It's a rough world out there.
You think your life sucks? That day after day you get pounded with disaster after disaster? It can't be that bad. At least you haven't been shrunk to the size of a insect. And hey, at least you haven't been forced to save an alien mother ship from an all-out naval attack. Most of all, at least your teddy bear hasn't attacked any major cities today.
Maybe your life doesn't look so bad anymore. So let's laugh at the people whose lives do suck, like the family in Incredible Crisis.
Incredible Crisis is sort of a non-game. Sure, it has all the auspices of being a game; you push buttons and there are images sent to your screen. But it isn't truly interactive. Incredible Crisis is more like a crack-addled TV show out of Japan, with mini-games at major points in the story. The mini-games run the gamut of every mini-game ever created, but the sum of these parts don't quite equal a full game.
It's grandma Hatsu's birthday, and to celebrate, Mama Etsuko has promised to make a special dinner. The whole family promises to get home early. Ririka, the daughter, is planning on ditching school to drop by the shopping mall. Tsuyoshi, the son, will just kick it in the backyard. And Daddy Taneo just has to get through work. Seems like your average nuclear family. But the only thing nuclear here are the explosions and carnage that will happen to this unlucky, unassuming household over the course of this truly bizarre day.
Taneo is the big star of the game. He starts his day at his "salary-man" job. Life is boring. Outside his building, a helicopter is placing the finishing touches on an Atlas style sculpture. All that remains is placing the giant marble sphere of the world into place. Kisama! (Japanese for basically: "oh crap!") The wire holding the ball snapped! Waaah! The sphere has crashed through the window!
A la Indiana Jones, this big globe chases Taneo through a variety of hilarious situations. Continuously and unrelenting, the sphere seeks but to smash Taneo into a pancake. What does it all mean? Perhaps the greater implication is a metaphor for how the world threatens to keep Taneo down, smashing his hopes and dreams. Or maybe it's just funny to watch Taneo wide mouthed and crying like a little baby. Taneo's a Japanese Homer Simpson, and I love him.
Much of the charm and feel of the game owes itself to how much Japanese culture flows through its veins. Maybe it's the way this family handles adversity so optimistically. Or maybe it's all the little Japanese outcries and sayings, like "Lucky!" with the heavy accent. Or maybe it's the way Taneo cries like a little baby. Whatever the reason, Incredible Crisis is incredibly endearing and a crack-up to boot.
The personality of Incredible Crisis is established by the kicking musical score. Get this - Japanese ska. Seriously! And it sounds great. The main theme of the game is an upbeat ska rhythm, intermixed with Japanese phrases shouted out. It's catchy and fun. Though not all of the music is ska; some of it takes a more classical or jazzy bent, but as a whole, the music works well with the charm of the game.
But now we come to the problem spot. From mini-game to mini-game you go, just to find out what happens next. The mini-games aren't deep enough. You've got Taneo doing a dance routine like Bust-A-Groove. Etsuko is forced to play music accompanied by wolf-mask wearing bank robbers much like Beatmania. And loads of mini-games, from emptying out a sinking boat to running away from the globe of death, involve little more than wily button mashing similar to games from the Track and Field genre.
Furthermore, the continue system starts out on the difficult side. You are given limited continues, and if you lose them all, its "Game over, man." But once you get over that initial hitch of the first few levels, you'll be able to save and continue from your saves. After you complete each set of mini-games, you are graded for your work. The better your grades, the more additional continues you can earn.
Still, Incredible Crisis is just mini-game after mini-game, like the horribly boring Mario Party. The only compelling reason to play through them is to get to the next part of the bizarre story. But after you're all done, there's no strong reason to play it again, except for showing your friends Taneo and his wacky antics.
How can I describe Incredible Crisis? Wack? Yeah, that it. Wack...but not in the bad sense. After all, Incredible Crisis has taught me so many important lessons for my own life. Morals like "Steal not the Golden Pig or else it'll try to bring about apocalypse" or "Take alien UFOs to karaoke." If only there was more game underneath, then all would be well. As it stands, Incredible Crisis is a rental only (though it sells for a very affordable 20 bucks), not so much to play as to watch for its pure craziness. Sugoi!