Theres something I
really like about games where you have to save people instead of killing them. I feel like
a nobler, better person when Im putting out fires instead of starting them. City
Crisis is a game that appeals to a persons inner Samaritan and seeks to make helping
others entertaining. I want to shower praise on this game for trying to bring out the good
in gamers, but I have to be honest when I say that good deeds just arent as much fun
(at least in this game) as blowing up a lot of really big buildings. I hate to say this,
but give me the demolition crew of Blast Corp over the rescue team of City Crisis any day.
Dont get me wrong, its not that I dont think a good game can be made out
of doing good deeds, but this game isnt it.
The premise of the game is fairly
straightforward. Youre a helicopter pilot in an unusually fire prone city who has to
fly to the various crises and rescue citizens stranded amidst the towering flames. You
lower your co-pilot down on a wench to save men, women and pets. After securing the safety
of those at risk, you need to put out the fires with your water canons and retardant
missiles before the buildings explode causing even more damage to the city. There is also
a chase mode where you aid police by keeping your spotlight trained on criminals as they
blaze through the city with reckless abandon.
I really enjoyed the game the first time I played it, but my enjoyment quickly
diminished when I realized that the game consisted of doing the same simple tasks over and
over again. To the games credit, the levels are quite expansive with lots to do.
However, youve only got a handful of helicopters to choose from (three with an
additional one to unlock) and only a few levels to play through. After the first few
saves, the game starts to feel tedious. Ive always imagined that there is a certain
level of tedium in any job no matter what the stakes, and City Crisis has confirmed it.
The graphics are just fine. The game looks very clean and the fires are perfectly
adequate. The animations for panicky civilians is a little sloppy but forgivable. There
are a couple of nice details in this game that were totally unexpected when considering
how average most of it seems. I really enjoyed some of the details put into animating a
few of the background areas. There is an amusement park in the center of town with a
roller coaster going full force and a massive pirate ship swinging back and forth.
The controls are straightforward and take little time mastering. Theres
really very little sense of accomplishment when executing a rescue because none of them
seem all that difficult. When landing on a helipad, I found it really difficult to set my
helicopter down without taking any damage. I found this to be totally inconsistent with
everything else about the game.
Its amazing how much you can tell about a game from its menu screens. Not only
are they poorly laid out, but they are really quite static. Theres absolutely
nothing about the menus that gets you excited to play the game. And the music is
guaranteed to annoy you to no ends.
City Crisis feels like a really fun mini-game. If this had been imbedded in a
bigger game where you play a demolitions expert or an arsonist, I would have devoted an
entire paragraph to what a pleasant diversion it was to take a break from engulfing sky
scrapers in flames and trying to save a couple of people. When I saw that this was a Take
2 game, I just assumed that they were introducing a series of budget priced games for the
PS2. At 20 bucks it might be a nice diversion, but when you consider that you can get GT3
for the same price it feels like theres something wrong in the universe.
You may be asking yourself why I even gave this game three stars. I like the fact that
some game makers are willing to break with the "if it moves then kill it"
mindset, and I think that this would be a fairly entertaining game for younger kids (a
demographic that PS2 publishers have all but ignored up till now), but for the rest of us:
Rent it. Save some people for a change and feel good about yourself for a few minutes. Be
warned: that warm feeling swelling up in your chest wont last much longer than this
game and thats not long enough.