Game Review Data
Game Title
Starsky and Hutch
Empire Interactive
1 Player. Battery Save.
Mission Based Driving
Andrew Blanchard



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Starsky and Hutch is but one of the growing number of 70's TV shows that's seeing a revival, thanks to cable and satellite re-runs. Just like Charlie's Angels, Starsky and Hutch will also appear on the big screen sometime in 2004 with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson filling the title roles. Before then, however, let's check out the GBA version of this Starsky and Hutch game.

Screen Shots


Although there are a handful of ways to actually enjoy Starsky and Hutch, there's only one route initially, as everything else has to be unlocked via the Story Mode. This takes you though six episodes split up into chapters whose variety is impressive and occasionally very inventive. They include the usual stuff like racing from point 'A' to 'B' and avoiding henchmen but others present a slightly different and sometimes very difficult challenge.

One involves you attempting to deliver evidence to the court house whilst being pursued by two hostile vehicles. If one of them manages to actually hit you, you lose a piece of evidence and have to backtrack to pick it up again. It also doesn't help that this is against a timer and every collision appears to drain your health. Better still, is a section where you must switch on all the stadium lights in order to attract the police helicopter while being pursued by enemy cars.

Completing the game means you can access all the other options and whilst the 'Cruise Mode' simply involves driving around the three city maps available, there are also some six mini games to sample. These are essentially sections from the main story but the results can be entered into a high score chart and this makes them much more enjoyable and highly re-playable.

The best is the 'Downtown Dash', where you race three other vehicles across the city in the fastest time. The only downside is that you can't share data with your friends and there's no two-player mode available. Thankfully, the developers did have the foresight to include a battery back-up.


Taking to the wheel of one of the many vehicles available is surprisingly easy and once you've mastered the all-important 'power slide' you'll be racing around the city streets with great ease. That's it really and everything else is very responsive, with the shoulder buttons allowing you to shoot at the criminals and produce a 'rear view'. The latter is especially useful when you're being chased and rammed by the various henchmen who do everything in their power to stop you reaching your destination. Finally, the various menu systems are simple and intuitive, allowing you to enter one of the many mini games or continue a saved session with great ease.


I have to say that the first screens that were released earlier in the year did not put Starsky and Hutch straight onto my 'must have' list. It has to be remembered though, that those were beta screens and the final game is considerably improved in the visual department.

Like other GBA racing titles, the environment is mostly constructed of a 'Mode-7' map layout but it's the various props that make up the city that sets this title apart. Some areas makes you feel as though you're actually driving around a large built up metropolis with absolutely no compromise in frame rate. Most impressive though are the various cut screens, which take their inspiration from the home console versions. These have a kind of cel-shaded comic book effect and do a wonderful job of capturing the feel of the original series.

Sound & Music

Things kick off with a wonderful sample of the original theme but unfortunately, it's on a very short loop as is most of the incidental music in the game. The sound effects are well above average with crashes and the noise of tyres skidding across the road captured to perfection. A little on the disappointing side though are the various vehicle engine noise which all sound remarkably similar and much like a vacuum cleaner on full power than an eight cylinder engine.

Final Comments

If you've been disappointed by the recent batch of mission based driving titles like Crazy Taxi and Simpson's Road Rage, then Starsky and Hutch will probably satisfy your 'high speed' needs. The game is longer, better looking and considerably more immersive than its predecessors and while it takes its inspiration from the more advanced Game Cube version, it's still a very entertaining romp in its own right.

The lack of a multiplayer mode is a shame though, as playing either cops or robbers in a head to head bout could have been highly entertaining. Still, as a single player game, Starsky and Hutch is one of the best around at the moment and although occasionally tough, it's never impossible and always great fun.

@ EAGB Advance 2002. All rights reserved.