PCME Review
Crusader: No Remorse
Non-stop action at its finest
Published by Origin
Reviewed by Rod White Posted on 10/18/1995
Shot Zero

Origin is busy again, at putting together some of the best games for anyone's wish list this holiday season. Yet another installment of the successful Wing Commander series titled Wing Command IV: The Price of Freedom is set for an early December release, and Origin's first-person shooter, Cybermage, is slated for release next month. Origin is also developing an AH-64D Longbow Apache simulation with sim-vet Andy Hollis, due first quarter 1996. We've got a lot of great stuff to look forward to from the big O in the next three months, and to start off a pretty impressive lineup, Origin has just released it's first new title since Bioforge and Wings of Glory, Crusader: No Remorse.

Crusader is an SVGA shoot-em-up, well integrated with Origin's now-famous storytelling method. You are a silencer; a red-armored, almost Boba Fett-looking elite enforcer of the law in a world where one united corporation called the World Economic Consortium controls the world's industry, peoples, minds, and lives. It's a `Big Brother' world where you are the enforcer of their ideas and thoughts, which are nowhere near your own. While on patrol with two other silencers you are ambushed by one of the newest enforcers of the WEC's ideals, a large servomech that resembles ED209 from the Robocop movies. This attack is the WEC's way of punishing you for letting a few civilians that they felt were rebels get away. After the melee, you are the only survivor of the assault on your group and start plotting revenge for the WEC's asinine actions. You join the resistance against the WEC. Your mission is now to prove yourself to your new comrades by taking on covert missions against the WEC, like taking out specific industrial targets and freeing prisoners to mention a few.

Shot One

Crusader is a mission based shooter. You are given your orders via video sequences, and then it's up to you to survive. Crusader reminds me a of a game called D-Generation and has some elements of Ultima 8 (because of the perspective used). The motions your silencer is capable of are best compared to those in Fade to Black. The game keeps an inventory in which you can store bombs, med-packs, and other various goodies as you make your way through the various missions. Control of your character is a bit tricky at first, but once you've played it for a few hours you'll be detonating everything in site (until you run out of ammo a few times). Destruction looks great in this game. Most objects will explode three of four time before they are totally gone.

As with EA's Fade to Black, you must think before you shoot in this game. In one of the first missions you must meet up with an operative in one of the rooms, to get a keycode that is vital to finishing the mission. If you were to run into a room like a disgruntled employee and shoot everything in sight, you could be in for in a heap of trouble when it comes time to reach your objective. Some people will talk to you, so you can't just kill blindly. There are some great storytelling elements woven into this game too. If you meet up with certain people, or certain events are about to happen, the game shifts to a half-screen video cut-scene.

Shot Two

The plot of the game goes pretty deep. You are in a world where most people live at their workplace and must be productive at all times 'for the greater good of all'. A world where a fraternization code must be followed when communicating with other people or attempting to have a good time. As in the Wing Commander series, there is always a bar you can go to and chat with your fellow resistance-fighters. At your base of operations there is a bar where you can buy weapons and ammo from a guy named weasel, or deal with getting verbally abused by the rebels who despise the sight of your uniform and don't like the fact that they must work with you. After all, you were once their most-feared enemy.

The graphics are SGVA all the way, and are some of the best 3/4 perspective screens ever done in a computer game! Crusader is sharp and polished. The explosions look excellent, and thankfully, everything is combustible. Origin did a great job of integrating video sequences with the beautiful SVGA game graphics. For example, in the bar you can go the Weasel and hit the 'S' key to select him, then `enter` to start speaking with him. The game then goes into a half-screen FMV sequence of him slickly trying to push some weapons on you. The same procedure is used to speak to anyone in the game.

Shot Three

Near the bar door, there's a viewscreen where you can catch the latest news and hear about the last mission you've completed from the media, in their biased WEC-fed way. This is an excellent reflection on real life. One mission I returned from in which the objective was to rescue some fellow resistance fighters, the media reported that a lab which was producing a miracle heal-all drug had been sabotaged by the resistance. In reality, it was a lab for horrible human experiments. Video in Crusader is on par with all of the industry's latest offerings to this point. Though the acting is not as good as in WC3, the story is much more enjoyable (IMO) and gets the player involved.

There are a lot of good gameplay and storyline-based elements in this game which really benefit from the game's overall structure. The storyline is not beat into the ground. It's fresh and new, but also compelling and believable. As I mentioned earlier in this review, you can blow up just about anything in Crusader, and when you do, you are treated to some of the best sounding explosions to date. There is no crackling or breaking up at all, just pure clean, loud explosions. An important part of any PC game is the music, as with most major Origin productions of late, there is a great film quality musical score during the intro. The music during gameplay is also excellent. It's a fast-paced, bass- heavy, adrenaline pumping sound track. There have been rumors of incompatibilities with some SB-compatible cards. I have not found this to be true. We ran Crusader with an AWE-32, SB-16, and a Packard Bell Sound Blaster compatible sound card and we found no problems whatsoever.

The Bottom Line

Crusader is an exciting and compelling action game, perfectly combined with excellent story-telling elements. While this game's engine bears some similarity to the one used for Ultima 8, the SVGA graphics and the overall quality of this game makes it far superior to most other games of this type. If you're looking for a great solo game that offers beautiful SVGA graphics, quality FMV, awesome SFX and music to feed the atmosphere, WC-type interaction with other characters, and pulse pounding gameplay, Origin has your game with Crusader: No Remorse.

1999 Strategy Plus, Inc.