Based on the popular German TV cop show Alarm for Cobra 11, Crash Time is a racing game featuring %26lsquo;investigations%26rsquo; in what can loosely be called an open world. But the name is a lie. Crash Time is no cobra; it%26rsquo;s a python that squeezes the fun out of racing. The latest title in Activision%26rsquo;s splurge of budget releases is one of their better offerings, but those tears of laughter won%26rsquo;t console you much when you see FlatOut Ultimate Carnage for half the price.
The main issue is Crash Time%26rsquo;s schizophrenic rules. One mission you%26rsquo;ll be dodging between oncoming traffic, the next you%26rsquo;ll earn yourself an automatic fail for taking a wrong turn. The lack of a map is simply inexcusable and thanks to on-screen arrows which are frequently wrong you%26rsquo;ll be restarting missions more than once. We criticized Burnout Paradise for a lack of race directions but, next to this, Paradise%26rsquo;s navigation is as challenging as NASCAR%26rsquo;s.
Tailing enemies is a task made difficult thanks to some pretty harsh distance restrictions, and when you%26rsquo;ve got to stop cars from escaping, the game can fail completely. We were feeling pretty smug once we%26rsquo;d boxed in one criminal and set about damaging his car to reach the 100% target. That is, until he respawned 250 metres away - well beyond the 180 metre escape limit - and we faced a %26lsquo;Mission Failed%26rsquo; screen. Again.
It all feels so unfinished. You%26rsquo;ve got to question whether the development team has even heard of hi-definition, or if they quite grasp the concept of an open world when some roads end in mid-air and your car flies into the ether without notice. But scrape beneath the layers of Crash Time and there%26rsquo;s still something perversely enjoyable to be found. The variety isn%26rsquo;t fantastic - you%26rsquo;re always chasing someone or hitting checkpoints - but somehow the %26lsquo;so bad it%26rsquo;s good%26rsquo; rule applies.
Plot development (if we can even call it that) is horrendously funny thanks to the worst voice acting we%26rsquo;ve ever had the displeasure of hearing and %26lsquo;stories%26rsquo; that make no sense whatsoever. It%26rsquo;s a budget game that%26rsquo;s still overpriced, but it%26rsquo;s good for a giggle and it%26rsquo;ll make you appreciate Burnout Paradise even more than you do already. Every cloud and all that.
June 3, 2008