jay's store.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Freeze wants to leave the D-Boys for the sake of his girlfriend and son. Shaun sets him up with a bogus "last job" that eventually gets him sent to prison.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: There are two types available to the player: The Sawed-Off Shotgun, a lupara with an odd two-round burst, and the Stubby Shotgun, a pump-action that appears to function identically to the Shotgun LE. In the multiplayer, both weapons are exclusive to the Criminals.
  • South of the Border: Chapter 3 takes place in Tijuana after Maria runs Shaun out of town. His end-goal while in Mexico is to take control of the Saragosa Cartel and accumulate power for himself.
  • Time Skip: Chapter 4 takes place two years after the failed Bank Robbery in Downtown.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Monica never appears again after Freeze gets busted. Judging by Shaun's words before you fight him, it's implied he killed her.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Heads can be destroyed with sufficiently powerful weapons.