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Incredible Crisis (PlayStation) artwork

Incredible Crisis (PlayStation) review


"Incredible Crisis seeks to challenge, but not utterly destroy you. The stressful scenes are few and far between, and the zany story and intense mini-games are enough to stave off the usual bout of high blood pressure that most challenging titles conjure. It would rather see you snickering while wearing your best WTF face. What else would a game featuring giant possessed teddy bears, bank robbers dressed up like wolves, a shrinking chubby kid, and oodles of film references expect of you?"



I really want to say Incredible Crisis starts with a bang. You know, violent explosions, hostile takeovers, and animated sequences depicting acts of valor as deliciously cheesy as 80s action films. Instead, it starts off with a 47-year-old married Japanese man lusting after "the new girl" at his workplace. Before you can say "smut romance novel," the game segues into a rhythm-based mini-game a la PaRappa the Rapper where our 'hardened' hero, Taneo, seeks to win over the new girl's affection by impressing her with his dancing skills. After busting a move, he's chased out of the office and down a long hallway by a giant concrete globe. He eludes a crushing death by hopping onto a malfunctioning elevator that drops from a terrifying height. Incredible Crisis strays from the typical and the expected. Its quirkiness, unpredictability and wonderful variety of mini-games kept me playing, no matter how many f-bombs I dropped.

Taneo is not the only victim of circumstance, as his wife, son and daughter also try to survive their day of insanity. Each event in their lives is a level, each level is a new mini-game with a simple objective: don't screw up! The more mistakes you make, the more your stress meter fills up, with a full stress meter resulting in a meltdown and a life loss--stress-induced heart attack, apparently.

I will admit that I was skeptical of the premise at first. A collection of mini-games without any sight of a multiplayer option sounded like a lazy casual title out to make a quick buck. It was Incredible Crisis's charm and uniqueness that won me over. You never knew what it was going to toss at you, either in terms of story or mini-games. You'll run away from a giant praying mantis on one level, dodging obstacles while utilizing temporary boosts at key points to speed ahead of the beast. Another sticks you in the back of an ambulance where paramedics assess your level of consciousness by asking bizarre trivia questions, shocking you with a defibrillator for incorrect responses. The level arrangement is such that you seldom play the same kind of game twice in a row. You'll jump from rhythmic timing to button mashing to brain power often enough to prevent repetition.

No, it's not repetition you have to worry about, but a stiff challenge factor. I can't count the number of times I've wanted set my house on fire because a session of this game left me so pissed off. Etsuko, Taneo's wife, has a rather irritating rhythm stage with a visual prompt that drove me insane. Rather than sending button prompts at you in a neat little line, it sends them down several vertical lines and has them switch lines at certain points. It's manageable until it pours a ton of button presses down your throat and expects you to nail them precisely. With so many coming at me and about a dozen confusing switcheroos before hitting the bottom (and with barely a breath in between notes), hanging myself sounded like a great idea. It's thankful that there aren't many skull-crushing stages, but what few there are could cause you to have a meltdown in real life.

Adding to the stress is the oldest threat known to gamers: the game over screen. Incredible Crisis wants you to remember the NES years: finite lives and continues. Even though this is a crushing blow to most modern gamers accustomed to concepts like reloading and infinite respawning, it's not without leniency. You can occasionally save progress, but that's a double-edged sword. Each save takes into account your remaining lives and continues, and saving at a particularly frustrating cluster stages with only a few lives and no continues left could cut short your playthrough.

Incredible Crisis seeks to challenge, but not utterly destroy you. The stressful scenes are few and far between, and the zany story and intense mini-games are enough to stave off the usual bout of high blood pressure that most challenging titles conjure. It would rather see you snickering while wearing your best WTF face. What else would a game featuring giant possessed teddy bears, bank robbers dressed up like wolves, a shrinking chubby kid, and oodles of film references expect of you? Don't pick it up expecting a party game, don't play it for the challenge factor, and don't avoid it because it's obscure, silly and downright insane. Play it because it's a hell of an experience, one you won't get from almost any other game.

Rating: 9/10

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (February 29, 2012)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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zippdementia posted February 29, 2012:

Oh shit, so THAT's where Flloyd's image is from.

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