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Developer: Takara OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Takara 1-2 Player
Game Type: Shoot-em-up Memory Card
Review Date: July 1998 Dual Shock Compatible

Setting the Scene

I'm sure many of you out there will remember the title that marked Williams 
return into the world of video games.  With gameplay derived from Robotron 
2084 and a theme inspired by the Running Man movie, Smash TV went down in 
history as one of those 'never to be forgotten classics'.  It had a game 
show theme and more violence than a Tarantino movie - Total Carnage!

I mention this because I could not get Smash TV out of my head all of the 
time I was play testing Crisis City, an import shooter from Takara.  Why 
this should be when the graphics are next generation, the camera angle is 
third-person (rather than top-down) and there's not a game show host in 
sight, is beyond me!  I think it had something to do with the fact that my 
thumb began to blister after barely an hours play, which is something that 
no other shooter since Smash TV has ever managed to do.


Crisis City plays unlike any other game I have experienced.  Visually it 
holds many similarities to Fighting Force but somehow manages to retain that 
arcade 'feel' which is sadly lacking from many modern-day shoot-em-ups. The 
result is a darn good, old fashioned blaster that has been buffed up with a 
tin of 32-bit High Gloss polish.


Crisis City begins with a neat, although slightly grainy, little intro.  
It is set in a style that is normally reserved for the opening of a movie 
in the cinema as the credits slowly roll over the CG trailer.

Thankfully this grainy look has been filtered away to leave a rather 
impressive graphical extravaganza.  Rather than being generated by the 
game, all of the backgrounds have been pre-rendered in a style similar 
to Resident Evil 2.  This means that the console pulls the scenery 
directly from the CD and then draws each polygon character over the top.

Rather than use big chunky polygon characters the developers have sensibly 
made them possible contestants for Slimmer of the Year.  Most of the guys 
are sleek and trim while all the gals are far too slim but at least it 
keeps the frame rate up high, which is essential in a frantic action 
shooter such as this.

Enemies appear in many guises and range from human snipers to heavily armed 
robots.  During many levels an assailant may leap into a passing car and 
then proceed to ram the hell out of your character using their bumper bar.  
Occasionally a bus or a passing oil tanker may be targeted and an accurate 
wheel-shot will see it lose control, tumble down the road and then smash 
into the enemies barricade.  The resulting effect from the explosion makes 
your eyes flinch a little due to the blinding glare emitting from the screen.

Sounds and Effects

The music and sound effects are fairly decent, nothing extraordinary but 
relatively well done.  The background tunes are simply just that while 
there are very few effects other than a non stop barrage of shooting and 


Regarding the gameplay, I just wonder if developers now have the Analog 
control pad specifically in mind when programming the game controls?  I 
ask this because, not for the first time, I noticed that the left stick 
directs the player around the scenery perfectly while the directional 
buttons seem a little off centre.  Switching between both options I was 
amazed that occasionally while trying to walk straight forward using the 
directional buttons I had to jointly press both left and up.  Crisis City 
is also Dual Shock compatible for those requiring their daily dose of 
good vibrations.

All of the remaining pad buttons can be configured to facilitate the eight 
action and commands required to play the game.  These include: 
  * an extremely useful crouch motion which is essential to avoid 
    incoming fire when things get a little hectic, very Time Crisis, 
  * an action button that launches your character into a forward roll, 
  * I would definitely recommend that you keep the target lock 
    switched on.  This automatically locks onto the nearest target, 
    working in a similar way to Tomb Raider.

With three different difficulty setting and three modes of play I couldn't 
grumble about the lastability value of Crisis City.  Time Attack allows 
you to choose any of the seven game characters and romp through a selection 
of levels at lightning pace.  Each character is rated A, B or C with a bar 
scale highlighting their personal strengths and weaknesses.  Comparable to 
the best beat-em-ups they are all remarkably dissimilar to control therefore 
each will provide a unique challenge in their own right.  Some move extremely 
swiftly but may only carry a hand pistol while others are a little slower 
off the mark but are packed with high-power weapons of destruction.

Versus Mode is your typical beat-em-up, one vs one, battle to the death.  
Taking place in an enclosed arena two of the selectable fighters enter into 
a gun battle where not necessarily the person with the biggest weapon comes 
out on top.  Scattered around each arena are a number of obstacles that may 
be used for cover therefore speed of movement becomes a great leveler.

The final game style involves selecting your preferred character and then 
setting off on an enduring adventure in Story Mode.  You are allowed 99 
seconds to complete each of numerous screens where there are several enemies 
to eliminated before the exit is revealed.  Sometimes the baddies may 
constantly regenerate therefore quick thinking is required to discover the 
whereabouts of the exit.  Any obstacles standing in your way may be slowly 
destroyed by constant firing of your gun or taking the quick fix which 
involves lobbing a few of your limited grenades.  After completing each 
level you must face one of the remaining selectable characters in a battle 
to the death.  Reach the end and you will face your twin brother.  Should 
you die then the game offers unlimited continues but you must return to 
the start of a level.

Value for Money

The action runs at a constant frantic pace and the only time you 
can rest your weary trigger finger is if you pause the game.  If you were 
a fan of the old style arcade shoot-em-ups such as Smash TV then why not 
check out this next generation blaster.  But I warn you... pump up those 
finger muscles first.
GRAPHICS: 16/20 I wasn't really looking forward to ploughing through Crisis City but once the ball got rolling I couldn't put the control pad down.

There is something about these types of games that makes me want to keep playing right until the final credits and this title proved no exception.

Once I defeated the game with one of the selectable characters (about two-three hours play time) I was quite surprised that playing again with another offered a totally fresh challenge. This was mainly down to their individual weapons and speed that they reacted.
SOUND: 6/10
VALUE: 17/20


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