STAFF REVIEW of Crimson Sea (Xbox)


Monday, February 24, 2003.
by Tony Ingrassia

Crimson Sea Box art If you like shooting and slashing your way through hoards of enemies Crimson Sea has quite a bit to offer. With a little RPG style to it, nice graphics and Elaborate levels, this Japanese style epic is worth a looksy.


CS controls are pretty basic albight not layed out in the best manner. With a little practice you'll get used to the configuration and your off. You are Sho, a private detective who gets recruited by IAG (Intlegece Agency of the Galaxies)to be part of G-Squad. Joined by his young, mouthy sidekick Yangqin (who i thought was a girl for the first few levels)they embark on their adventure. The begining of the game turns out to be a prequel of sorts and is kind of annoying, as you progress through the initial level you come accross the other members of your squad,Kecak and Bow Rahn. Together you must defeat hoards of bug like creatures, water monsters and bosses that may be responsible for the deaths of many inocent people and IAG members. Armed with a Viper hand gun (to start) and a blade,Sho can find power ups for himself as well as his team, better weapons (which are also customizable) and health packs. The team progresses together for the most part and you can manipulate their formation to better suit the situation. Using a grid interface you can decide where your teammates will be positioned around you as well as the direction their initial attack will be concentrated. Sho has various ways of eluding and conquering his enemies,jumping,dashing,180 degree turn and a lock on system for your guns. Since Sho is the leader he is also responsible for his squad, meaning he needs to watch the squads individual health meters and dispence regeneration as he see fit. The pace in CS is pretty frantic, resembling Gunvalkry at times but designed a bit better. The camera angles are a big drawback, very jerky and hard to figure out in the heat of battle, very distracting at times. Your quest will take you across 6 worlds and over 20 stages, each stage completed posts your results for that stage based on time, damage,enemies, and max hits, giving you a rank and possibly a reward. After each quest you will also return to IAG Headquarters were you can shop for items and weapons, work on your skills as well as Master Neo-Psionic skills. NP skills are aquired as you pick up BP capsules, NP skills require certain amounts of BP to unlock, so as you ac !&%$@#* ulate the proper number of BP you will aquire 1 of 6 NP skills. Marionette, Meteore Crash, Blastfire, Cure, Protection, and Deathray. This is the "Modas Operendi" of Crimson Sea to quote one of it's charecters. Crimson Sea offers more than the 1st hour or 2 of gameplay suggest, entertaining but probably short lived for most. The Japanes style will appeal to fans of the genre, so give it a fair shake and you will have an entertaining adventure.


Visually Crimson Sea is great to look at. Large worlds with many areas, detailed monsters and charecters. There is a little pre-rendering going on in Crimson Sea, but it blends in nicelly with the game. The masses of enemies are very impresive and bosses are very well done. What really kills CS's look, and knocked the score down aquite a bit, is the annoying camera angles and jerkiness during gameplay. Very dissapointing.


The soundtrack and voice acting stay true to the Japanese style of Crimson Sea, effective but a little over the top. The ambient sound is really non existent, but 5.1 DD lends itself well to the mass of enemies around you. Special effects like gunfire and blade swipes are mediocre at best but tolerable. Could have been much inproved.


Suggestions:
The idea behind this game is solid, it just needs some polish and it could be a winner.


Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10

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