Crime Cities is an excellent cyberpunk action game that deserves to be considered one of the best. This excellent game takes the atmosphere of The Fifth Element and adds a touch of Grand Theft Auto 3, although the gameplay is a bit similar to Descent -- this is only using previous games (and a movie :P) as points of reference though. Crime Cities excels on so many levels it's amazing! If you happen to be a fan of those games, I recommend skipping this review and clicking that buy link. This game deserves to be SO MUCH better known then it turned out to be. Unfortunately, poor marketing and lack of a well known publisher (or developer) caused it to be overshadowed by the better known games. |
Brief description of the storyline and gameplay as quoted off the old official page follows: "Once planetside, Garm, alias Johnny Red, effectively becomes a gun for hire within this lawless society, exactly what the Human Federation had planned. At the start of the game he is equipped with a small yet highly maneuverable flying combat craft, plus a small amount of credits in his bank account. In Crime Cities, missions are offered to Garm via his GloAdam Hartleyet computer and can be accepted or turned down at the player's discretion. Objectives include such activities as elimination of targets, search and rescue and bodyguard roles, with some of these having to be completed in a specific time.
All of the action takes place from the flying craft as you dogfight your way through each city's myriad of skyscrapers. Correctly identifying targets as you fly through the dense traffic is critical, launch an attack on a neutral pilot by mistake and the police will soon be on your tail. And remember, they are unaware Garm is undercover and have orders to shoot to kill. Successful completion of a mission results in various rewards such as money - with which you can upgrade your craft and an improved standing within the criminal fraternity. This increased credibility will lead to better missions being offered and hence quicker movement up the criminal hierarchy and the eventual goal of uncovering the criminal mastermind."
Crime Cities' graphics are very good, but made somewhat worse by the limited fog distance (the option didn't change this at all!). There's loads of pyrotechnics, lots of sparks, a very well done lens flare effect (even if they are hexagons), and the Fifth Element meets Blade Runner atmosphere really shines: loads of flying cars, lots of neon lights... There are detailed facial graphics for all the characters (not that you actually see them in person, all the interaction is done via email)
The gameplay is very good, basically Descent in a big city, with lots of flying cars you can shoot down (although you get the law after you if you do so). When you're completing missions, some of the formerly neutral cars become enemies, and are suddenly out for your butt! Some of the best parts of the combat is the city environment and trying not to shoot down civilian cars (well, you can, but it is bad enough with terrorists against you without the police!), not to mention weaving in and out of buildings. Urban dogfights are excellent if done right, and Crime Cities does them right! Missions are basically a combination of underground and police missions, and depending on how you do, advance the story in different ways.
Unfortunately, I had some technical difficulties at the start. The game crashed to desktop on start-up (the intro worked, but after that and the main menu (and loading screens), nothing) I found that I had to turn off sound. I was happy at first (to get it running) but this greatly annoyed me (I am a game music nut!) so I tried having Winamp play my MP3 collection in the background. This was successful, and also was one of my greatest gaming moments of late!
Overall, Crime Cities is an excellent game, and, at its current price, is a no-brain purchase. 3 thumbs up! err, waitasec... anyways, i give it a 9.5 out of ten, could have been a ten if not for the extremely close fog distance. Reviewed by: Sakura