Overview: Crack Down (not to be confused with Crackdown on 360, this game has no ties with that one) is an interesting twist on your typical over-head shoot-em-up. When I say interesting, I don't necessarily mean it in a good way. Now do not judge this game by my last sentence, I just wanted to make it clear that this isn't your run of the mill top down shooter where you go in guns blazing. Heck this game even has a storyline, and that is where I will start.
An Artificial Life System was created in the beginning of the 21st century (yeah, you can tell this is an oldy). Apparently they creator of this ALS is an evil leader who is guiding them to conquer Earth. The Federal Government (as we know forced to save Earth) orders two of its Special Service Agents, why only two I will never know, to destroy all enemy bases by using a new kind of timed bomb.
Basically in this game your duty as one of these two SSA's is to infiltrate enemy bases with these new bombs and plant them at strategic locations already displayed by your HUD (Head-Up Display) with a very handy map. Along the way you will be greeted by some of the opposing forces, erm, forces which you can either avoid or attack.
This game, even on Easy, was quite difficult. In fact it's probably why so few played this game, because part of the reason why this game is so difficult is its sometimes absurd controls and impossible situations, one instance of which you will run into on stage 2.
Use everything to your advantage. Use the map to plan strategic routes, use walls to escape fire and sneak up on your enemies, and use your speed to outrun the weaker enemies. Do whatever it takes to stay alive, and destroy this evil doer for good!
Though I think the time, 3 weapon play, stealth-like action and wall crawling is neat, it really doesn't feel fleshed out and ends up becoming a jumbled mess. Other games at the time were doing better, some even before, and it seems like Sega had all the right ideas, but just couldn't figure out how to implement them properly. Had this game come out later, it probably would have been better.
Despite the negativity of the controls, this game remains pretty slick and keeps you on your toes and brain. Each stage adds new twists, new difficulties. It was creatively put together with some not too shabby graphics for when it was released. The sound is similar to any other Genesis game. The Genesis never had great gun sounds, and this game proves it, but the music is great as in most, and the two combined really save this game from the pit of forgotten games.
If you're bored and have played every shooter and are looking for something where MGS or even Splinter Cell may have gotten a bit more inspiration, then bring along a bud and try this one out. Really it's worth the try just to see what Sega had in their heads and where it could have gone.
I give Crack Down the decency of a 6.5 out of 10
Directions: Play as one of the SSA's finest, and take down the evil controller by placing timed bombs at the designated spots on your map. Plant each bomb on the red X'es, and high-tail it out of there before the building goes boom!
Like I said, this isn't very run of the mill and has some pretty interesting features and ideas for a game of its time. Though the storyline is as dull as a pebble, at least it gave you a reason to enter an enemy base with nothing more than timed bombs, limited Super Grenades, M. Gun, and a Cannon. Scrapping the story would have really just made this game seem pointless. As lame as it is, it manages not to kill this game entirely, and after a little bit of practice, this game even ends up being a little fun. Let me elaborate.
First off, this game screen is certainly unique compared to most other games. In a way it deeply reminds me of Bonanza Bros., another Sega game, possibly by the same people. Your screen is essentially split into 3 sections. Game play, where all the action is. Enemies, listing the enemies of the stage and what their abilities are. And HUD, displaying your S. Bombs, Cannon, and M. Gun ammo, lives remaining, a Map where red dots display key locations, and the timer showing you how much time you have remaining. The timer is the most interesting part about this game. In order to complete a stage, you must set all the Timed Bombs at their destinations and escape the building before time runs out. This is not such an easy task with constant enemy forces facing you, and the game gives you very limited, tight corridor combat.
It also has an element of stealth (albeit very crappy) and strategy, which doesn't tend to be so bad. As I mentioned, combat is in tight corridor where you can shoot one of two weapons, both same speed, one a bit more powerful. Killing an enemy can be frustrating, trying to figure out if the bullet is yours or not in such a tight place. For close range, at least you can melee, but many enemies are faster to the draw than you. Your one defense is to go around an enemy or get flat against a wall, both of which don't always help. One, some enemies can go against or shoot a whole wall and two, running can lead you into further trouble. It doesn't help that your shooting isn't exactly the greatest. While against a wall you can't shoot enemies in the middle of the floor or across from you, and vice versa. This can make things incredibly frustrating.
Strategy ends up being your best policy, but with such terrible controls and lousy shooting, you may not want to give the time up to even figure out a strategy, and even if you did, a random popped up enemy could spoil it all for you.
Be quick, be alert, and be vigilant. The faster you plant the bombs, and the more enemies you kill, the higher the score. For every second you make it out alive after the bombs have been planted, you will earn some major bonus points. Take out the biggest of the baddies and earn even more!