Video Game Rentals Delivered

Crash Commando (PSN)

David Yun (PSN Gamertag - Vawce) David Yun (PSN Gamertag - Vawce): (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2009-04-22 23:00:22

Crash Commando (PSN) - Rank B

Developer: Epos Game Studios (offshoot of DICE)
Publisher: SCEA
Date: 12/18/08

Crash Commando is an alchemic combination of retro design and postmodern sensibilities. It's a 2-D side-scrolling shooter that focuses on fast paced, class-based, multiplayer action. (Think Contra plus Jetpac meet Unreal Tournament and Team Fortress.) The result is a fine way of revisiting the past with the playability and competition of the present.

The playing fields are long, sprawling venues with multiple levels and pathways. They're even double-sided, and the clever design allows you to see the flip side, including any action, in the background. The commandos flit around these massive arenas with jetpacks, or tour about in vehicles. Stationary turrets can even gun down combatants on the flip side. This is always exciting; your targets are largely helpless against you, but you're zoomed in and can't see if someone is approaching you for a humiliating close quarters kill.

Whenever you spawn into the game, you have the option of customizing your loadout. Primary weapons run the gamut from assault rifles, rocket launchers, shotguns, sniper rifles, and more. I noticed that game balance is a minor issue; skilled snipers are particularly lethal. I tend to assault them employing erratic jetpack vectors and unpredictable caroms from my grenade launcher. My success rate isn't impressive, but the entertainment value of these confrontations definitely is. All of the weapons are excitingly fun, if not entirely equal.

A single player campaign is available, although it's easily dismissible. The fact that it's called "Boot Camp" is the strongest indication that it's only meant to whet your appetite for multiplayer action. This comes in three flavors: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Map Objectives (essentially Capture the Flag). I personally favor standard Deathmatch, as the chaos of up to twelve players zipping around turning each other into explosions of bloody mist is exhilarating. Bots can fill out the roster, but shouldn't be necessary. Crash Commando is one of the few PSN titles that has managed to galvanize a small but thriving community. Note that, like any competitive shooter with a dedicated audience, you are likely to be absolutely brutalized when you first begin to play.

Crash Commando isn't a deep experience, but it is intensely entertaining. I expected it to be little more than a diversionary and temporary distraction from its 3-D retail release bigger brothers, but Crash Commando is a worthy full-fledged experience in its own right. I didn't score it higher because many gamers could find it to be too simple. It's not the sort of game that can hold my interest over a multi-hour marathon. However, I do envision myself revisiting it in short spurts on a regular basis for some time to come, and that sort of longevity has a certain value as well.

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