Crack Down

It's all about risk versus reward in this game, which luckily works well all-round.

By Daavpuke, Posted 30 Jul 2010

Crack Down is a top-down action shooter, like a modern Gauntlet, released on Sega Mega Drive in 1990. Raise your hand if you thought this was going to be a recent Xbox 360 release. No no no young Bucky, the game industry has just lost its ingenuity to come up with original titles, like the movie industry before it. Soon enough Silent Hill will tell tales of an impaired lass trying to grow up in the rural, Midwest mountains and Gears Of War will be a battlemech tycoon simulator.

Anyway, the point to this story is the 90s cliché action flick. It's the 21st century and some evil person, called Doctor K., is trying to take over the world using cyborgs. Enter the government that sends a special taskforce, in the name of Ben and Andy, to save the world. To do so, they'll have to set up time bombs and then high tail it before the timer reaches 0. So the 21st century sees the technology of cyborgs, but no improvement on the field of time bombs; strange. It does set a premise for an action packed game though.

Once you've gone through the most horrible sound intro created by mankind, the game starts you off on the main action board. Though it's a rather unusual set-up, it feels sort of futuristic after some adjusting. The screen is arranged in 3 zones: In the left- lower corner you have the action screen with your agent in top-down view. Right next to that you have an info screen regarding the enemies in that act, which would otherwise stand as the second player's action screen. It seems laziness did create some original thinking to bypass the transition between players, although I would've settled for a bigger screen.

Above it all you'll find an overview map of the level, together with all the bomb placements. To each side of that, you'll have the player's weapons, ammo and lives. You'll only have access to 2 weapons and a superbomb throughout the game, but it will suffice to keep the action going.

The graphics aren't amazing and will sometimes make it hard to see if you're in danger or not, but they're not horrible once you figure it all out. Each act in each stage has a unique feel to it and is fun to discover. The top-down view works well enough, though it might cut view corners short here and there. And getting shot because you can't see something coming is always annoying. In particular, discerning bullets is rather hard sometimes and your reaction time to evade them is very minimal to start with. It adds a certain difficulty, but it's not all that welcome.

Controls are a bit swing and miss. Though they work well enough and some ideas are well thought off, the sensitive Mega Drive controller will let you swerve into bullets from time. Sticking to walls to avoid bullets is pretty cool, but the sensitivity might also land you in more trouble. The only real positive thing about the controls is that your agent can shoot in 8 directions, where as the enemy can only shoot in 4. This will give you a much needed edge on the competition and will be your go to in times of need.

The use of weapons is fairly redundant, since you'll always use yellow ammo once you get it. Also, using superbombs make the screen glitch and you can use that as an exploit to get over certain areas.

And you'll get tempted to do so, as some parts have a ridiculous difficulty curve. Most of the game is fun and challenging to play, but once a stage you'll find a impossible part to go through. For instance, you'll encounter an electric field where your moving and timing has to be micromanaged to succeed. Anything else than perfection leads to instant death and you'll have to retry from the start. And with the clock ticking regardless, this will lead to some insane situation.

Another problem is the graphical uncertainty of acts. If you're off by literally 1 pixel you'll be shot, hit or even fall down a hole with your character animation being on land. It will have you tippy toe around certain parts, but again with the timer you won't always get that option. It's all about risk versus reward in this game, which luckily works well all-round.

Luckily being an aesthetic issue, the biggest pitfall to the game is the sound. From the start on you'll notice this game will not have the most thrilling sound effects. From the distorted voice to the sharp firing noises to the ludicrous death sound; pretty much everything will sound awful. It's a notion that is all too common for the era of Mega Drive trying to be "cooler" than its Nintendo counterpart.

In all, the game does work well and is very fun to play, despite its minor flaws. After a short session of about 20-30 minutes, you'll have completed the game and can restart to do a better run, faster times or fewer deaths. If that's not enough, there's also ways to adjust the difficulty before starting up a game. And after that, you can also enjoy playing with 2 players, which can lead to hilarious situations. Also, the framerate drops considerably when playing together, making the game pace more friendly to complete. That is again another flaw that works well in the end.

Laziness really did work out well for Crack Down! I wish it did for yours truly as well.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed.

comments powered by Disqus

Related Review

  • 0

    Time Travel Tigers Review

    By Psylocke, Posted Mar 31, 2020

    Hop on the time machine and join Dr Tigerstein on his journey to the past or future in Yggdrasil’s Time Travel Tigers. Discover the details of Dr Tigerstein’s tim


View All

Popular Articles