The PlayStation Network has seen an increasing number of fresh-faced downloads as of late. Adding to the list is Crash Commando, a game that is both wholly addictive and at times painfully limited in its scope. This is intentional, though, and many a fan of mindless action and gore will devour this game like a cake frosted with all the best action films of the 1980s. It is one of those few games that could easily be summed up in a single word: “Boom.” This is the sort of game that many PS3 owners will regard as just the treat they’ve been looking for, while other gamers will woe the lack of depth Crash Commando provides.
Crash Commando is based firmly in a particular formula, but it is also does a number of clever things that help to differentiate it from similar games. First and foremost, it’s a 2D deathmatch shooter, but it maintains some innovative footholds in 3D games. Each level is split into a back and foreground. The player might begin each match in either and can switch between the two freely via a series of tunnels that are scattered throughout the maps. You can see all of the action at any given time, which is helpful because you never have to guess where the thick of the combat is. Other features like mountable gun turrets that can shoot between the 2D areas of the maps really help to make this more than just a typical 2D shooter.
Other than those features, Crash Commando is about as bare bones as a game can get. The entire premise is literally based around just killing everything that moves. There isn’t a story to speak of; you simply turn on the game, choose either single or multiplayer and start shooting. On some level, this blatant shirking of complicated storytelling is charming, but it’s also a shame. The single player campaign feels rather obviously tacked on and could have benefited from even a shallow story to guide things along.
The single player game is pretty much just the multiplayer mode repopulated with AI bots. Its various stages are split into “missions” wherein the objective never seems to expand beyond killing an increasingly greater number of opposing soldiers. It is mostly a tiresome affair, blatantly inferior to the multiplayer mode and useful perhaps only in that it gives you a friendlier outlet to learn the game’s ropes before venturing out into the brutal competitions against human opponents. The enemy AI is only effective while you’re still struggling with the initially awkward controls, and once you’ve managed to master the intricacies of the various weapons, it’s easy to walk into a match and mop the floor with the computer players, at least until the later levels. The online multiplayer is much better. As one would expect, human players are far more interesting foes, and while the game is a bit too sparse in its combat modes — deathmatch, team deathmatch and a variation of capture the flag — the gameplay really shines here.
Before you spawn at the beginning of each fight and every time you respawn, you are given a choice of weapons ranging from machine guns torocket launchers to a microwave laser that you can use to cook your opponents. The weapons for the most part are varied and well balanced. There isn’t a single weapon that trumps all of the others and while a few control similarly, all of them have their own intricacies to get used to. This is perhaps the most well done aspect of the game as there quite a few choices available from the get go in addition to those you can find around the maps. No matter what your style is, there’s going to be something for you.
Strategize and go for the win as you engage in third person shooter video game tournaments for money online.
If you come across one in the midst of a battle, you can choose to drive around in either a buggy or a tank. While the tank is obviously the more powerful of the two, both feel a bit overpowered. Driving a vehicle, you can literally plow through opposing players, absorbing hits seemingly without end. The vehicles are destructible, but unless you happen to have some C4 on you, it can be a bit of a feat. And if you wrack up enough of those kills, you’ll be given access to three temporary combat enhancers. Overall though, I felt these enhancements were a bit inconsequential. I never noticed much of a difference in the way I played when I had one active.
Weapon controls are a bit troublesome at first. Aiming a gun in Crash Commando takes some getting used to, and even after you’ve mastered it, you’re still inevitably going to find yourself having frustrating moments where you just can’t seem to hit a thing. Beyond aiming though, the controls are very easy to pick up. There is a nice help section that clearly labels everything, but you won’t really need it. A few minutes of tinkering is more than enough to figure out Crash Commando’s control scheme, and even with the oft-frustrating aiming mechanics, it’s a fun game to play. Using your character’s jet pack in particular is enjoyable on its own even without the rampant violence.
Aesthetically, Crash Commando isn’t going to earn many accolades. It isn’t a poor looking game, but it isn’t anything special. The graphics are colorful, but generic. Your character is small and lacks detail. In fact, the various soldiers trying to kill each other at any given time would never be distinguishable if your name wasn’t plastered above your head. The various environments are also rather bland, but they do the job. Much the same can be said about the sound. Most of the sound effects and music could have been ripped from any violent game with guns.
If I have one major complaint about Crash Commando, it is simply that it is yet another shooter in a market already flooded with them. It scores some points for the fact that its 2D view is far different from the typical FPS fair that has come to such prominence in this generation, but at the end of the day, it relies on many of the same conventions, though using them in ways that are far more shallow than many of the feature length games on the market. Gamers who find Crash Commando to be of interest probably already have a worthy shooter on their shelves that does more, better. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun, but even for just ten dollars, it lacks the kind of depth that a lot of other downloadable games are trying to offer nowadays, and there are probably more than a few gamers who will lose interest after a few days, if not even a few hours.