Theft Auto III hit the gaming scene in 2001, a new genre of sorts
-- the "sandbox" game -- was born. Basically, the "sandbox" games
gamer a world to play in as he or she pleases. Missions can be completed
at the gamer's leisure -- if the player bothers to compete them at all.
However, completing the missions is usually required to "beat" the game.
have been numerous attempts to give the genre something new. Crackdown puts
a new spin on it by making the player the hero rather than a criminal
or anti-hero. David
Jones, one of the original designers of GTA III, worked
creative director, so comparisons between the two games aren't just
valid, they're completely warranted.
the gamer into the role of a genetically enhanced supercop who is Pacific
City's newest weapon in the war on crime. Over the last few years,
gangs have taken over the three islands that make up Pacific City. Each
island is controlled by a different gang. It is the player's job to take
out each of the gangs' officers and kingpin one-by-one and return the
city to relative normalcy.
able to gradually improve five individual aspects of your performance:
agility, driving, explosives, strength, and firearms as you pursue the
gangs through the streets (and across the rooftops) of the sprawling
each of these aspects gets used, you become more adept at them. You're
also able to increase them by finding two types of orbs that are scattered
across the cityscape. Agility orbs do the obvious and increase your ability
to run and jump. Hidden orbs, which are usually tucked away in hard-to-reach
places, randomly boost all of your abilities, albeit very little at
best way to upgrade each of your abilities is to just use them. Driving
skills increase, strangely enough, when you run over gang members. Firearms
and explosives skills are improved by using guns and explosives, respectively,
to kill the bad guys. Agility is improved by grabbing the aforementioned
orbs and also by shooting and killing gang members from long distances.
increases as you pick up objects and use them to dispatch enemies.
you increase in your abilities, vehicles supplied by the Pacific City
authorities begin to change as well. Each of the three vehicles -- a
sports car, SUV and a semi-truck cab -- begins to morph into steroid-enhanced
versions of their former selves as your driving skill warrants. Driving
isn't one of the highlights of the game -- but if you do drive, you should
do it in one of these agency vehicles.
you've played any of the GTA series (or Saint's Row on
the Xbox 360), you'll have no trouble controlling the action in Crackdown,
which controls like most other third-person action games.
point of the game is to destroy the gangs from the bottom up but, aside
from that, it's completely up to you as to how you go about it. Unlike
GTA and its ilk, Crackdown doesn't shoehorn you into
completing side quests or missions to complete the game. You
don't even have
to kill the bosses last if you don't want to. You're free to attack the
game any way you choose. And that's exactly why I loved it.
strange kind of cel-shaded graphics bring a comic book-like atmosphere
to the world of Pacific City. Since you're a supercop and can literally
leap (some) buildings in a single bound, being corralled into missions
would ruin the game's heroic appeal. I want to blow up as many bad guys
as possible, not prevent one crime at a time. Crackdown does
provide optional races of the on-foot and behind-the-wheel variety to
break up the action a bit (and provide some opportunities to improve
the player's agility and driving skills) but they're not required to
finish the game.
single-player game provides a fairly short and entertaining, if not entirely
too easy, experience. Crackdown also allows two players to team
up either at home, through system link, or through Xbox Live in a co-op
capacity to defeat the crime lords and their minions. It also makes possible
supercop match-ups as each player can decide to fight each other instead.
game has received a lot of press because it -- at least in the initial
batch following its release -- includes an invitation to beta test Halo
3's multiplayer game later in 2007. Some have gone so far to say
that Crackdown is just a freebie included with the beta test
invitation. This is really not giving credit where credit is due. Sure,
it's light on plot and doesn't contain any memorable characters, but
it is fun and action packed. That, plus the Halo 3 beta invitation, makes
it worth the price of admission.