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
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.
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!