City Crisis

a game by Syscom Entertainment Inc.
Platform: Playstation 2
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 2 reviews
User Rating: 6.0/10 - 1 vote
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Overview

In the early days of video gaming, there was an arcade game by the name of Choplifter that had a fairly simple premise -- jump into the cockpit of a military helicopter, fly around, shoot the bad guys and rescue the good guys. Simple premise notwithstanding, it was a 2D extravaganza that (for its time) featured great graphics, great sound effects, and a mesmerizing musical score. It was an addictive little game that certainly did its part in transforming me into the teeth-clenching, button-mashing, maniacal video-game junkie that I am today.

Twenty years later, I can count the number of quality chopper titles on one hand. Sure, in the interim, there have been a few noteworthy PC titles that have borrowed heavily from the Choplifter theme. Sporting the latest in 3D technology, many of these games were quite intriguing. Unfortunately, I also found them to be a little too high on complexity and very low on fun. Through the years, assorted consoles have had their fair share of helicopter games as well -- but for whatever reason, none of 'em were able to hold my attention for very long.

Well, it's been a while since I've taken to the skies and as Sony's new hardware approaches its first birthday, I find my hovering skills in desperate need of work. Thankfully, Take-Two Interactive is more than happy to oblige in the form of City Crisis. Featuring a fully rendered 3D city environment, City Crisis has you climbing into the cockpit of a high-tech rescue helicopter to fly in a variety of action-packed missions. Save helpless citizens from raging infernos or assist the police in apprehending dangerous fugitives. It's all-out war folks, but this time you'll battle chemical blazes and natural disasters. Are you ready to save the city?

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

City Crisis offers three basic modes of play: training, time-attack, and missions. The training mode allows you to learn, practice and hone such skills as flying your helicopter, developing proper rescue procedures and implementing fire fighting techniques. My advice is to play through each type of training tutorial at least once before taking on the other two modes. Time-attack challenges you to complete various levels in a specified time period. Earn a good enough score and you'll be rewarded with an unlocked 'disaster'? level. The real 'meat and potatoes'? of the game can be found in the missions mode. Missions come in two basic flavors: rescue and chase. During rescue missions -- equipped with a water cannon, water missiles, and a rescue harness -- you'll race against the clock to battle raging fires and save helpless citizens. You'll even come across a dog or two, amid the rooftop of buildings, barking out for your assistance (stay doggy, sit doggy... nice pooch!). During chase missions, you'll pursue high-speed felons and hijackers on the lam throughout the city. Shine your spotlight on the escaped convict long enough, and the police will eventually corner your prey. During missions mode, you'll earn points depending on how well you complete each objective. The number of victims you save, the number of fires you extinguish, and the degree of damage your chopper takes, all come into play. Score high enough on each inaugural mission, and you'll unlock subsequent levels to challenge your heroic efforts. Be warned -- the further you go, the harder the successive missions become. If you persevere long enough to unlock all the missions, you'll unlock the 'Final Rescue'? mission, which offers (you guessed it) the most difficult challenge of all.

Initially, you can choose from three rescue helicopters, each with unique handling and rescue characteristics. As you progress in the game, eventually two top-secret experimental choppers become available. Completing each mission is not an option until you master the controls of flying your helicopter. Thankfully, the controls offer a reasonable learning curve. What may seem frustrating at first becomes second nature after a brief fifteen minutes or so.

Navigating your chopper is achieved through the use of the left and right analog sticks (or in some cases, the d-pad). Ascend and descend or change the direction you are facing with the right analog stick. Move forward, backward, and side-to-side with the left analog stick -- or if you prefer, you can also move your chopper using the d-pad. Manipulating your helicopter's water cannons, missiles, spotlight, and rescue harness is achieved with a press of the corresponding controller button. During missions, a handy radar map is visible in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to aid you in locating mission objectives.

After a couple of hours with this baby, I felt right at home with the controls and the various mission objectives. I found the gameplay to be straightforward and quite enjoyable. While I wouldn't necessarily rate the 'addiction factor'? quite as high as in some games in recent memory, there is a decent level of replay value to be had here. I found myself repeating certain missions over and over again to either improve my score or as a means to unlock that elusive next level. Make no mistake about it; this game is not a simulator by any stretch. You'll ram your chopper against a building and bounce right off with nary a dent or scratch -- ah yes, ye 'ol 'bumper car'? effect. Do it too often, however, and your chopper goes kurplowee! Other anomalies that'll have you scratching your head include a company of fire engines that will sit and watch as you attempt to douse the flames of a burning building, without so much as a drop of water to offer. (Hey, how bout a little help here!) Furthermore, during chase missions, law enforcement takes just a bit too much time, for my taste, to apprehend their man... even when the spotlight is shining on him for a solid minute or two. (Okay fellas, put down the doughnuts and get going!)

Graphics

Overall, the game's visuals are quite impressive. The helicopters are nicely modeled with clean and crisp textures. The cityscape is large and nicely detailed. Although, if you fly in one direction for very long, you will encounter the mandatory invisible barrier -- oops, time to turn around! Nonetheless, the landscape is populated with adequately modeled buildings, cars, and people. As you fly around, you'll recognize other lifelike landmarks such as parks, sidewalks, basketball courts, and billboards. You'll even encounter an amusement park with a working Ferris wheel and roller coaster. The game's environment also features a liberal amount of color. Unfortunately, most textures seem to lack the appropriate shading techniques, creating an unwelcome contrast between the city structures and the various urban accoutrements. During night missions, a variety of lighting techniques spice up the game's visuals and provide a pleasant ambiance. Buildings and streets are realistically illuminated, while flames and explosions intensify the overall aesthetic effect. A three-quarter perspective, the game's sole camera view, provides a plausible view of the action at all times. Frame rate remains constant with no noticeable slowdown.

Audio

The music is perfectly suited to the action-oriented style of the game -- the upbeat and thumping soundtrack creates a real sense of urgency prior to and during the completion of your missions. The game includes a variety of realistic sound effects that remain clean and crisp throughout. From the whirling sound of your chopper blades to the cries of helpless victims yelping for assistance, the aural effects go a long way in setting the proper mood.

Bottom Line

In the end, City Crisis comes off as a respectable action-packed arcade game that will provide hours of entertainment. It's certainly not the answer that hardcore flight-sim fans might have been hoping for, but then again, it doesn't pretend to be. Does it deserve a permanent place in your PS2 library? Ultimately, only you can answer that question. But, for those of you who are looking for something different to feed your PS2, you could do much worse than giving this game a shot. Now for heavens sakes, stop wasting time -- put on your helmet and headset, and go save the city!

Download City Crisis

Playstation 2 Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Overview

In the early days of video gaming, there was an arcade game by the name of Choplifter that had a fairly simple premise -- jump into the cockpit of a military helicopter, fly around, shoot the bad guys and rescue the good guys. Simple premise notwithstanding, it was a 2D extravaganza that (for its time) featured great graphics, great sound effects, and a mesmerizing musical score. It was an addictive little game that certainly did its part in transforming me into the teeth-clenching, button-mashing, maniacal video-game junkie that I am today. Twenty years later, I can count the number of quality chopper titles on one hand. Sure, in the interim, there have been a few noteworthy PC titles that have borrowed heavily from the Choplifter theme. Sporting the latest in 3D technology, many of these games were quite intriguing. Unfortunately, I also found them to be a little too high on complexity and very low on fun. Through the years, assorted consoles have had their fair share of helicopter games as well -- but for whatever reason, none of ‘em were able to hold my attention for very long. Well, it’s been a while since I’ve taken to the skies and as Sony’s new hardware approaches its first birthday, I find my hovering skills in desperate need of work. Thank fully, Take-Two Interactive is more than happy to oblige in the form of City Crisis. Featuring a fully rendered 3D city environment, City Crisis has you climbing into the cockpit of a high-tech rescue helicopter to fly in a variety of action-packed missions. Save helpless citizens from raging infernos or assist the police in apprehending dangerous fugitives. It’s all-out war folks, but this time you’ll battle chemical blazes and natural disasters. Are you ready to save the city?

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

City Crisis offers three basic modes of play: training, time-attack, and missions. The training mode allows you to learn, practice and hone such skills as flying your helicopter, developing proper rescue procedures and implementing fire fighting techniques. My advice is to play through each type of training tutorial at least once before taking on the other two modes. Time-attack challenges you to complete various levels in a specified time period. Earn a good enough score and you’ll be rewarded with an unlocked "disaster" level. The real "meat and potatoes" of the game can be found in the missions mode. Missions come in two basic flavors: rescue and chase. During rescue missions -- equipped with a water cannon, water missiles, and a rescue harness -- you’ll race against the clock to battle raging fires and save helpless citizens. You’ll even come across a dog or two, amid the rooftop of buildings, barking out for your assistance (stay doggy, sit doggy... nice pooch!). During chase missions, you’ll pursue high-speed felons and hijackers on the lam throughout the city. Shine your spotlight on the escaped convict long enough, and the police will eventually corner your prey. During missions mode, you’ll earn points depending on how well you complete each objective. The number of victims you save, the number of fires you extinguish, and the degree of damage your chopper takes, all come into play. Score high enough on each inaugural mission, and you’ll unlock subsequent levels to challenge your heroic efforts. Be warned -- the further you go, the harder the successive missions become. If you persevere long enough to unlock all the missions, you’ll unlock the "Final Rescue" mission, which offers (you guessed it) the most difficult challenge of all.

Initially, you can choose from three rescue helicopters, each with unique handling and rescue characteristics. As you progress in the game, eventually two top-secret experimental choppers become available. Completing each mission is not an option until you master the controls of flying your helicopter. Thankfully, the controls offer a reasonable learning curve. What may seem frustrating at first becomes second nature after a brief fifteen minutes or so. Navigating your chopper is achieved through the use of the left and right analog sticks (or in some cases, the d-pad). Ascend and descend or change the direction you are facing with the right analog stick. Move forward, backward, and side-to-side with the left analog stick -- or if you prefer, you can also move your chopper using the d-pad. Manipulating your helicopter’s water cannons, missiles, spotlight, and rescue harness is achieved with a press of the corresponding controller button. During missions, a handy radar map is visible in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to aid you in locating mission objectives.

After a couple of hours with this baby, I felt right at home with the controls and the various mission objectives. I found the gameplay to be straightforward and quite enjoyable. While I wouldn’t necessarily rate the "addiction factor" quite as high as in some games in recent memory, there is a decent level of replay value to be had here. I found myself repeating certain missions over and over again to either improve my score or as a means to unlock that elusive next level. Make no mistake about it; this game is not a simulator by any stretch. You’ll ram your chopper against a building and bounce right off with nary a dent or scratch -- ah yes, ye ‘ol "bumper car" effect. Do it too often, however, and your chopper goes kurplowee! Other anomalies that’ll have you scratching your head include a company of fire engines that will sit and watch as you attempt to douse the flames of a burning building, without so much as a drop of water to offer. (Hey, how bout a little help here!) Furthermore, during chase missions, law enforcement takes just a bit too much time, for my taste, to apprehend their man... even when the spotlight is shining on him for a solid minute or two. (Okay fellas, put down the doughnuts and get going!)

Graphics

Overall, the game’s visuals are quite impressive. The helicopters are nicely modeled with clean and crisp textures. The cityscape is large and nicely detailed. Although, if you fly in one direction for very long, you will encounter the mandatory invisible barrier -- oops, time to turn around! Nonetheless, the landscape is populated with adequately modeled buildings, cars, and people. As you fly around, you’ll recognize other lifelike landmarks such as parks, sidewalks, basketball courts, and billboards. You’ll even encounter an amusement park with a working Ferris wheel and roller coaster. The game’s environment also features a liberal amount of color. Unfortunately, most textures seem to lack the appropriate shading techniques, creating an unwelcome contrast between the city structures and the various urban accoutrements. During night missions, a variety of lighting techniques spice up the game’s visuals and provide a pleasant ambiance. Buildings and streets are realistically illuminated, while flames and explosions intensify the overall aesthetic effect. A three-quarter perspective, the game’s sole camera view, provides a plausible view of the action at all times. Frame rate remains constant with no noticeable slowdown.

Audio

The music is perfectly suited to the action-oriented style of the game -- the upbeat and thumping soundtrack creates a real sense of urgency prior to and during the completion of your missions. The game includes a variety of realistic sound effects that remain clean and crisp throughout. From the whirling sound of your chopper blades to the cries of helpless victims yelping for assistance, the aural effects go a long way in setting the proper mood.

Bottom Line

In the end, City Crisis comes off as a respectable action-packed arcade game that will provide hours of entertainment. It’s certainly not the answer that hardcore flight-sim fans might have been hoping for, but then again, it doesn’t pretend to be. Does it deserve a permanent place in your PS2 library? Ultimately, only you can answer that question. But, for those of you who are looking for something different to feed your PS2, you could do much worse than giving this game a shot. Now for heavens sakes, stop wasting time -- put on your helmet and headset, and go save the city!

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