PSN games are some of the most unique, innovative and fun games I’ve played on a console. They are quite arguably the best games the PS3 has to offer. The next PSN game I was interested in was Crash Commando which reminded me of Soldat. There was no demo available for the game, so I had to take the risk of buying the it before trying it out. Was Crash Commando worth taking the risk?
Crash Commando is a 2D fast-paced side-scroll shooter, and the game can best be described as a mix between Solidat and Warhawk but without aircraft. The controls are simple to use; You move with the left analog stick and aim with the right analog stick, you use the jet pack with the L1 button and shoot with R1 button. The learning curve is easy that in about fifteen minutes or less, you’ll get a hang of it. In Boot Camp, the single player campaign, you take the role of either the Grunts or the Jarheads. Your objective is to reach the number of kills required to finish the level. There are no time limits or number of lives you have meaning there is no way you can lose.
There are eight levels for each team, and each level takes place in a different map. The number of enemies along with the number of kills required differs from each level. In the later levels, bots have precise aiming and rarely miss when they see you. It’s difficult to dodge their shots, and it gets a little frustrating when those bots have a sniper. Boot Camp is short but trying to get a medal will bring you back to replay the levels. When you finish a mission and have 1,000 points or more, you earn a medal for that level. You are awarded points for killing enemies, and you will earn more if you kill the enemies rapidly and without dying: points are lost over time and when you die.
When respawning, you can modify your starting gear which includes the primary weapons, side arms and explosives. There are six primary weapons to choose from: CAB, grenade launcher, rocket launcher, machine gun, shotgun and sniper. Each weapon has their advantages and disadvantages, so try each of them out to find your favorite. The CAB, a laser gun, deals moderate damage and has great aiming. The main advantage of the CAB is there is no reloading, but you will run out of ammunition. The grenade launcher is a little tricky to aim, and the grenade bounces after it hits the ground or wall. When you get a direct hit, expect your opponent to be dead. The grenade launcher takes a while to reload, so try to stay away from your opponents. The shotgun is great for close encounter because it pretty much deals a one-hit kill, and the reload for the gun is decent.
The rocket launcher is easy to handle and deals great damage, but a problem with the rocket launcher is you have to reload after every shot. Damage dealt by the machine gun is weak compared to the other guns, but the beauty of this weapon is speed. Bullets shoot rapidly, and it builds the damage dealt by the machine gun; reload for the machine gun is the fastest. The sniper guarantees a one-hit kill, and it has the best aiming. Some may argue the sniper is the best weapon in the game and a little unfair, but the downside of the sniper is the reload which is the slowest out of the bunch.
Side arms, the handgun and the knife, rarely pose a threat to your opponents. The handgun deals low damage, but the speed and reloads are great. The knife is a nice thing to have when having close encounters but getting close to your opponent is the hard part. Explosives are the last thing you can choose from in your starting gear: mines, grenades or C4. The mines and C4 are great to defend your base, but be careful; mines can kill you no matter if you’re the one who left them there. After getting many kills in a roll or staying alive, you are awarded with a survival bonus. There are three to choose from: double health, speed or fire which comes out when rolling with the jet pack. All three of them can be activated at the same time.
In the battlefield, vehicles such as jeeps and tanks are available to ride on. Vehicles can run over people, and they have infinite ammo. The tank is very powerful and can cause frustration from players who keep getting killed by it. Tanks are very slow, so you can easily get away from the tanks; another downside to the tank has is having to reload after every shot. Jeeps and their machine guns have great speed. If you’re running low on things, each level is filled with ammo, grenades or health packs along with some special weapons that aren’t available in your starting gear.
Level design is the best thing about Crash Commando. Each level has two sides, and each side is accessible by a tunnel. You can see the other side on the background along with the players who are on that side duking it out, so if you’re looking for some people to kill then you know where to go. The art style and visuals are great, and they resemble Bionic Commando Rearmed. Platforms are well placed and don’t seem to be tacked-on or annoying in anyway.
A fantastic feature in Crash Commando is the jet pack. Each person has a jet pack, and they are able to fly to reach platforms or avoid shots from your enemies. You can’t fly forever, so make sure you rest on a platform before using it again. I had many fun occasions flying around with it trying to avoid and shoot my opponents. The jet pack sets the game apart from many 2D side-scroll shooters and adds a lot of fun factor into the game.
The multiplayer in Crash Commando is pure fun. Multiplayer supports 2 to 12 players, and bots can be activated online. Bots can’t be activated in map objectives, and it is great bots deactivated in this game mode. With bots deactivated in map objectives, the two trophies from this game mode are harder to acquire. The small number of game modes available is disappointing considering the game’s main focus is on the multiplayer; it hurts the overall replay value.
Three multiplayer game modes are available in Crash Commando: deathmatch, team deathmatch and map objectives. Deathmatch and team deathmatch are pretty self-explanatory. Map objectives are a team-based match, and there are two different objectives. One map objective game is sabotage where one team will try to destroy the control panels while the other team will be defending all of their control panels. The second mission objective game is espionage where the objective for one team is to hack into the enemy’s computer and upload them back into their own computer, and the other team will try to defend their confidential information. These modes end when the offensive team uploads or destroys all panels or when time runs out. Map objectives require teamwork to win, and it’s the best game mode Crash Commando has to offer.
Crash Commando is a nice addition to the PSN library. Replay value is the biggest issue in the game, but at least trophies make it up for it even if most of them are easy to obtain. The multiplayer will slowly grow on you and make you keep you coming back for more fun and intense matches.
Great art style and level design, but the game could've used more game modes.
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The controls are easy to handle, and the jetpacks add a lot of fun factor into the game.
Decent music and sound effects but nothing annoying.
The single player portion is short, and the small amount of game modes is disappointing. Trophies are included in the game, but most are easy to acquire.
For $10, you'll get a fun and addicting multiplayer game.