Boring GTA knockoff sets new depravity low.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game's heroes are corrupt cops as whose drug use is an essential part of their success


You can kick, punch, and shoot criminals and innocents alike. Heads get blown completely off the head when hit with a sniper shot. Corpses remain in pools of blood.


The game features prostitutes (although only kissing is shown).


Colorful language is not only said but printed out on the screen so you don't miss anything.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The game revolves around drug use, including marijuana, LSD and crack.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this game is truly for adults only -- and even then it's not much fun to play. The star rating given this game is based on quality of gameplay within this genre and not an endorsement of the violence in the game.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

Based on an arcade classic from the late-'80s of the same name, the new version of NARC is nothing like its predecessor. Two big-city narcotics agents travel from the United States to China to stop the spread of a new street drug called Liquid Soul, negotiating their way through street pushers, prostitutes, and petty thugs. As the cops shoot their way through metropolitan locations in both countries, they struggle to stop the K.R.A.K. organization from spreading its new drug.

Players must decide when it's okay to cross lines of police decorum and the law. Behavioral slips could lead to a loss of \"reputation points\" and the officers could be pulled off the case or kicked off the force. Both detectives are asked to take bribes and use drugs: Players can choose the righteous path, but some drugs actually improve performance. Players can become addicted and go through withdrawal; players unable to get through withdrawal black out, losing all weapons or collected evidence.

Is it any good?


Midway's NARC takes the shooter genre to a sad new low, introducing corrupt cops as the heroes and making drug use an essential part of their success. It has entertaining moments: The gun battles, though sad knockoffs of gunfights in past cop genre games, can get your blood pumping. The other plus is the soundtrack. Using classic crime movie themes like Curtis Mayfield's "Freddy's Dead" and "Pusherman," along with newer drug-based songs by Cypress Hill and DMX, the music is first-rate.

But not only is the game filled with unhealthy messages, it's pretty boring. The graphics are surprisingly average, with parts of the game too dark to see well, and players will be disappointed they can't explore more of the world here. The storyline is predictable, and gameplay seems like a bad Grand Theft Auto knockoff. The original version of the game is available here, but you have to unlock it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the controversy around this game and violent, gritty games in general. NARC has been banned in Australia; what do you think of that decision? Is that an infringement on free speech? Why or why not? The game makers defend the game saying that players have choices when faced with temptation. Do you think that's a fair argument? Games like GTA and NARC upset a lot of people; when would you say that the line has been crossed?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 2, Xbox
Available online?Not available online
Release date:March 23, 2005
Genre:Third-person shooter
ESRB rating:M for

This review of NARC was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 February 26, 2012

I've nothing to say.

Remember playing this last time on my PS2 but it sucked,sucked,sucked,sucked.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written byCamofrog April 9, 2008

Why is this even reviewed here?

I'll confess that I haven't actually played this game. But it cracks me up that it is even reviewed here. What part of an M-rated game called "Narc" implies that it's at all meant for kids? Same with Grand Theft Auto and lots of stuff on here. If you need a website to tell you this game is inappropriate for your little angels than I suspect you need to brush up on your parenting skills. This site reminds me of the preachers who buy and read porno mags to "make sure" that they are showing naked girls. Yep -- them's naked girls, all right! Don't you dare look at these filthy magazines!


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Special Needs Guide