In a year when we have had nothing else from Origin, Crusader : No Remorse is an0ther sci-fi action game. Its actually based on the Ultima 8 engine of all things although its been bumped up to SVGA graphics and is barely recognisable.
The game is set around 200 years in the future where the planet is being run by the World Economic Consortium, who run the sort of oppresive regime you expect in this sort of game. You used to be one of their elite soliders – a crusader but have gone over to the resistance for unspecified reasons.
The intro shows a few crusaders exploring a tunnel and getting blown up by a security bot. One of them survives and grenades it to death. This has nothing to do with the plot as far as I know.
Crusader definitely belongs to the interactive movie category and there is going to be a lot of FMV. When I start the game I get a video briefing from my commander. My first mission is going to be to go into this refinery and blow it up by destroying the thermal coupler. There is an informant somewhere in the refinery that I will need to get an access card from.
I’m thrown straight into the game. The controls are all keyboard based – its simple enough. Left and right spin me around, space shoots, forward and back to walk. If I hold shift I run and its ctrl to jump, roll. Space shoots.
As soon as I walk in the engineer walks up to the alarm on the wall and sets it off. This brings in a few soldiers which I have to shoot. If I aim in roughly the right direction I lock on to the target and a little bullseye appears on it, so its easy to know if you are aiming the right way or not. The controls aren’t a whole lot different to Bioforge really although the rolling around is a nice touch. You can quickly roll around an obstacle with your gun ready and take a guard out before he knows you are there.
Apart from guards there are robots I have to worry about and the usual collection of switches to raise lifts, lower forcefields, etc + locked doors that required keycards.
There are occasional computer screens which I can use. Most just have a silly message, occasionally I get a code or something useful.
There are a few healing stations dotted about the place which I can just walk into to receive full health.
We’ve also developed teleports by 2196 and I can teleport in and out of new areas.
This being a refinery there are pipes gushing steam which I have to turn valves to shut off.
There are also security features such as mines or cameras. I get a couple of seconds to take out cameras in each room. If I’m too slow guards appear and I need to shut off the alarm system again at the nearest panel.
There are also screens where I can control robots just like in Bioforge.
These robots have guns though. I can walk this thing into the next room and take out everyone in it with impunity.
I get a keycard I’ve been looking for in this room and that gets me into a previously secure area.
In here I run into the informant. He hands over a keycard which I’ll be needing.
The refinery is split onto several levels which I can access using lifts. The first level was huge and it took a good while to find this first lift.
That gets me to level 2 where my first task will be to jump over these flashing squares that electrocute me.
Something I haven’t mentioned is that all the scenery in this game is destructable. You can shoot barrels and set them rolling to explode when they hit a wall. Shoot up computers, equipment and pretty much anything you can see. Shooting here causes an explosion which takes out the guard in a big fireball.
I find another camera which lets me control the security turret here and clear out another room.
On level 4 I find my target.
I plant a blastpac on it and stand back to watch the fireworks.
I get another transmission. This guy is a hacker who will be getting me in and out of my missions using the teleport system. He has wired up a teleport on this level which will get me out of here if I can get to it.
I get to the exit teleport and get a nice FMV of the refinery blowing up.
I’m teleported back to the resitance hq for this area.
The commander here doesn’t seem to trust me much and his welcome is not too cheery.
In between missions I get to walk around the hq and talk to a few people. This is straight out of Wing Commander but its a nice touch for all that.
The TV is showing news of how the resistance blew up an allotment killing civilians and threatening food supplies – this is of course a lie.
This guy used to work for the WEC also as a broker of sorts. He is the only friendly welcome I’m going to get in this place.
These other 2 resistance members in the bar definitely do not want to know me – I’ll no doubt need to do a few missions to bring them around.
I was picking up credits throughout the last mission and I get to spend them here if I want with this guy called Weasel. He doesn’t have anything worth buying at the moment though.
The commander is in his office and gives me my next mission – to free some captured resistance members.
I walk off to the teleport pad and I’m straight into the mission.
This is another game I’ve not played in years. It still looks nice enough. The environments I’ve seen so far have been credible and very large. The digital soundtrack is a first for an Origin game so far also – it loops a bit too often for my liking but its still sounding ok.
Having done a mission, I’m thinking that Crusaders not going to give me a lot to write about. It’s an out and out action game and the missions roll into one with not that much difference between each area. The addition of the plot through FMV and discernable targets helps to keep it interesting although I have to say the acting in this is really bad. Take away that plot and this isn’t a lot more complex than Abuse. It’s more fun than Abuse and working my way through hordes of soldiers is satisfying but I reckon I can see myself getting a bit bored with it after 15 levels unless it has something new to offer along the way.