Crash Commando Review
- Posted January 14th, 2009 at 10:32 EDT by Steven Williamson
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A fine addition to the PSN. The best value for money shooter around.
- Great dual-layered map design
- Balanced weapons
- Fast paced and addictive online
- Weak single player mode
- Only 4 online multiplayer modes
- Only 6 primary weapons
Taking its inspiration from a number of popular games in the shooter genre and sub-genres, Crash Commando could be described as an amalgamation, albeit a pint-sized portion, of some of the most celebrated shooters ever created.
Although the developer, EPOS Game Studios, has borrowed/stolen its ideas from a hundred and one other shooters, old and new, some of the best elements from the genre have been gathered together superbly here and unleashed in a way that still manages to make it feel fresh and exciting. Subsequently, the instant pick-up and play appeal that all good shooters aim for is evident in abundance and Crash Commando’s copycat mentality is instantly forgivable.
Emulating, in some ways, the fast-pace and run-and-gun style of the immensely popular Contra series, complete with multi-directional shooting and platforms laden with power-ups and special weapons, Crash Commando is largely about racking up as many kills as possible and making sure you name is at the top of that leaderboard come the end of each action-packed round.
With a cartoony art-style akin to the recently released re-make of Bionic Commando on PSN, Crash Commando pits you in the role of a tiny, finger nail-sized Commando soldier who has the ability to take to the air at free will thanks to the jet-pack strapped tightly to his back. Choosing to side with either the Jarheads or the Grunts you battle for supremacy across 8 dual-layered maps, where a mixture of precision shooting and quick reactions, weapon choice and map knowledge, and the ability to grab power-ups and super weapons before your enemies swoop in to nab them, determines whether you come out on top or get torn to shreds by your opponents.
Crash Commando is all about the multiplayer mode. The weak single player campaign has little depth to it, consisting of nothing more than slogging through increasingly difficult kill-based objectives against a range of deficient A.I bots. It’s essentially training for when the real battles begin online. However, it does introduce you to the full complement of weaponry and allows you to familiarize yourself with locating power-ups and special weapons and gives you plenty of opportunity to explore the locations and devise ways in which you can use the cover spots, platforms and open areas to your advantage in the multiplayer arena.
The eight maps on offer have been well designed, allowing for both tactical play as well as periods of hectic free-for-all combat. Each map has two layers to it and you can access each portion by zipping through portals located on either side. Whilst on one side of the map you can view the other side in the background and see whether there's any action unfolding. You can then decide whether it’s appropriate to warp on over there or stick to your guns and possibly take advantage of the static turrets that allow you to shoot from one layer to the next. Alternatively, you might want to jump in a tank or a jeep and bring it through the portal with you to try and take those commandos who are fighting on the either side by surprise.
The eight maps are split equally into two different designs, with four locations being geared toward 6 vs. 6 player matches and the other ideal for 12 player death matches. The open, larger maps, including the ‘Cave’ and ‘Volcano’ are amongst the larger maps and allow for more tactical play with plenty of platforms and cover points, ideal for sniping and launching rockets from, whereas the four ‘Showdown’ maps, which include the ‘Fort’ and the ‘Tunnel’ are smaller and therefore create more intense battles which frequently become more about how quick and accurate you are on the trigger, rather than spawn camping or hiding out of the way ready to jump out on enemies. There’s a nice variety of maps that cater for all types of shooter fans and with the promise of future downloadable content there should be plenty to stick around for once the initial batch has been exhausted.
Whilst in the process of killing enemies you can rack up combo points (double kill, triple kill!) and bonus points by blowing up vehicles and these are accumulated ... (continued on next page) ----
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