‘Crackdown’ lays the smackdown

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By Chris Wolf

By Chris Wolf

While “Crackdown” isn’t one of the most original gaming concepts in terms of its storyline and overall objective (fight gangs and blow stuff up), it certainly does tickle the part of my brain where attention defecit disorder is made. “Crackdown,” however, lacks any deep or comprehensive story, which really would have added some meat to this otherwise stellar game.

With the main storyline taking under 10 hours to complete, “Crackdown,” in terms of what a game should normally be, is horrible. There is a loosely threaded plot that puts you in the shoes of a super agent that must crack down (no pun intended) on gangs that are causing chaos in your town, Pacific City. There is a large amount of weapons, but nothing new or innovative (besides the “rubber ducky of death”) that hasn’t already been in this type of game before. The boss fights are way too easy, and consist of “start at point A, blow everything up in your path to get to point B, kick the gang’s boss in the face, rinse and repeat 30 times and you have saved the city!” Also, “Crackdown’s” mediocre musical offerings consist of what sound like audition tapes for a trance nightclub.

Calling “Crackdown” a game might be a misnomer; “Über-Badassery Moment Generator” is a much more fitting title. The ability to play through the game online with a friend is one of “Crackdown’s” most endearing features. A majority of the time I spent playing co-op wasn’t to advance further in the game, it was to see what kind of crazy stunt I could pull off, or how far I could kick my teammate off a 30-story building.

“Crackdown” allows you to build your character in five different categories: strength, which allows you to lift objects and kick enemies farther; agility, which enables you to make Incredible Hulk-like bounds; firearms, which helps you lock onto enemies quicker; explosives, which… well they help grenades make a bigger boom; and lastly, driving, which transforms your agency vehicle from a lemon to a tricked out ride that even Xzibit would drool over. The “Havok” physics engine, coupled with awesome sound effects, makes for epic firefights and explosions that make you forget that “Crackdown” even has a storyline. Who needs missions when I can stack up ten trucks and a handful of propane tanks and blow them sky high?

For every slip-up that “Crackdown” has, there’s a handful of near perfections to counter it. If you’re looking for an alternative to “Saint’s Row” or “Grand Theft Auto,” “Crackdown’s” rapid change of pace will not leave you unsatisfied.

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