The American Trade Organization has declared a State of Emergency. The player must join an underground crew to put this organization out of business; they must play as one of a selection of five characters who each have their own unique backgrounds.
State of Emergency was met with average to mixed reception. The game's strengths were considered to be the value for money as a budget title, the simplistic fun offered, the technical achievement of having hundreds of people running around on a modest system, and the satirical sense of humor. Weaknesses cited include gameplay that might be considered too simple, and a poor multiplayer mode on the PC. GameRankings and Metacritic gave the game a score of 70.44% and 71 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version; 64.54% and 67 out of 100 for the Xbox version; and 61.33% and 65 out of 100 for the PC version.
FHM gave the PS2 version a score of four stars out of five and called it "Manic, frenzied and violent gaming at its gripping best."The Cincinnati Enquirer also gave the same version four stars out of five and stated that "This new 'bad boy' of the video game industry is extremely fun to play — for those old enough and mature enough to purchase it — as a campy stress releaser at the end of a bad day." However, Maxim gave the same version a score of six out of ten and said, "Such virtual destruction may once have seemed innocent, but these days the whole thing hits a little close to home."Entertainment Weekly gave said version a C, saying, "Four levels are too few to stay interesting for all 175-plus missions, which are too bloody repetitive."The Village Voice gave the Xbox version a similar score of five out of ten and said, "In 'Revolution' mode—a series of nearly identical, frustrating mini-missions—the jackbooted thugs, now armed with pistols, make life much tougher. (Deeply flawed camera views don't help.) What's the point if you can't steal your family some diapers?"
A sequel, State of Emergency 2, was released in 2006. This game was again developed by VIS Entertainment ltd although after they became insolvent and went into administration the game was completed by DC Studios and was released by SouthPeak Interactive.