The Crow: City of Angels
Windows - 1996
Also available on: SEGA Saturn
Description of The Crow: City of Angels
There may be logic to Acclaim's game development strategy, but I haven't a clue what it might be. A quick glance at their most recent creations, Batman Forever, Dragonheart, MtG: Battlemage, etc, shows a troubling trend--they've all had big names, and they've all been big flops. It seems the company has lost touch with the concept of making original, enjoyable computer games. The Crow: City of Angels, based on the movie by the same name, is cast from the same o mold.
The game more or less follows the course of the movie, but does an even poorer job of conveying the sinister story of vengeance. You play those role of Ashe Corven, a man who is killed with his son by a Los Angeles street gang. However you are brought back into the world of the living by the mystical force known as 'The Crow' to seek revenge for the murder of your son and find eternal rest for your soul.
The game is played as a series of fighting sequences, propelling your character through the levels and down the plotline to eventually challenge the evil 'underworld' crime boss and satisfy your vengeance. In each area you must kill a handful of goons and the general scum who stand between you and your ultimate goal. At the end of each combat sequence, you are directed towards the next enemy-infested area where the process repeats itself. The environment isn't quite as restrictive as one you might find in a rail shooter, but there is no game world to explore as you might hope. In some instances you might walk around the room and find a weapon previously hidden from view, but that is pretty well the extent of the self-discovery and environment interaction elements of gameplay. I guess it doesn't exactly bold well for the game when I tell you the environment is still one of its most interesting features.
Dead Man Waddling
The combat in Crow is uninspired and pretty dull. You have the standard beat-em-up punches and kicks to defeat the enemies, but there's no finesse--it's a game designed for button mashers. The control over movement is also quite limited with no option for jumps or rolls. The standard fight consists of standing at arm's-length away from one or more enemies and pummelling them with blows until they crumple over and die. No fancy multi-hit combos, no dazzling special effects (despite your 'unearthly powers' described by the box), nada. Excited yet? Ok, ok, the game does provide some weapons such as knives, crowbars, guns, etc to spice things up. But one-hit-kill weapons such as the machine gun in the hands of an enemy will annoy you as much as they help once you've beaten it out of the bad guy's grasps--with your bare hands I might add. You don't have an inventory to keep these weapons one you get them either. You can't stuff away your knife for later use once you've found the more powerful lead pipe, and likewise you can't save a spent pistol in the hopes of finding more ammunition later on in the game. You can only carry what you hold in your hands, and more often than not, your fists are your best investment.
The game's graphics are decent but hardly spectacular. The introduction and various movie snippets are grainy and rather short. The in-game graphics are nicely done with realistic-looking levels and textured polygon enemies. The character movement animation isn't quite up to snuff though, as enemies tend to waddle rather than walk, making some rather dire situations seem quite laughable. Audio-wise the game is equally average. You'll acknowledge its presence but won't remember much of it afterwards.
The Crow: City of Angels is a very average game. The movie was scathed by critiques and the game will fare little better. Though the game does feature a bit more gameplay than we've seen come out of Acclaim lately, there is still much to be desired. The storyline weakly strings together fighting sequences, which in all honesty, would be put to shame by any 3D fighter released to date. This is a game to be best avoided by all but the most insistent Crow cultist.
Review By GamesDomain
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SEGA Saturn ROM
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