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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Origin

Crusader: No Regret is Origin's sequel to its immensely popular Crusader: No Remorse. You play the role of an elite silencer who, having turned his back on the evil and powerful Consortium, now works for the Resistance. This game picks up where the last one leaves off, as you are found adrift in space in a rescue pod after blowing up the Vigilance Platform. And that's too bad for the guys on the Consortium spaceship that picks you up. Make no mistake, Crusader: No Regret is an improvement on the already pretty darn good original; it's longer, tougher, and has a plot, to begin with - but it's also an awful lot like the first game. The same third person perspective, the same sometimes jerky character movement, the same techno-industrial levels.

No problems loading or running the game on my Pentium 75 with 16 megs of RAM; though Origin claims 486s or machines with less than 16MB of RAM can handle the game, in my experience such machines have a real struggle keeping up.

The Look:
Crusader: No Regret is a good-looking game, especially if you like blowing stuff up. Like its predecessor, it lavishes loads of graphic attention on explosions, and they are truly wicked. You can limit the size of these babies to speed up play, but it doesn't really seem to make that much difference and is probably a bad trade-off anyway. On the other hand, the game's graphics are hampered by a unrelenting sameness. One level looks much like another. The same shipping containers and walls and floors and consoles show up in different configurations but without much variation. Add to this the fact that these levels look very similar to the ones in Crusader: No Remorse, and you've got a serious lack of personality. Beautiful, but what do you talk about?

Though it's still the same old shoot-everything-that-moves-and-most-stuff-that-doesn't game, Origin has made some significant advances in gameplay on the original. First, the game supports joysticks and gamepads now. That's good news for those who tired of the clumsy and complex keyboard commands one had to master to play the first Crusader. The bad news is that nothing has been done to make using the keyboard a less onerous task. This is problematic because the game is much tougher now. You could get by with awkward controls in the less-than-challenging Crusader: No Remorse; however, not but not with this monster. Even at the less difficult settings you will sooner or later run into a situation that will take many save-and-loads to finally negotiate, even without fumbling around for the right key combination.

On the other hand, your job is made easier by new weapons and help from your resistance buddies, who will periodically contact you to warn of traps ahead or fill you in on where to find health, ammo and weapons. They also keep you abreast of the plot, mostly through overacted full-motion videos. The new weapons are brutal - they allow you to freeze, melt and microwave your enemies. This makes for some interesting visual effects, but be careful - ammo is limited. Save this stuff for crunch time.

This isn't the most cerebral of games, even for a shooter. Mostly your job is to - as my son says - "go around shooting everything." Most of the puzzles can be solved by massed firepower, and apparently everything and everybody is a legitimate target - not only soldiers, but lab techs, executives, and secretaries. This can get a tad repetitive and doesn't exactly reward critical thinking.

Documentation for this game is a problem. Following a distressing trend in general, the manual is very weak. You may be puzzled by just what many of your weapons do, especially such items as spider mines (which I learned to guide only late in the game). Make sure you read the help files.

If you liked the first Crusader, you'll love this one. It has many of the same strengths - it's fast-moving, fun, and good-looking. On the other hand, it's pretty violent, a bit repetitive, and very difficult at the later levels.

--Rick Fehrenbacher