In a word, Monotony!
Crusader: No Remorse is a great game...for those suffering from insomnia! Although the introduction and the storyline are halfway decent, they are far from enough to save this game. Crusader might look like it would fall into the same category as Diablo from the outside, but when one begins to play, the difference is all too painfully clear.
The story of Crusader is not all that bad. The year is 2196 in a world full of chaos and corrupt leaders (sounds familiar?). You are what is known as a Silencer, a highly trained soldier who works for the main World Economic Consortium (WEC). Unfortunately, the WEC is corrupt. You soon realize this and join a Resistance group of rebels. Although you have joined them at your own peril, your new allies still don't trust you because of your background, but you don't care because the main agenda on your mind is to kick some WEC butt.
Looking at the back cover of the CD is misleading, as half of the pictures are from the introduction which doesn't employ the same graphics as the game itself. The intro has a sort of Mech Warrior II feel, but the game is definitely a far cry from it. Crusader allows you to play at various levels of difficulty which all have some pretty creative names, like Mama's Boy and Weekend Warrior, but I don't think you'll be playing this game long enough to try all of them.
Something wrong suddenly registers in your mind as soon as you start to play. The graphics and effects in Crusader are good...for 6 years ago. Your mission appears on some cheesy black screen with green writing reminiscent of the Apple IIE (isn't this supposed to be the future?). This doesn't even look like a game for the Playstation or the Saturn; more like the SNES, or even the 8-bit Nintendo.
Basically, the entire game revolves around going from room to room killing (the same) people and finding objects. Unfortunately, there are times when you need a key to enter the next room. If you don't have it, you might have to go back through the entire level to find it and if you can't, then you might as well turn off the machine (and play a real game) because you won't be going anywhere. The detail of the game is good in some areas: for example, when you bump a chair, it spins around; and when you hit an area that you just blew up, you receive damage (that might not be a good thing).
The sound and graphics are choppy and inconsistent. When you blow up barrels and other objects the explosions are pretty clear, but when you blow up certain robots, you see the explosion yet hear an annoying squirting noise. In other areas, the detail just sucks. You don't even see the bullets you shoot, just some dots on the wall. While everything else is blowing up, the wall that you're constantly shooting doesn't sustain any damage, nor do some of the computers that you hit. Also, a fall from an elevator looks like a two frame fall. You don't even see yourself falling!
Another incredibly frustrating aspect of the game is the controls. Unlike Diablo (in which you only need to point to a certain area to move), it is almost impossible to get used to the controls of Crusader. There are two different types of control: absolute movement (press the direction where you wish to move) and relative (move in the direction relative to where you character is facing). Both are clumsy and due to the heavy lack of graphical detail, just tapping a direction once still causes the character to move a great deal. Each step appears to take only two frames, making the animation very choppy. Under absolute controls, you can only move in four directions. In order to shoot, you must stop moving. In order to shoot in multiple directions, you must to spin around and around shooting (which, needless to say, looks retarded).
Probably the worst part of the game is the monotony. It just seems that the people at Origin got a little lazy while preparing this game. Unlike games like Biohazard, Crusader stays at the same view throughout the entire game. Each person you kill makes the same annoying sound with a slight variation in pitch. When the enemy speaks, they all have the same unclear voice. When you get hit, you grunt obscenely, which sounds like a person taking a dump. The Silencer only has a couple of moves, a walk, and a crummy, useless roll. And every dead person has the same bland looking blood puddle.
It is true that you get various weapons during the course of the game, but good luck trying to use them. Using many of the items require pressing a button (usually the triangle) along with a particular direction. The problem is that to search certain areas, you also need to press the triangle button; and when you're walking in a certain direction, you often accidentally use your (limited) weapon, or worse yet, one of your med kits when you have FULL health!!
The Playstation and Saturn versions are equally disappointing. I haven't played the PC version of this game, but after playing these console versions, I don't want to. Although the label says it is for ages 17 and up, don't let that mislead you into thinking this is some kind of intense, action packed game stuffed with violence and blood. On the contrary, it won't take more than an hour for the most patient player to get bored of Crusader.