Don't leave the house. Trust me.
Some days you just shouldn't get out of bed. You wake up to find your slippers eaten by the dog. You stub your toe on the groggy stumble to the bathroom, then discover that you're out of toilet paper. After spilling coffee all over the kitchen counter, you hop in the shower only to freeze to death because the hot water is all used up. Slipping on the bathmat yields a nasty lump on top of your head. In an effort to toast a bagel, you nearly burn down the house.
Such is the kind of day faced by the characters in Titus' upcoming Incredible Crisis, possibly the strangest PSX game coming out this year.
Incredible Crisis tells the story of a Japanese family with an unbelievable case of bad luck. It's grandmother Hatsu's birthday, and the family members part ways to go about their respective afternoons. Each must get home in time for the b-day bash, a task easier said than done. And when I say task, I mean alien invasions, gargantuan stuffed animals, robberies, shrinking rays, sinking ships, sadistic paramedics, and a little doozy I like to call the "ferris wheel of love." You'll see.
The story follows the nuclear family: Taneo (father), Etsuko (mother), Ririka (daughter), and Tsuyoshi (son). It's a linear progression; when you complete the objectives of one family member, you move on to another. The gameplay itself is comprised of a collection of mini-games, similar in feel to games like Mario Party.
The games tie in to the plot. For instance, during Taneo's boring day at the office, he winds up getting chased by a giant, runaway bowling ball (I'm not explaining why). One game has you running away from the ball, which leads to another game that has you answering trivia questions in the back of an ambulance.
The variety of game types is impressive. Some are action-oriented and require quick twitch skills, while others are more strategic. None of the games are very deep, but taken together present quite a challenge.
The goal of each game is to complete your objective before your stress meter gets too high and you lose your mind. You're also graded on your performance, and I suspect that getting all A's leads to some nifty surprises. No, I haven't managed to accomplish this feat...yet.
Incredible Crisis will be chock full of FMV, and frankly, it's hilarious. The story is a cross between one of those wacky Japanese game shows and National Lampoon's Vacation. Taneo might well be my favorite video character in the past 5 years. Just try to name another game with a dancing Japanese businessman who has a tendency to fall out of exploding buildings. You'll be laughing out loud...I guarantee it.
While primarily a single player game, Incredible Crisis will also support 2 players, with the second player trying to undermine the first player's efforts by smashing buttons to raise the stress meter. This is not a mellow game.
No matter how you slice it, Incredible Crisis will be about as bizarre a game as there is for the PSX. The preview build has already gotten more than a few laughs out of the tough-to-please GR Staff. Will the final also kick ass? Well, I'll let you decide when the game ships in late September/early October for the PSX. In the meantime, stay in bed....it's rough out there.