Apparently they used to shoot Sale of the Century in here, you know. But there's no sign of Nicholas Parsons here today. Instead, actor Robin Hellier is standing upright before the cameras, strapped into a "WALDO" suit and practising his lines for the last time before filming starts for real. Meanwhile, sticking out amongst all the rest of the studio staff, with their headphones, mikes, and concentrated frowns, is a man kneeling on the floor like a kid watching a Saturday morning cartoon. The expression on his face is a mixture of fascination and fuelled excitement.
This is Kristian Ramsey Jones, the designer/producer of the upcoming Psygnosis release Krazy Ivan, and he's clearly pleased to be here. In fact, in his own words, today is a "total filing buzz". He and the rest of the team are spending two days at the Anglia TV studios in Norwich to shoot footage for the game, against the mandatory blue screen. Now this kind of chroma-key shenanigan has been around for years - you only have to cast your mind back to the heady days of Rentaghost to remind yourself how shoddy the finished effect can look. But here they're using a kind of "new and improved" version, which allows them to muck about with the lighting, positioning, and overall look of the thing until you forget about Timothy Claypole and chums forever and just concentrate on how nice it all looks instead.
Robin Hellier is Krazy Ivan, suspended inside a 40-foot high robot armour suit, which is all the better for knocking the bejesus out of all and sundry.
But hold on a minute. As I'm standing there on the grey studio floor, being quiet when I'm told to. and trying not to trip over a cable or something, a thought pops into my head: What's the point of making all this effort to shoot footage for a game, when it's only going to end up being an irritant to the person who's playing it? I mean, every time you impatiently click your mouse or bash the spacebar to get rid of that FMV cutscene that you've already seen 36 times, you don't care how long it took to film, do you? So why they bothering?
Kristian manages to allay my fears in a trice. He can't be doing with those lengthy, pointless cutscenes either. In fact, he appears to be approaching the whole thing from a gamesplayer's point of view. The video sequences are to be integrated with the action. They are there to explain things that you need to know, and hopefully add a bit of atmosphere and tongue-in-cheek humour to the proceedings.
And the game...?
The game itself is a 3D carnival of chaotic, mechanised carnage set in a futuristic, alien-occupied Siberia. You control Ivan as he wades through acre upon acre of texture-mapped violence and twisted metal, rescuing hostages and shooting anything else that gets in your/his way. Before each mission, you are given the opportunity to make like Jean-Paul Gautier and redesign the suit a little so that it's more to your liking -by means of choosing which piece of weaponry you'd like to hurt things with this time around. The emphasis is on good old-fashioned, cathartic, non-stop, ultra-destruction. And there's nothing wrong with a bit of that now and again, is there? Kristian obviously doesn't think so; when he's describing one of the boss characters to me (it sort of spins around in the air and changes shape, and bits fly off it, etc., etc.) his face lights up like someone who's just taken delivery of a truckload of Terry's All-Gold. Here is a man who likes watching things explode. Good for him.
Girts in uniform
The length of all the video sequences put together is only going to come to about 17 minutes, but to make these brief interludes seem even quicker, Psygnosis has hired Sara Stockbridge, erstwhile Vivienne Westwood muse and all-round Tank Girl-a-like, to provide a dash of glamour. Those of you who are into uniforms will be champing at the bit to learn that she spends the entire game decked out in a fetching Russian army number. A walking definition of the word "sassy", she is appearing in a videogame for the first time here.
In between takes, I sit down with Sara, Kristian and another cast member, Michael Brogan, and we have a quick chinwag about computer technology, games and the future of "interactive entertainment*. However, both Sara and Michael are a little apprehensive when prompted to discuss the merits or otherwise of games in general. Sara even thinks that playing non-stop games for hours and hours is "a pretty good way to breed a psychopath". She recognises that there's something inherently sad about sitting alone in a room with a computer. Foolishly, I try to stick up for technology, and recklessly bring the subject of the Internet into the conversation as an example of how using a computer can be a social activity. After a couple of minutes on this subject, however, I notice that eyes begin to glaze over all around me. Michael looks at his watch. And by the time I've got a grip and realised exactly what I've done i.e. bored everybody shitless, they're all back in the studio to pose for some promotional shots. Bugger.
You looking for a fight...?
The game is being released for the PlayStation at the same time as the pc cd version in October. It'll be interesting to see how the pc incarnation compares to its PlayStation counterpart. Krazy Ivan may well help to prove, if proof be needed, that the pc is now a games platform with a fierce fight on its hands if it wants to remain the connoisseur's choice.
Download Krazy Ivan
I Remember First Being Plunged into stalking frenzy by the female lead from a shite 3DO kung-fu doofer. The name of the game .'scapes me, but she was called Vivien Afo. She told me - in the game - that I Aias her only hope of recovering the magic sword, and she even helped me out in a couple of my fights. It was iestiny. But then she suddenly dissed ne, simply because I couldn't get past \kiudu, the Ninja Lord. I thought she Aias only joking, but she wasn't. Bitch!!! (tracked her down to an address in New Mexico, which was a bummer, because I'm afraid of flying, and of ships. Still, we live in an electronic age, eh. Eventually, she changed her telephone number, casting me adrift on an ocean of despair.)
But wait. A lifeboat has come along. The fmv introduction sequence for Krazy Ivan is brief, to the point, nicely directed, and very amusing. But more than that, it has a chick in it, and as our eyes met for the first time it was as if somebody had let off a Catherine Wheel inside my small intestine. Hoping against hope that my new-found love would appear in the game itself, I scrambled for the 'play' icon...
There she was - in the left-hand corner of the screen - a picture within a picture. My darling! My blood! My bones! My life! She told me (in a Russian accent) that I had to kill things. I told her that I adored her. We shared a her momentary glance, then her image began to fade. She was gone. And then the attacks started.
To see my love again I'd have to shoot like I'd never shot before. No problem; I felt I was Chard enough'. But wait - I was getting cacked on bigtime by the enemy. The reason for this was that my in-game character was impossible to control. Why should this be, I wondered? Then I thought, CQuake'. Yes, of course, I would redefine the controls so that I had both mouse and keys as my allies. Uh? What was this? Oh noil!
A narrator intervenes...
Duncan was in a right old fix. Krazy Ivan has a customisable control menu, but the mouse is not selectable - meaning that his trusty CQuake' setup was not available. He tried numerous key combinations, but found his fingers getting tangled up. He eventually plumped for joystick and keys, but even this wasn't acceptable. And anyway, he found Krazy Ivan unbelievably sluggish in responding to command inputs: a 180-degree turn seemed to take an age, as did just about anything else. The graphics weren't a great help either, with severely restricted forward vision inducing Cfogged pop-up'. He was getting hammered due to no fault of his own, and was becoming dangerously frustrated. He knew that this game had been raved over by the PlayStation press, but found himself unable to understand why. What would have been a perfectly enjoyable blast 'em up was being hampered by lack of the two things it most needed: speedy response and a distant horizon. He realised he'd never progress far enough to enjoy more of the fab fmv. Back to Duncan...
I give up...
I gave up, annoyed. Denied further sight of my love in-game, I decided to go for the next best thing. Reaching for my pile of telephone directories, I turned to the CS' pages. Stockbridge couldn't be a particularly common surname, I felt, and hopefully she'd be listed with her full Christian name of Sara, rather than just an initial. (Let's hope for her sake she's ex-directory - Ed.)
Krazy Ivan stitches together a few tired formulas to create blazing mech action. You won't devote your life to this CD, but it does serve up some involving combat.
An alien armada is slowly conquering the world by enveloping key regions in impenetrable force fields. When a lucky breakthrough allows you to sneak in your 40-foot mechsuit, you rush off to rescue hostages, rout the alien mechs, and neutralize the force fields.
Bristling with fierce guns, lasers, and missiles, you rocket through each region. The somewhat-repetitive gameplay requires little strategy, but you'll need fast reflexes to stay on top of the demanding shooting. The tight controls serve you well, though the ability to jump would've been nice.
Smooth as Vodka
Sleek graphics portray impressive 3D landscapes, but greater detail and less slowdown in the frosty tundras and dusty sand dunes would've made for a true graphical feast. Even so, remarkable detail in the colorful, outlandish enemies really captures your attention.
On the sound side, the music plods through ominous Russian themes that you'll quickly tune out. Similarly, the decent effects do their duty without creating the kind of tension that gets your blood racing.
Krazy Ivan has some problems, but it stands tall above its Saturn counterpart, Chen War. Only the most finicky gamers won't eventually enjoy Krazy Ivan's absorbing gameplay.
- Fight the small aliens only until you fully replenish your stores. Move on to the bosses before you take too much damage.
- Against Sentinel, be prepared to take pn a crowd.
- Continually circle behind Dedlock and shoot him in the back.
Bad accents, big mechs and a whole lotta fun--that's what Krazy Ivan is all about. It is the year 2086, and the world has just been subjected to a brutal, worldwide alien invasion. Mankind has only one group of people that can take out the alien forcefields and annihilate the enemy: a group of Russian scientists and a 40-foot, 50-ton mechwarrior under the control of a man named Krazy Ivan.
Fight your way through five distinct battle zones using your awesome weaponry to blow away the enemy and complete your mission. Each of the battlefields contain anywhere from three to five sentients. On each of the levels you have a time limit to get to each sentient. If time runs out before you get to a sentient, you must battle yet another sentient. If you live through that battle, your time is reset.
Each sentient has its own strengths and weaknesses. The Gouraud-shaded, texture-mapped sentients come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from a puma to a centipede to a mosquito-like creature. Before battling the sentient, your comrade gives you hints and tips on the enemy's strengths and weaknesses (if any).
Once each sentient is destroyed, you must then go to the area's shield and also destroy it. It sounds much easier than it actually is.
Upon your journey to each sentient, you will encounter various enemies, including hovering manta rays, hover-crafts and many others out to turn you into scrap metal. By destroying these enemies, you are able to obtain the items they were carrying, which are generally hostages and a power-up icon. The power-up icons vary. Some help you and others don't. You can occasionally obtain an energy core which repairs your shield and also acts as a type of money once the level is completed. With these energy cores, you can upgrade your mech with various missiles, lasers, plasma shots and more.
Krazy Ivan takes full advantage of the PlayStation controller and uses every single button. You can strafe, walk backward and forward, aim up and down, change weapons, fire the chosen weapon, shoot missiles and use your special weapon. If you think it sounds difficult, it isn't. It won't take you long to get used to the controls, and once you do the game is a blast--literally. Everything in your path is toast.
If you have always wanted to be in control of a 40-foot, 50-ton war machine, demolish anything in your path and enjoy every second of it, look no further; Krazy Ivan is it.
Krazy Ivan will be a first-person 3D combat blaster. In the year 2086, nasty extraterrestrials have enclosed vast areas of Earth behind nearly impenetrable force fields. The Russians crack the fields, so they encase a bolts-for-brains soldier, Ivan, in a 40-foot, 50-ton mech-war-rior power suit and let him go...well, crazy! Ivan and his mech foes pack missiles, bombs, and guns galore. The high-tech fighting occurs at long and short ranges, utilizing scaling graphics and a 360-degree field of view. Here's a Russian revolution with potential.
How many of you out there wish there was a mecha game that moved realistically and had lots of levels filled with eye-pop-ping effects and relentless enemies? Well, you might just like Krazy Ivan then. Krazy Ivan is another Psygnosis title that is close to completion. So far it looks phenomenal. It's totally smooth and gives all the other mech combat games a run for their money.
Krazy Ivan allows players to fight in giant armored mechs. Each one is armed with an assortment of deadly weapons that range from missiles to gatling rifles. You can blast away at the enemies, but keep it up too long and your systems will overheat. Not a good thing...on the mech that was playable, there were six different weapons systems. The visual effects for each one are really cool. Think special effects. They explode in spectacular technicolor life.
Krazy Ivan features missions from around the world. Tackle the tundra of Russia or the plains of the good ol' USA. Since this CD has so many areas to battle, you won't get bored in the Two-player Mode.
Yes, this is one of the first games that will link two PlayStations. Play this way, and you'll be drooling and dreary-eyed from playing until three in the morning.
The whole concept of Krazy Ivan has to be appealing to all the Battletech fans out there. This CD comes closer than the official licensed games to the all-out spirit and adventure of mecha fighting. This will be a PlayStation game to look for. Hopefully we ll be seeing an update on this one. If you love mech games, Krazy Ivan is for you.
- PUBLISHER - Psygnosis
- THEME - Action
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 2
The year is 2018. As a schizophrenic young soldier recently released from a mental ward yearning for the glories of old Mother Russia, you are hired to defend Earth from an alien invasion. It appears that aliens have taken over various zones on the Earth—infesting the area and taking innocent prisoners! To rescue the human prisoners you must attempt to destroy as many of the alien invaders as possible. (Yawn.) To assist you in this daunting task you are given control of a 42-foot, 92,000-pound powersuit, armed to the teeth. As strange as this plot sounds, don't let it bother you -- that's all the plot there is. There is no explanation of who the aliens are, why they are attacking the earth, and why someone would put a mental patient in control of a powersuit that has enough firepower to level buildings.
But since when does something as silly as a missing plot slow us down? Unfortunately, along with their lack of a decent plot, comes a lack of other features necessary for a truly solid game. Small glitches and slow downs prevent full immersion in the world of Krazy Ivan. But don't get me wrong, this game does have some good points: good 3-D rendered enemies, end-of-level bosses that look truly fearsome, and arcade-style action that is great for mindless entertainment and good replayability.
Each mission begins with a full motion video briefing about the zone that you are to clear. There are only five zones to clear, so the choice is not very difficult. Every zone is under siege by three alien "bosses," a number of enemy tanks and airborne attack vehicles. It is your job to destroy as many of the aliens as possible, releasing the humans trapped inside. All you have to do to rescue the humans is to move over them and your "onboard tractor beam" will scoop them to salvation. Along with releasing refugees, destroying alien vehicles is also how you rearm guns, missiles, and special weapons. There are also three special pickups that enhance or detract from your robot's performance. Energia Mode gives you invincibility with a speed boost, Schizo Mode is invincibility with reversed controls, and Zombie Mode makes you invincible but slows your movement. Energy cores are also sometimes released when an enemy is blown up. Picking the cores up repairs damage and allows for more weaponry to be added to your 'bot if you survive the zone.
There is an easy-to-read global positioning system that helps guide you to each showdown with the alien bosses. Every zone has three bosses, each with a distinct fighting style. It is up to you to determine what that is and try to use it to your advantage before you find yourself a pile of scrap metal. One of the best features of Krazy Ivan is the diversity of alien bosses. Ivan's programmers seem to have modeled many of the enemies after real-life animals. From leopard-like 'bots that leap at you with claws drawn, ape-like machines of destruction that shoot missiles from their feet, to a flying squid that can only be damaged when its beak is facing you, you'll find a whole plethora of enemies. Of course, you'll also encounter more traditional style robots too. But that's not all. If you take too much time rescuing prisoners and not enough time looking for bosses, you might come face to face with the mysterious Black Knight. The Black Knight is a rogue member of the Red Army whose purpose in life is to take you out of commission! He is extremely difficult to kill, armed to the teeth and he has a serious bloodlust for taking you out of the game. Don't expect to kill him, just fight him off until he retreats.
Your 'bot has three types of weapon systems: guns, missiles and special weapons. Your armory ranges from 30 mm guns to grenades. After finishing each level, you are able to upgrade your weapons depending on how many energy cores you collected from the last mission. Machine guns can be upgraded to quick firing lasers, missiles can be made more powerful, and special weapons just get more special! But don't expect to enter a zone and get trigger happy. Weapons must be reloaded and they also overheat.
One glitch I encountered in Ivan which affected gameplay and proved to be a real annoyance is the inability of your robot to climb hills. If approaching even a small hill head-on, my 'bot would stop completely as if it were a huge wall instead of an anthill. If I wanted to climb a hill, I would have to address it from an angle instead of head-on.
Graphically, Krazy Ivan intrigued me. Aspects like the background of hills and shrubbery struck me as being simple, almost basic in design, while other aspects like the design and look of enemies rivals that of Quake. Unfortunately, Krazy Ivan first loads up in 320x240 mode and playing it in anything higher brings bad slowdowns. At least in 320x240 it is possible to play in high detail. Great looking sky effects, detailed explosions and enemies all are experienced in high detail.
Krazy Ivan comes with eleven high energy and ambient music tracks. Each is a high quality recording that boils the blood and provides a real sense of urgency in completing your mission. The music tracks can be played in any CD player, and I've found myself driving to work with the disk blaring in my car.
Ivan has two settings for sound quality, normal and enhanced. Dialogue which may sound unclear and hard to understand with a setting of normal sounds great with enhanced. Depending on your computer's processing power, sound quality may or may not detract from gameplay. If you can play with enhanced sound, do so. Luckily enough, if you have to play Ivan with unclear dialogue and mediocre sound, it is definitely one of those games where it doesn't make a difference to the outcome. The same goes for the sound of weapon fire. Play it enhanced or suffer the consequences of having weapons that sound like year-old firecrackers.
Installing this game into Windows 95 was very easy. Inserting the CD into the drive was probably the hardest part of installing the game. Just follow the autoplay instructions and you will be up and defending the earth in no time. The game also defaults to playing with the keyboard, but using a joystick with the game is also easy.
The difficulty of Krazy Ivan is determined by three settings; easy, medium, hard. Nothing new here. On its easiest setting, however, Ivan is still a challenging game. There may not be a huge number of levels, but they do take up a lot of time. The sheer difficulty of destroying enemy vehicles, rescuing prisoners and then battling enemy bosses will eat up many hours that could be spent doing your taxes.
There are also no real AI advances in Ivan. Enemies appear and then attack until either you have destroyed them or been destroyed yourself. You'll find that enemies will just follow you and you can't outrun them. Since there are no obstacles like walls or buildings to hide behind, AI other than the ability to follow you seems unnecessary. At times this can lead to very intense firefights, so knock off your enemies one at a time -- don't wait until they are having a town meeting before dispensing with them.
Windows 95, Pentium 60, 8 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, SoundBlaster or 100% compatible sound card
Krazy Ivan is an entertaining game that will hold your attention. It has good replayability, a quick learning curve and mindless entertainment. The graphics are decent, the sound is great, and it has a true arcade feel to it. However, I was never truly immersed in the world of Krazy Ivan. While the computer AI sometimes made things challenging, the story and gameplay were simple -- almost too simple at times. Features that make other games memorable seemed to be missing in Ivan. An outside view of your 'bot, more weapons, and more story could have all improved the game, giving it a higher score than GameFabrique's rating of 79.
Sometimes the best man for the job is.. .crazy.That's the premise behind Krazy Ivan, a futuristic first-person mech-warrior shooter that picks up where a devastating alien invasion ends.
You're Krazy Ivan, the lone Russian solider sent behind enemy lines to kick some alien butt. A 40-foot-tall, 50-ton mechwarrior suit puts some punch behind your purpose. You must rescue hostages, locate weapon upgrades, and customize your armor as you secure five battle zones across the ravaged planet. And the platoons of heavily armored enemies you'll face don't give up easily.
Krazy Ivan brings fully animated, texture-mapped enemies and a fluid 3D environment to the next generation of games.
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