Unwilling to be trapped on the single island available at the start of the story, I rode the El to the end of its line, hopped off the platform and walked the tracks towards the roadblocked bridge across to Algonquin.
The sun was setting as I walked the boards to the sides of the tracks and I marvelled at the huge city spread before me, captured in amber by the dying sunlight. I could go anywhere there, anywhere I could see from this brige I could visit. I was almost there. I leapt to the footpath and contiued across the river.
It was true night when the first chopper arrived, circling me as I strode across the bridge and bellowing through a loudhailer to stay where I was or they would shoot. Me! An unarmed pedestrian against a helicopter gunship! Pfft.
So I did what one should always do in these situations – I ran. Ran like crazy. At the first sight of land beneath the bridge – Algonquin! At last – I vaulted the parapet, landing awkwardly on the concrete on-ramp. Sirens in the distance were getting nearer and nearer so more running – ankles ok there? – was necessary. A blind flight in unfamiliar territory, searching for a car. There’s one! Parked up, so smashed a window, hotwired it and drove.
By this point, of course, I’m hooting with laughter. I’ve never driven well and this was just insane. Police cars and riot vans piling in at all angles, the choppers taking potshots from above and no clue at all as to destination. I manage around three minutes of panicked pursuit before crunching into a wall, flying through the windscreen and coming to rest in a hail of gunfire.
And back to Dukes…
Frankly, it’s been the best five minutes I’ve had playing a videogame in a long time. It had everything – exploration, stunning visuals, a feeling of transgressing even the rules of the game itself, never mind the game-world’s rules, anticipation, excitement, on-the-fly problem solving and that final cathartic blow-out. I’ll soon be allowed on the island legitimately. Before that, maybe I should tool up and go again. See if I can take a few of them down with me…