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City Crisis
PS2 Staff Review by Mike Weatherup

City Crisis reminds of an old helicopter rescue game that once graced the likes of the C64 and Amiga home computers. The name of that particular title eludes me at this time. The premise of the game is quite simple, you must take control of a helicopter rescue unit and save the masses of helpless citizens from raging infernos and assist the police in apprehending dangerous fugitives on the run. Having the ability to be calm and collected is a definite asset in this game as the fire blazes and the pressure heats up. Unfortunately, Syscom, the game's developer did not take the idea to the maximum effect. The result is a mediocre rescue game that does little to showcase the true power behind the Playstation 2.

City Crisis at best represents a first generation PS2 look. While the cities have been rendered in 3D, their sharpness and detail are sorely lacking. In many cases, it is hard to determine what is 3D and what is not. For some strange reason, the jaggies are quite evident in this title. Syscom has yet to come to terms with ways to address the anti-aliasing issue. Many developers have found different ways around the issue and Syscom needs to figure it out real soon if they have any hopes drawing in PS2 buyers to their products. The lighting effects and fire effects are pretty standard but the PS2 has a lot more juice than this.
The helicopter designs are standard for the genre. A couple of special helicopters are unlockable but a lot more would have deepened the roster.
The soundtrack is standard background music for the genre. It makes a good attempt to draw you in the game but it never really succeeds in doing so. Crying citizens are heard throughout the stages requesting your assistance. After a few hours playing, they become quite annoying. The rest of the sound effects are standard fare. Nothing groundbreaking here, then again we did not expect anything special in the aural department.

As mentioned earlier, the gameplay is very simple. Command one of five rescue helicopters in order to save people and animals from towering infernos. Once you approach the blazing buildings, lower your rescue jumper and rescue harness in order to snatch up the people. After a successful rescue, extra points will be awarded if you can extinguish the flames with your water cannons and water bombs. Controlling the helicopters is easy thanks to the control lay-out on the Dual Shock 2. The response of the analog stick allows you to move in ever so close to pick up those hard to reach fire victims. Further stages become more challenging as unexpected updrafts and explosions hinder your progress without some careful yet quick thinking.
In the mood to assist the police in a car chase? Take to the skies in your helicopter to provide a spotlight for the police to follow. The pursuit mode is quite fun and engaging yet for some odd reason it does not last very long. At least 2 or 3 more objectives in the pursuit mode would have been beneficial.

City Crisis could have been a lot more engaging if there had been more courses and objectives in the modes that are present. There are only a handful of stages in the fire mode, 2 in the pursuit mode and a couple of more in a time attack mode. Beyond that there is very little left to do. It would appear the development time was suddenly cut and Syscom had to deliver what little they had to the market. In these days of value searching gamers, developers have got to churn out a lot more than a handful of stages.

Final Word
It is understandable why Take-Two Interactive picked up this title to publish. The basic ideology behind City Crisis is great and could really be explored using the PS2's superior abilities. Too bad Syscom did not take full advantage of their idea and the PS2. City Crisis ends up being a marginally engaging title that ends far too early. A rental should suffice for those interested.

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