This game is a poor man’s fantasy Tomb Raider
. You are Drake, you start out in a dungeon as a captive, and you must save the world. This is pretty typical fantasy fare, and the game can’t be slighted for that. If only the gameplay made up for the plot points, it’d be great, right?
Well, in short, it doesn’t. The combat system is tedious and silly (click, attack, run away, click, attack), with the occasional spell to mix it up. The A.I. ranges from brainless to cliff-jumping. The so-called RPG elements add practically nothing to the game whatsoever. And there are almost humorous flubs caused by “level loads” that aren’t quite separate levels. Even at the beginning of the game, you can go back and kill the same monster twice and get another Healing Potion to aid you in your cause. Continuity? Bah. Saving the world from the undead hordes has never been so fraught with linearity and, well, boring plot points and action.
You’re herded through the entire game on a path that you can’t veer from, and because of this, the whole experience point system becomes moot. There are N creatures to kill, and you get experience after you kill M number of enemies, so the designers simply put enough to get you to the level THEY want you to be at. One of the joys of a true RPG is the fact that you can go wander off into the middle of nowhere, slaughter enemies for a while, and come back and totally kick everything’s ass because you’re more powerful than the game expects. Not so here -- well, you can still kick everything’s ass if you know how to click correctly, but it has nothing to do with your level.
I don’t know what happened here, really. The Might and Magic line has always been quite strong in the hardcore RPG crowd, but it transitioned very poorly into the action genre.
But that’s not all. Besides the glaring continuity errors, Crusaders suffers from multiple hall-of-mirror effects, most of them in plain view during the game. And if that wasn’t enough, the doors tend to not work correctly, picking up items with the Action key sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, and in one house, two people proclaimed to me that they were the same person. Perhaps it’s one of those kinds of families. Haystacks make metallic clinking sounds when you hit them with your sword as well. Perhaps Rumplestiltskin had his way with the grain around this world.
The worst part of the game, however, and the part that drives my score down so much, is the pointless wastes of space. You’ll run for a minute and a half through slightly-hilly terrain/dungeon/whatever your current location is to get to the next place. What do you see while you’re walking there? Two, maybe three textures (ground and wall), the occasional shadow, and maybe a coin or two in a dark corner. That’s it. Now, prepare to do this a whole lot. Sound fun?
Didn’t think so.