Grab your gun and help fight with the resistance. - Review By Vash T. Stampede - Page 1/2
Death Crimson OX is the third in a series that began its tortured life on the Sega Saturn in Japan. While the original games were among the truly awful Saturn titles, the newest iteration fares slightly better by graduating to the level of utterly forgettable. The game is not necessarily terrible, but it is so rough around the edges that players are left wondering why anyone bothered.
The story, such as it is, makes House of the Dead 2 look like Citizen Kane. A vaguely defined organization called SMO is plotting (gasp!) world domination. When Lily, the leader of the resistance movement fighting SMO (cleverly named "The Resistance"), is captured, a single rogue SMO agent named Kou and Lily's daughter, Yuri, set out to rescue her. Conveniently, Kou stole two pistols when he escaped, which apparently are jointly named "Crimson," and these powerful weapons (referred to as a single entity throughout the game) allow Kou and Yuri to go after the SMO with a vengeance. Of course, the SMO will do anything to get its grubby paws on Crimson (both of them, no less), so wackiness inevitably ensues.
Shoot them before they slash you!
Characterization is never the strong point of light gun games, but the designers of this one made a couple of half-hearted efforts. For instance, players learn in the intro and instruction manual that Lily makes a "mean macaroni and cheese." Unfortunately, the designers didn't decide to share anything else about her. Why is she fighting SMO? Why do people follow her? If she established an entire resistance group, why does it fall to her daughter and one guy to rescue her? Who knows?
Along the way, Kou and Yuri battle bosses with intimidating names like "Sword the Stink," which at least demonstrates that "Death Crimson OX" wasn't some sort of fluke in the naming conventions of the game.
The game has a couple of different modes of play, including the aforementioned "story" mode, a "mission" mode, and a "bullet" mode. Mission mode essentially is just a way to practice a particular level of the game with all the cut scenes removed. Once the player completes the particular mission, he is scored and returned to the selection screen where he can choose a different level to play through. Bullet mode is essentially a more difficult version of the mission mode. The player still chooses a particular level to play through, but this time, in addition to keeping track of the player's hit points, it also tracks how many times he has missed. If the player misses too many times, his hit points fall to zero and the level ends.
These characters seem to be very observant.
This is not a great game by any stretch of the imagination. Still, there are one or two things that stand out as being pretty good. The game is fairly well balanced. There aren't a lot of cheap hits, and even when there are civilians running around, the game is pretty reasonable about making sure that the player isn't forced to take hits or shoot the civilians.
On the subject of difficulty, the game achieves a good balance, and has a number of difficulty settings. On the whole, the "very easy" setting starts out easy and gets progressively harder as play continues, while "very hard" starts out hard and gets worse. Although some of the bosses are ridiculously fast, for the most part they have logical patterns and weak points that the player can hit if he is halfway decent. Another nice touch is that the standard magazine in Death Crimson OX holds ten bullets, as opposed to six (the standard in most games of this type). The extra bullets make enough of a difference that players won't feel they're reloading quite as frequently. It isn't a huge difference, but the magazine size definitely "feels" more generous. The game plays quite well with a light gun, and plays acceptably with the standard controller, although anyone who likes light gun games enough to actually buy this one already owns a couple of light gun controllers.
Some of the character and creature designs are actually pretty interesting, although most of the characters are mediocre. The game offers one somewhat interesting design innovation in the form of its "machine gun" power up. When the player has this power up, he can hold down the trigger to charge the machine gun. When the player releases the trigger, the charge slowly diminishes, with the gun shooting continuously until the charge has been completely depleted. Unfortunately, this is the only power up in the game.
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