STAFF REVIEW of Crimson Sea (Xbox)

Monday, March 17, 2003.
by VAN

Crimson Sea Box art Crimson Sea, by Koei Games Corporation, offers fans of epic space battles a large helping of intergalactic carnage with a side order of crappy controls and crude camera work. If you want to show off the graphical powers of the Xbox system, invite your friends over and slide this disc in?just don?t let them attempt to play the game.

Tragic. Absolutely tragic. After being treated to a spectacular opening cinematic which preps you for battle and sets the tone of the game, you quickly realize that this game is a looker and not a player. Think of a Ferrari with square tires and a three inch steering wheel. Gorgeous to behold, but an absolute nightmare to control.

While walking in a straight line is a relatively simple task, it is unfortunate that 99% of the games battles require you to move laterally or?heaven forbid?turn around.

Couple the dodgy player controls with some of the most horrendous camera work ever to be given a gold seal for inclusion into a game, and you have a recipe for an extremely frustrating game with an extraordinarily steep learning curve. Besides, how lame is it that the most frequently used defensive maneuver is called ?shuffling?-- a term typically reserved to describe your fat co-worker scurrying to retrieve the last remaining donut.

If there is to be a saving grace for Crimson Sea, it would have to be the graphics. Spanning the gamut from the truly awe inspiring, to the downright hokey, Crimson Sea?s visuals are anything but consistent, but at least they are nice to look at. Character models are reminiscent of those found in a game like Final Fantasy, and they work well here. Environments are well-crafted and tremendously expansive, though features such as foliage and water would seem more at home on a console like the PS1 or N64.

Stage bosses are easily the most visually stunning aspect of the game, as their sheer size and complexity of design makes you sit back and say ?Wow.? Just don?t sit there with mouth agape for too long, or you will quickly find yourself being handed a severe beating.

The ladies and gentlemen of Koei?s audio department deserve kudos for providing gamers with an outstanding orchestral soundtrack. Effects are top notch, and while the voice acting can become a little over-the-top at times, in no way does it detract (or add) to the overall enjoyment of the game.

If a sequel is planned, please work on the dodgy controls and incredibly unforgiving camera work. You have created a visual masterpiece with Crimson Sea?unfortunately the control and camera issues render it nearly unplayable, and definitely unmemorable.

Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 4.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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