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Ben and Andy, the two top Special Service agents have accepted a very dangerous assignment – the elimination of Mr.K and his Artificial Life System.
Mr. K plans to rid the Earth of human life forms using the killer robots he’s created, and no one but Ben and Andy can stop him.
Help them to infiltrate the chilling futuristic city, place Clystron bombs and get out before they blow.
Two Agents Versus An Army Of Robots? I Like My Odds.CrimsonWizard | Feb. 6, 2013 | See all CrimsonWizard's reviews »
Crack Down (not to be confused with the XBOX 360's Crackdown series) is a run and gun style shooter developed by SEGA. The mysterious Mr. X (or Mr. K depending on the version) has managed to amass an army of robotic soldiers to wipe out humanity to make room for his artificial life forms. Why is he doing this you may ask? Does he feel humankind is overpopulating the earth, has become corrupt and is ruining the planet, or because he was a scientist whose robotic theories were dismissed? Ha ha, shut up and get shooting. Like most arcade games and their ports, the game uses the premise merely as an excuse for the actual action.
Thankfully, the actual action is good, though difficult. It has some similarities to arcade classic Gauntlet with an over head view and respawning enemies. However, rather than just collect treasure and escape, your goal in Crack Down is to set several time bombs on key locations on your map throughout Mr. X's facilities to destroy his robot production lines. Of course, you'll have to set them all and escape in time or else you'll blown up yourself and have to restart the stage.
Along the way, you'll have to shoot it out with many of Mr. X's robots, ducking in and out of hallways to avoid the return fire. Among your weapons are a standard rifle (one shot, one kill), a piercing cannon whose shells will keep flying until they hit a wall, and finally a screen clearing smart bomb which will pierce walls and kill all enemies you can see. Despite this arsenal, you're very vulnerable and will die in one shot, but thankfully you can restart where you were killed as long as you have lives and continues left. Only failing to escape before the bombs burst will send you back to start.
To the game's credit, it keeps testing you throughout too, with each stage offering some new kinds of bad guys, and level hazards such as moving platforms or crumbling floors. It's a pity the graphics are so dated, but you can at least tell what's going on, and the music is decent. The game also has a 2 player mode as well, making it easier to progress by flanking your enemies and to reach the time bomb sites faster.
Admittedly, Crack Down has a bit of unnecessary arcade difficulty, but the core game is solid and entertaining. Each stage builds on the last with some sort of new threat or obstacle, keeping things interesting. For three bucks, if you're looking something in the vein of Gauntlet or just want a decent game about shooting robots, this game will satisfy that itch.
Fun Fact: Mr. X was a mad scientist in this game, but would later pop up again in Sega's Streets of Rage series as a mafia boss behind it all, who would eventually dabble in building robots in the sequels. Whether there's any connection is unknown, but that's what happens when you use generic cover names for your villains.
Getting a little long in the tooth.GAMERamble | April 11, 2011 | See all GAMERamble's reviews »
Crack Down is another arcade classic that got ported to the Megadrivea and is now finally available for play on computer. The gameplay is standard run and gun fare with your two agents traversing levels while planting bombs and killing enemies. The game actually shares a lot of similarities with another arcade classic of the same era, Gauntlet. Crack Down makes for a nice diversion from bigger titles but unless you are playing it again for nostalgia reasons there's not much reason to give it a go when there are so many other classics available.