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Crusaders of Might and Magic
Platform:  Playstation
# of Players:  1
Developer:  New World Computing
Publisher:  3DO
Features:  Dual Shock
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
Your name is Drake and a legion of the undead has come to your town and murdered your family. You vow revenge. For a hybrid RPG / action game that has a plot, I was expecting more than that, but that's pretty much it. The story is unoriginal, and wasn't particularly good the first time someone used it. The writing is awful and the lame attempts at humor don't help matters any.

The graphics aren't much better than the plot. The backgrounds are very dark and rarely change within a level, and if you get anywhere near them, they become big, grey squares. I wouldn't advise going near them anyway, because you'll get stuck and you won't be able to turn around, and sometimes they'll disappear and you won't know where the hell you are because you MIGHT have turned around (that's what you were trying to do in the first place, right?) but you probably didn't. I also had problems turning around when I got close to enemies, which was unfortunate, because you have to get close to them in order to kill them.

The game is in no way an adventure. You may talk to characters, but you don't have a choice as to what to say to them. You may have a choice as to which way to walk, but if you go the wrong way, you'll be killed instantly. The levels are not, as the people who made the game would have you believe, vast, explorable worlds where you can run around and encounter characters and interact with them in ways that will change the plot. It's actually extremely linear. The forest level is a clear example. You cannot walk amongst the trees and find interesting creatures and objects and hidden places. The fact that the trees look like they're painted on walls that surround the almost perfectly straight path that you have no choice but to walk down gets in the way of exploration just a little bit.

Every once in a while,you'll encounter one of about three kinds of enemies, and you'll have to either club them or stab them or cast a spell to throw a fireball at them. Different attacks are effective against different enemies, and the other attacks are so ineffective, you'll find yourself wasting a lot of heath potion figuring out which one to use. Once you do, just remember which bad guys and which attack go together, and you might be bored, but at least you won't be dead. It doesn't matter much if you die, because you can just go back to the place you last saved, and save places aren't hard to find. The ways I found myself dying were really frustrating. I missed a ledge I was supposed to jump on because it was impossible to see, I walked over something that blew up because it looked exactly like a weapon I already had and wanted more of, I went the wrong direction when faced with a "choice", I used a throwing axe on a rock monster, and everybody know you can't do that, or I hit the wrong button in the castle because there are so many damn buttons and options and menus that I got confused, and my fireball hit a wall and the guards, who were supposed to be on my side, hacked me up with their swords. It hit a wall. A wall.

I have always hated RPGs. The stories are bad and unoriginal, the writing is either bad to begin with or badly translated from Japanese, and there might be a few endings, but you can never really affect the outcome to any extent that would make them worth playing. Allowing you to throw spells at undead creatures instead of choosing to do so from a menu is not enough to make an RPG playable, especially not one with such horrible graphics and linear maps. Stay away from this game.

Robert Cirkeljirque

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