Review by: Mike Laidlaw
Published: October 2, 2001
Some consider chaos to be the single ordering principle in the universe, and thus rationalize that the only thing we can expect is the unexpected. For some brave souls, though, their lives are dedicated to maintaining order and while physics may dictate that they stand on the losing side of the war, these brave men and women are nonetheless vital to the continued existence of society as a whole. They have been called the thin blue line between anarchy and order, and in times like these we must truly appreciate the police, fire and rescue workers of the world for their tremendous heroism, courage in the face of despair and single-minded dedication to the protection of the innocent. While no mere game can truly capture their momentous task, countless releases have cast gamers in the role of protector, and their almost universal success clearly indicates that players love to stand on the side of good whenever possible. Now, thanks to Take 2 Interactive and developer Syscom, owners of the PlayStation 2 can strap themselves into the role of a helicopter rescue pilot in City Crisis.
City Crisis invites you to hop into one of three rescue helicopters in order to complete your task. The smallest of these is also the most maneuverable and is known as the Goldfish. Unfortunately, its diminutive size translates directly into poor capacity for rescued people, and maneuverability comes at the cost of speed. Moving up a notch, once finds the dolphin, which is the best all-around helicopter. More durable than its yellow cousin, the Dolphin is also faster and can hold one additional rescue victim, though extra size hampers its agility somewhat. If agility is truly not a concern, then look no further than the lumbering Lobster; tough and large, this beast can withstand considerable punishment. Of course, it slogs through the air as the slowest of the three main helicopters, and while it can hold the most people, the necessary rotor width makes it a tight fit in most rescue situations. For those who complete the game, there’s even a secret fourth helicopter waiting for them, modeled similar to an Orca from the Command and Conquer series.
Once on board your chosen bird, there are a variety of different tasks awaiting you, but fortunately there’s a training mode to walk you through the tricky parts before you’re thrust into the heat of the situation. In addition to this flight academy, City Crisis lets you run a time trial through hoops suspended over the cityscape. Tight control of the chopper is vital in this sequence, so players looking to rank high in the standings will have to master the flight controls. Fortunately, they are fairly simple, since all directional movement is carried out through the two analog controllers. Since helicopters are blessed with such freedom of movement, the left pad lets you slide your bird to either side or accelerate forward or in reverse. Top speed, of course, comes when angling the nose forward, so proper facing is vital and this is where the right stick comes in. Left and Right movement on the right stick rotates your chopper in the appropriate direction, and pushing up or down on this same controller drops and raises the altitude respectively. While it may not seem intuitive, the setup makes sense when put into practice, and allows you considerable freedom when exploring the city.