Back in 2002, a developer called Bunkasha that I’ve curiously never heard of dropped the game “Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions” for the original Xbox. The car physics and nature of the collisions made Wreckless a flash in the pan for the beginning of the Xbox. What stood out from Wreckless and how does it fair today? Let’s save our city by causing one billion dollars in property damage in this Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions review!
Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions Plot:
Wreckless features two different storylines. The first follows two policewomen who are your typical cute Japanese girls who seem innocent but try and act tough. Their missions involve following the Yakuza around and stopping the crime organization. Some of their missions involve delivering blood packs to a hospital, surviving a demolition derby from the Yakuza, chasing down Yakuza cars, and taking down the crime boss on top of a building. You do all of these missions from your cars, so it’s not like you are fighting the boss in hand-to-hand combat, you are literally ramming his car off of a 50-story building. The policewomen, who I don’t remember their names act silly in most situations during the cut scenes like getting upset over spilled pudding or pointing their guns at the wrong guys, they seem like your stereotypical police fools albeit they are cute.
The second story revolves around two undercover spies who are working to bring down the Yakuza for the police chief. If you thought the policewomen were incapable, wait till you see these guys. These goons are straight from a cartoon with their dumbfoundedness one-liners and over-the-top dialogue. It doesn’t help that one is a towering man with a little boy bowl hair cut and the other looks like the Japanese version of Austin Powers. Not saying that either pair of characters are stupid, just that they are very much “video game” characters, which is a good thing. The second set of missions has you crashing food stands, taking photos of the crime lord on his yacht, and smashing your car into a rocket ship before it can take off.
Each story ends with both sets getting small recognition for their efforts in bringing down the Yakuza.
Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions Gameplay:
Wreckless could be straight from the arcade with its Crazy Taxi feel. The car damage sticks out immediately, and I remember at the time of Wreckless coming out that the damage was one of the selling points. Most of the environment is destructible too with fences, poles, food carts, and some hidden walls breakable.
All the missions are timed, but the time limit is usually generous. I was able to beat almost all the missions on the first try. Out of the twenty missions available, there were probably only four that I had to replay with two of them having to replay more than ten times. The missions were challenging but fair, I knew I’d be able to beat them if I kept practicing.
Wreckless is a short game, you only have twenty missions to complete and you can do it within two hours if you know what you’re doing. I was able to complete the game over two days, so the difficulty isn’t very high although I had the difficulty setting on normal and the traffic setting on “light”. I’m sure it becomes much more difficult if you are on hard with heavy traffic.
Each story comes with numerous cars that you can unlock during missions, which I found to be a fun bonus. The policewomen start with a small police vehicle that looks like it’d roam the mall parking lot and dune buggy. The spies start with a British taxi and a jeep. You will quickly unlock the speedster car which is some type of convertible. The spy sports car looks like the car from Back To The Future although I’ve never watched those movies. Once you defeat the crime lord for each story you’ll unlock their car that may be the fastest of the bunch although they are near impossible to control at such high speeds. There are also two tanks, one looks like a police tank and the other is a literal tank that shoots missiles. That can get fun real quick!
One thing that is lacking from Wreckless that would boost its score would be a casual driver feature. It’s so much fun driving through the streets and causing mayhem during missions it’d be nice to have that option while you don’t have to worry about time or some objective. I’m quite surprised that feature is not included.
The most bizarre mission was when the spies had to stop stolen plutonium from being shot into space, so first, you had to steal the key cards to the space station and then launch your car into the space rocket to sabotage the lift-off. Most missions were light-hearted and didn’t take themselves too seriously. The cut scenes have not aged well, and when I saw the policewomen running I laughed out loud. They were in slow motion, as their legs looked like they were struggling to move forward. Hilarious.
I remember playing Wreckless for the first time in a hotel room when I was with my stepdad and mom. The Xbox had just come out and my stepdad bought it for me knowing he’d probably get on my good side. (It worked) and I played it for a few hours in the hotel room while they went to dinner or shopping. Causing all the car crashes and wreaking havoc on the street was fun but I remember thinking the missions were tough at the time. I was in fifth grade at the time and could beat the first few missions but that was it. If only Wreckless came with a free mode to drive around, I would have played it for hours and hours. I didn’t play it much after the hotel room. It wasn’t until last week when I dug out my Xbox that I threw it in and reviewed it.
Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions Review Score:
Wreckless is a great arcade game but it’s on a console. The action is fast-paced, and the controls are decent. I do have some minor complaints about steering but was able to make due. The car damage was fantastic and is still realistic for the most part. In my opinion, the game is too short, but I like the unlockable cars, they just really needed to include a casual mode where you can drive around for fun!
Wreckless scores a 6.9 out of 10.
What would you write in your Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions review? What did you think of Wreckless when it first came out? What was your favorite vehicle to drive? Did you have a favorite mission or was it too tough to beat? Let me know your thoughts and memories of Wreckless, I’d love to read them!