When the lights go down in the city...
Great Scott! The city is in peril and trouble is breaking out everywhere! Fires are blazing out of control, criminals are on the loose and stupid people are getting trapped in street gutters! We need a fearless helicopter to save the day! Who will help us? Blue Thunder? Airwolf? Harrison Ford? No such luck - it's the City Crisis rescue chopper!
I guess that means we can kiss the city goodbye.
City Crisis is an action-oriented helicopter game where you, the fearless pilot, are charged with extinguishing fires, rescuing people from precarious situations and tracking down criminals. While mildly fun for a moment, this flight has enough problems to keep it from lifting off.
You'll find a mere three game modes at the Main Menu - with two-thirds of them lasting a virtual heartbeat. Training mode will help you get accustomed to the controls and Time Attack has you flying through rings. Neither of these modes is fun, period. All of the action takes place in Mission mode.
In Mission mode, you'll have a choice of a whopping two mission variations: Rescue and Chase. In Rescue, you'll fight fires and save the civilians, while Chase will have you pinning the spotlight on criminals in getaway cars. This wouldn't be so bad if there were more to it, but as the game stands, you'll be able to count the number of missions for each type on one hand. Needless to say, this is a game that's only good enough for a single night.
From the get go you'll have a choice of three helicopters, two of which just totally suck. There is also an unlockable VTOL, which is pretty cool. Not a very wide selection of vehicles, but I'm just happy that a choice is available at all.
City Crisis is simply one big anti-aliasing problem that exploded all over the place. Signature flickering is everywhere, so all you gamers prone to epileptic seizures should stay far, far away. The graphics are just shameful.
The audio experience is decent enough. When all you've really got to do is replicate a chopper sound effect, there's really no excuse for doing a bad job. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the background music selection. It fit the action bill well and bonus points were awarded for the track the sounds like the theme to MacGyver. That show ruled.
The controls are seemingly simple, but actually flying the chopper is something else. The main problem stems from the top-down view that you're stuck with. Lining up with a target is extremely difficult and it's almost impossible to tell what your altitude is in relation to important objects such as A VERY LARGE BUILDING. With this kind of depth problem, bumping into objects is about as common as blue jeans.
On a side note, it's really funny to see the predicaments that some civilians get themselves into. While most people demanding rescue are trapped on top of burning buildings, some are stuck in strange places. One person seemed to have their foot stuck in the street gutter and another needed rescue across the street from a fire. But what the hey - if you can rescue a man in a pig suit from a burning building, you can certainly rescue a dog that managed to get stuck at the top of a Ferris wheel. And speaking of Ferris wheel…
One of the things this game actually does right is the environment. The city is large enough to hold all of the action and not once did I slam into the invisible border. It would have been nice to see more people and cars on the streets, but what it has isn't too bad.
After playing through this game, it's obvious that it would have been much better as an arcade game. Sitting in a faux cockpit with a flightstick in hand would probably be pretty fun. But alas, that's not what we have here.
What we do have is a 6-minute action game that's worth nothing more than a rental. Despite a few minutes of fun, City Crisis is only worth the quarters you find in your couch. Even Superman couldn't save this one.