|Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review|
|A.P.I Review:||CRIME KILLER|
No.1 No.2 No.3
|Game Type:||Arcade Driving/Shooter||Memory Card|
|Review Date:||June 1998||Analog Compatible|
Setting the Scene
In the near future a petrochemical industry giant develops a bacterial strain to be used in the breakdown of chemical waste materials. Releasing the bacteria into a test batch, the project exceeds all expectations and the materials are converted into harmless, biodegradable compounds. Large farms are set up all around the country and soon they become a leading figure in the world of recycling. Suddenly, after six months of profitable business, bizarre events are reported from several farms when it is discovered that the bacterial strain is mutating. After a period of observation it is noted that the mutagen is air-borne and is feeding on - petroleum. One year later the mutagen had devoured all of the fuel and petrol sources across the land leaving piles of rusting automobiles lining the cities. Oil related businesses have crashed and rival corporations moved in to take advantage of this sudden shift in power. A number of countries reaped great profits by selling electrically powered vehicles and devices. In the ground zero city, the crime level began to rise drastically. In defence, the police discovered that they were able to buy in from outside investors all manner of vehicles and weaponry to aid their fight as crime killers. One corporate power in particular took an interest in the dwindling force and purchased a large proportion of the city, including the Law. Providing them with vehicles and hardware, the corporate entity, calling themselves the Uriel Consortium, asked only that the Police Department once again provide justice in a rapidly falling social structure. And the occasional favor, when asked. Now, on the first eve of the 'petrol bug's' ravaging of the land, the City Police Department once again rolls out onto the streets.
Crime Killers is a mission based game that combines the excitement of a great racer with the tension of a quality shooter. Three modes of police transport eventually become available - a patrol car, motorcycle and a 'Wing' aircraft.
No game is worth it's value on the intro sequences alone but the opening CG movie to Crime Killers sits proudly up there with the best seen on PSX. It portrays the tragic downfall of Officer Wade, the father of upcoming rookie traffic cop Officer 88, and his bid to clean up the crime ridden streets of his hometown. The mission story has been rendered in 3DS Max while all other movies were created in Lightwave 5, the same software used in Babylon 5, Startrek TNG, DS9, Milleniumand the X-files. It's all immaculately presented featuring high-quality rendered animation and serves well to set the scene. On loading up the opening level my first impression was that the graphics were of a standard that could be compared to the Twisted Metal series of games. Smooth textured highways enclosed by high rise concrete buildings provide an altogether bleak and moody atmosphere similar to those presented by the Blade Runner and Batman movies. Although the levels are varied they all follow this gloomy vision that the cities of the future will be dingy and buildings predominantly constructed from concrete slabs. Then again, perhaps this style of vision is easier to animate. The city is alive with gliding polygon vehicles that can be shunted or destroyed during your quest to run down the bad guys. A single collision with the smaller 'family' car will see it spiral out of control, burst into flames and then explode into a mass of flying car parts before evaporating into the atmosphere. Larger vehicles will more than likely taint the appearance of your squad car. Your will be pleased to discover that your patrol car bares a sporty design (reminded me of a TR7) colored in traditional police blue with yellow flashes. Brake lights glow when applied while siren and flashing lights may be activated when the chase begins. There are two views which are close up tight behind your patrol vehicle and in-car mode. Both are acceptable and feature a dash board that displays your current status. When viewing from behind the car the camera view tends to have a slight delay in realigning itself when a handbrake turn is applied, preferring to view your vehicle side on for a few seconds before moving back in line. This can be a little frustrating during a high tension chase, especially when the vehicle in pursuit keeps spinning around and heading back towards you.
Sounds and Effects
The music that accompanies this high speed chase game compliments the action superbly. Most are a selection of up-tempo techno tunes, created by Daren Mahomed and Martyn Walsh; ex-Inspiral Carpets, which can be individually chosen by using the in-game options menu. My personal favorite is the lead track, Crime Killer, which reminded me of that aging police detective series Starsky and Hutch. The vehicles all have that soothing electronic sound which has been roughed up a little by incorporating the noise of screeching tyres, crunching collisions and a regular interruption from headquarters via the police radio. All in all, the sounds serve their purpose.
The one disappointing aspect of Crime Killers is that you don't get to select the police vehicle of your choice in the single player game. The different modes of transport become available as you progress through the missions. I suppose the reason for this is that it will keep you interested throughout the fifteen levels, but I'm sure everyone will have their own personal favorite. First up is the Patrol Car. You are allowed a short time to familiarize yourself with the vehicles handling which, because of it's front wheel drive, should not take very long to get used to. Each has a special move which can be activated by pressing the correct face button and in this case is a 180° jack-knife turn. One you are ready for your first mission simply activate your scanner and if there are any reported crimes in your area, they will appear as targets on the dashboard radar. It is now simply a case of following the radar line and tracking down the criminal within the city boundary. Once in sight a red target surrounds their vehicle to clarify the offender and at this point they will probably turn tail and race off. It is now up to you to chase them through the busy network of city streets, blasting away with your weapons until sufficient damage has been caused to destroy your target. Driving the vehicle is fairly straightforward. Two face buttons are used to accelerate and brake while the directional pad, or analog stick, steers you left or right. Pressing and holding up with the directional pad starts a scan of the immediate area while the shoulder buttons fire standard and special weapons. The remaining shoulder buttons have important functions. Should a vehicle prove difficult to catch then a press of the Pursuit button sets the vehicles siren wailing and lights flashing while offering a short turbo speed boost. Sometimes it will be deemed too dangerous to chase around the busy streets with your guns blasting therefore a press of the non-violent Pacify button projects an ultra-low frequency sound at your target. This disrupts the vehicles electronic system and induces unconsciousness over the driver. After a few blasts the vehicle will slow down and stop allowing you to easily make your arrest without too much bloodshed. Each level requires a set number of missions to be successfully carried out before moving onto the next city. Respond to the police department's dispatch office from over 400 possible criminal acts, including; Drug busts, car- bombings, jail breaks, corporate defectors, missile attacks, shoot-out with bank robbers, pacifying smugglers, chase and destroy speeding vehicles, why even an illegally parked vehicle is blown to smithereens. As you progress not only do the missions become harder but alternative modes of transport are required. The Police Bike is an excellent vehicle to chase fast moving targets because of it's lightening acceleration. As soon as you receive your instructions from HQ it's wheelies up and throttle hard down. The final vehicle is the special Prototype Wing that performs stomach churning half-loop barrels. A further face button becomes operative with this craft allowing you to hover several feet above the road or swoop right down within inches of the road surface. Each vehicle is fitted with both passive weapons, standard guns and limited special weapons but take too many hits and your vehicle explodes into a ball of flame. Watch your health level, if it flashes red, you're dead!. Not only are you offered the standard single player mission game but Crime Killers includes further two player game modes when you take on a friend for a session of split screen police mayhem. There are two styles of game: 'race to win' Holo-Tag or 'shoot to survive' Deathmatch. Select from six city districts to race through or kill in, each with their own street systems and special hidden areas. Select from Bike Car or Wing for a wide spread of options as both styles of game allows you to modify them to your own choosing; win with a single kill or race against the clock with only a handful of seconds to spare.
Value for Money
So who exactly would Crime killers appeal to? If your taste in gaming involves past titles such as Auto Destruct and Twisted Metal then this is definitely worth checking out. It may not hit the graphical standards of Vigilante 8 but there's masses of gameplay to compensate.
Killers includes all those essential elements that go towards making a
successful arcade shooter. The graphics are bright and colorful and move
along at a commendable rate while the two player mode should keep you
occupied for quite some time.
If there is one slight fault it would be that although the missions are varied the objective remains the same - seek and destroy your target, but then that's what arcade shooters are all about.
The theme of Crime killers leads me to an interesting thought - the idea of linking two different games together. If that were possible then the combination of this and Grand Theft Auto would be a treat.