City Crisis Review
Take-Two/Rockstar started off on the right foot with its two PS2 launch titles, Smuggler's Run and Midnight Club: Street Racing. Smuggler's Run was a good, wholeheartedly fun title, which had only a few minor flaws. Midnight Club was the second best launch game the PS2 had to offer, while slightly lacking in the visual finesse, Midnight Club's -Midtown Madness- inspired gameplay offered a lot of challenge. Gamers would have to zigzag through miles and miles of New York's city streets, as well as London, England's treacherous road curves. The sense of speed was frivolous, and when Take-Two/Rockstar announced their plans for a sequel, along with Smuggler's Run, I was anxious to play these new puppies, but I would have to wait. In note to awaiting sequels for both aforementioned titles (not to forget Grand Theft Auto 3), I was curious of what Take-Two would roll out for the PS2 during the wait for their three blockbuster sequels. But as they say; "curiosity killed the cat." Prior to Take-Two releasing its latest PS2 title (not counting Rune), I had my fingers crossed that it wouldn't turn out to be another Surfing H3O, and that's when I wiped-out.
Completely demeaning the term "realistically modeled city," City Crisis is an embarrassment to whatever city it was modeled after. The PS2 will soon turn the big "1" in the US, and developers have managed to completely wipe out the aliasing and flickering issues with their games, well not Syscom. Sporting an awful case of jaggies, City Crisis is possibly the worst looking PS2 game thus far. The textures seem washed out, and lack any real attention to detail. Granted the buildings look decent, but far too many of them are alike or even the same. The helpless city folk whom you'll be rescuing don't look any better. Composed of rough looking PSOne-like polygons, City Crisis is a shabby looking game that isn't even worth mentioning as 1st generation PS2 material. Not even the rescue-chopper detail is splendid to look at, it's all just overly simplistic. It'd be wrong to say this is an ugly game. It's not. It's just that it's not up to PS2, or any next-gen standards for that matter.
When I first heard details of City Crisis, I instantly thought the concept of rescuing people via helicopter was a fascinating idea. But that fascinating idea turned into shambles, or what seems like it anyways. Honestly, the game isn't half-as bad as you'd think, but at the same time it is. The concept is to rescue people from burning buildings, or to help the police chase down a criminal on the loose, using vehicular transportation as his means of escaping the long arm of the law. By doing either, you will be awarded points and/or have extra time added to your clock, depending on how well a rescue is carried out. To help aid you in the rescue, your chosen helicopter will come equipped with a high gauge water sprout and ten water explosives. I'll admit their are times when the game could be entertaining but that's when you're just flying around, exploring the city and making landings on random buildings. But the rescue missions sometimes feel like a drag. Especially when your seating capacity runs out, and you can't drop your rescued passengers off, but there are 5 more people in need of rescuing, and then BOOM! The building explodes and for some reason you feel guilty. Even though there are other choppers with higher seating capacity, that still doesn't cut it.
City Crisis offers minimal replay value, very little mission variation is involved which is a drag, because a sweet stunt mode would have been an excellent addition, to a game that severely needs it. When it comes down to it all, you'll find yourself either, A) chasing down a criminal, or B) rescuing people from a fire. What made me really laugh was that the cover is missing the print "City Crisis" on the side of the case, so all is there is a black empty spot. Even the game is ashamed of its identity. Overall, if you wanna' try, rent before you buy.
Sadly their isn't much audio to speak off. From time to time you will hear a radio dispatcher giving you orders for your next mission or a pedestrian or two yelling for help, but that's about it. Nothing memorable, nothing even worth turning up your volume for. The audio feels very arcade-ish, the sounds are generic, nothing inspired or incredible. Just yells and a few everyday sound effects here and there. Nothing extraordinary here, actually this isn't even mediocre.
Perhaps the control system is refreshing as both analog sticks are used for exploration and maneuverability, but the camera positioning is off, way off! Just when you think you are at safe distance from a building, you end up ramming your tail straight into it, dealing your chopper some damage. Judging your location is like persuading a man to give up gold for a nickel, it's impossible. Sadly this plague is a sharp one, one that had an influence on the gameplay score of City Crisis.
In end City Crisis is no more than a budget title covering itself up in PS2 casing. I wouldn't recommend the game as a purchase, I hardly recommend it as a rental, but if you must, you must, so be it. From the Playstation quality visuals to the repetitive gameplay, City Crisis is a crisis to play. I suggest staying clear from the game, as it is another prime example of a Japanese game not meant for domestic release.
8/2/2001 Arnold Katayev