Friday, 4 March 2016

Crimewave (Saturn)

So, Crimewave is a game from pretty early in the Saturn's life, and it's a UK-developed game! No-one ever talks about western-developed Saturn games. Except Deathtank, obviously. It set in some kind of horrible dystopian future britain, which is apparently run by the Conservatives (as you'd expect any British dystopia to be), as the police force have not only been privatised and run for profit, but they can also get away with "accidentally" murdering random passers-by with only the feeblest of penalties.

Of course, you play as one of these mercenary cops, driving around the streets until the red arrow appears, pointing you towards your quarry. You get one hundred Meks (the currency of the future (at least it's not "credits")) for every perp you kill. The penalty for killing passers-by is a relatively meager 5 Meks a pop, by the way, and that only comes into play once you've already killed a few. At every multiple of 500 Meks, the gate to the next area opens, and you go there to hunt down and kill criminals. A couple of areas in, you also have rival cops to deal with, who not only want to kill the criminals, but also stop you from doing so. The "free market" in action!

The problem is that though it looks sort of similar to the first two Grand Theft Auto games, while driving was fun and exciting in those games, with their handbrake turns and trivial crashes, it's a pain in Crimewave. Every bump with another vehicle knocks you back some way, and every bump with a stationery object brings you to a standstill and forces you to awkwardly reverse out of the situation. All this while you're also chasing criminal vehicles that can go pretty fast right from the start of the game. It leads to an incredibly frustrating experience, and if you let an enemy get out of sight, an incredibly tedious one too, as you're left futilely chasing an enemy car that's just slightly off screen.

It seems like the developers wanted to make an exciting, fast-paced futuristic car-chase/shooting action game, and while it's a great idea, the execution is just a little bit off. It's so annoying, too, as Crimewave is so close to being a hidden Saturn classic.

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