Dope Wars

Dope Wars

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DopeWars 2.1 – You Can’t Knock the Hustle

Mar 21, 2002 (Updated Mar 23, 2002)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Sound:
  • Learning Curve:
  • Replay Value:
  • Graphics:

Pros:Addictive gameplay.

Cons:Boring interface, included spyware?

The Bottom Line: All the fun of drug drealing without the "hassle" of bullets, blood, pain, prison, and murder!


I while back, I remember a news story about a PDA game called DopeWars being banned from handheld devices. I thought then, "how stupid, some Manhattan stockbroker wants to play like he's Eazy-E... that's crazy!" I switched the channel and forgot about it.

Then a few months ago, I saw mention of that game again on some website somewhere. Curious to see what the big deal was, I went to the DopeWars website, (www.dopewars.com) found a Windows version and downloaded it. After a few plays, I thought, “this game is so stupid.” The simplistic point-and-click interface of the gray game console was boring, graphics were just hand drawn still cartoons, there was no music to speak of, and the sound effects, though sometimes funny, were repetitive and plain. What a waste of a download.

And then I finally turned a profit.

That’s when DopeWars 2.1 from Beermat Software became one of the single most addicting video games I have ever experienced that did not use the terms “frag” or “shoryuken”. For this game you assume the role of a drug-dealer trying to earn a dishonest living in the city of your choice, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Johannesburg, etc. Your goal is to make as much money as possible within the allotted time limit and perhaps, if you’re lucky, survive the “grind.”

“Number eight: never keep no weight on you…”
Biggie was wrong with this line, at least in the DopeWars universe. In this game, you definitely want to keep as much product on you as possible, because your goal is to always be closing like Glenngarry Glenn Ross. You’ll walk the city streets with your coat filled to capacity with drugs, transferring from neighborhood to neighborhood with simple button clicks like any other Windows based program. As you become more successful in the “trade”, the game will offer you a chance to upgrade your jacket to a coat with more room for drugs. The more capacity you have, the more drugs you’re able to sell.

“Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M., get the money…”
You only have a small amount of capital when you first enter the game, so you definitely want to make a visit to your friendly neighborhood loan sharks as soon as possible. Pay attention though, each shark has different maximum loan limits, interest rates, and repayment schedules. Only choose the one that best suits your current financial needs. They do, however, all have the same penalty for non-payment: bodily injury. Keep as much cash as possible in your bank account so that it earns interest and keeps your butt out of a sling.

“They call me Desert Eagle, semi-auto with lead “
Guns are necessary tools of the trade of the urban drug dealer. Once you’ve got enough loot, hit the local store and get strapped. DopeWars 2.1 offers a wide assortment of weaponry for the up and coming street pharmacist. With the unregistered version, you can choose from an almost useless peashooter or a deadly banana-hurling monkey. Once you register, you’ll have a killer chicken added to your options. Whatever you decide, just remember: it’s a cold world out there; you'd better pack your own heat.

“Cracks in my palm, watching the long arm of the law”
Periodically throughout the game, you’ll find yourself being chased by Officer Hardass and a varying number of his deputies. You can lick shots at the cops if you’re armed and hopefully scare them away, but you’ll probably take some hits as well. You have the option to surrender (chump) and let the “man” arrest you, but you’ll lose your drugs and any dead presidents you’re carrying. Or, you can just turn tail and run hoping to ditch five-o in a back alleyway, but Hardass isn’t ashamed of putting a few holes in your back. Weigh your options and choose accordingly.

“Got you hospitalized, look how you end up, hooked up to a respirator, body all bent up.”
Throughout your adventures in the drug trade, you’ll repeatedly encounter bodily harm from loan sharks, muggers, and the boys in blue. Luckily for you, there’s always a hospital close by that will tend to your wounds, for a modest fee, of course. Just be careful, you might encounter a quack who jacks you for a kidney. Once you lose both of them, game over.

“Never sell no crack where you rest at...”
Don’t like dealing in New York or LA? Want to ignore Notorious B.I.G. and handle business in your local town of West Sticksville, USA? No problem. DopeWars 2.1 includes a city editor that allows you to put the different areas of your city in, so that you can move units in the familiar surroundings of your native lands. There’s no place like home, Dorothy.

Really, the only downside to DopeWars 2.1 is that the shareware version installs advertising software to your computer. When I installed the game, I was surprised to see that Gator and that @#$% Bonzi Buddy had somehow made it into my system even though I’m 99% sure I opted out of any extraneous software installs in the install wizard. I would recommend plunking down the extra five bucks and downloading the registered version just to avoid any potential spyware/adware/get-this-crap-off-my-system-ware problems. But other than that, you can’t go wrong with this game. Just remember, the game is to be sold, not to be told…

A WARNING: Kids are stupid, (sorry young uns, but it’s true. You’ll realize it when you’re older.) so you definitely don’t want little Johnny playing this game. Despite its light-hearted tone, this game is absolutely realistic enough to give little Billy ideas if he’s highly impressionable. As a result I highly recommend waiting until little Timmy is 18 before you let him dive into it.



Recommend this product? Yes


Version Played: Released
Operating System: Windows
CPU: Intel Pentium III
CPU Speed (MHz): over 600
RAM (MB): 128
Best Played With/Intended For: Single Player
Graphics Card Family: Other

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