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25Aug/092

Xbox Live Indie Games Review - Jonny Crush

xboxboxartLike I said in my earlier trial impression, this was the first attempt at a real first person shooter for the XBL Indie Games. And it's actually not half bad once you get past the bad bits. You are Jonny Crush, and apparently the city has been overrun by aliens or aliens dumping off giant bugs. And I mean, these suckers are BIG. And there are LOTS of 'em (the game claims up to 1,000 per level, and I don't doubt it). You get various typical first person shooter weapons (and some not so typical) in your quest to eradicate every single bug. There's bugspray that is actually quite useful early in the game, an M4 Combine assault rifle, the trusty shotgun that will take out several of the weaker enemies in one shot up close, an SMG for when you want to shoot really fast ... but it's pretty weak.  Then there's a sniper rifle that has 2 levels of zoom to it. I've never liked sniper rifles in games personally, but for something like this is a little different story. The trusty rocket launcher which is probably the most impressive weapon in the game. A minigun which is my personal favorite, high speed, high power, hell yeah. Then a weapon called Hammerhead that I haven't unlocked yet. But from th picture it looks like it could be some form of jackhammer.

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The graphics are decent, but not without their problems. The levels ... if they ARE different in layout you can't tell because they all look the same. A barren wasteland of a city with no cars, no street lights, no stairs leading up to the building or anything and humongous blocky buildings. The textures are blurry but serviceable, it looks a little bit like a Nintendo 64 game in that regard. The enemies are huge and fairly well detailed, but the animation is next to nothing. When they crawl off a building for example, there's no animation showing them going from the building to the ground. They just appear there. And sometimes you'll find enemies beside buildings that you just can't shoot for some reason. When they attack you, it doesn't really look or feel like an attack, in fact the only way you know you're BEING attacked is that your blood will splatter on the screen for a second. And when you kill an enemy up close, their blood splatters on the screen. When you die, there's no animation or something of you falling over and getting ravaged by the bugs, it just basically says "You used a life" and that's it. On the same note, there are a HELL of a lot of enemies on screen with the frame rate, for the most part, staying pretty solid.

There are a fair number of different enemy types ranging from cockroaches and ants to bees and dragonflies (which are hard to aim at because they move pretty quick). And there's also giant worms that come up out of the ground and slam themselves on you. But the toughest enemy in the game has to be ... I''m thinking it's a beetle. They can take numerous point blank rocket blasts, the only way I've found to reliably kill them is a few sniper rifle shots directly to their damn faces. And the enemies in the Final Encounter level are significantly different than anything else in the game in regards to appearance and seem to come from everywhere, including the sky. And somehow, I managed to glitch the game out and get BEHIND the caution tape wall that surrounds the levels, with the enemies attempting to follow. So I had all but 3 or 4 of the enemies right there in front of me, which was a pretty impressive sight I must say. One rocket blast and all but the flying enemies and those damn beetle things just fell over. :)

The guns look alright, but again, kind of Nintendo 64ish in appearance. Though the explosion from the rocket launcher is pretty damn coo with a huge fireball and smoke that completely obscures your vision for a short time. And the smoke trail that follows the rockets is pretty cool tool. Seeing the enemies fly apart in little pieces from a blast like that, bug pieces flying all over the place. Aaaah, very satisfying. :)

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The sound is pretty decent with the typical gun sounds (and the pathetic little whisp from the bug spray). The sound of a ton of bugs dying as a result of the minigun or M4 Combine is pretty cool, they have a significant alien sound to them, even though there isn't much variety in that regard. The music is ... fitting. Not good, not bad. It doesn't make me want to rip my ears out or anything. There's an option to turn down the music, the sound effects and the voices. But Jonny talking to a woman on the radio ... is few and far between. Given the type of game it is it would've been kinda neat to hear the cheesy Duke Nukem-esque one liners from time to time. :)

But the real star of the show sound-wise is the rocket launcher. When you fire that thing off and it hits something you KNOW it. It's the HUGE echoing explosion that just makes me wanna use it over and over and is very satisying hearing that explosion and a ton of bugs just blowing apart into a million pieces.

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Yes, I'm aware that it looks like a massively giant cock. :P

The gameplay is pretty standard for a first person shooter. You use the left and right analog sticks to control Jonny, the right trigger to shoot. The left trigger to do a quick 180. The shoulder buttons let you pick out different guns, and also serves as a quicker way to pause the game than reaching over for the start button. When you have the sniper rifle eqipped you click the right stick to zoom in, again to zoom in further, and again to return to your normal view. The A button jumps (which you actually get a reward in the game for actually jumping on a set number of enemies.) . And the rest of the face buttons are reserved for various powersup that you find throughout the stages. There are the typical pickups like health and ammo. But there are also shield pickups that makes you invulnerable for a short time by hitting X. There's a "green cow" pickup that when launched with the B button will quickly move you across the screen and hopefully away from getting swarmed. And there's a "Tick-Tock" powerup. You collect this thing, hit Y and it stops time for everything but you. But when you kill one of the enemies in this stopped time, they make the SOUND that they're dying, but they remain frozen. When the powerup wears off, THEN they die. Which I don't know if this is good or bad because it results in some pretty neat looking stuff when the time runs out. :)

But, Jonny seems to run like he's running underwater. The look speed is okay, but he just moves WAY too damn slow. I don't know if the developers thought people would want the slow paced gameplay of something like Call of Duty without the sprint, or Halo ... but poor Jonny doesn't move as far as he should (to me anyway) for a game this arcadey. And the movement is sensitive as hell, if that left analog stick isn't PERFECTLY center when you're moving forward you'll start strafing, which is kinda bad when you're running from about 50 bugs that are chasing you down the street and you strafe into a wall.

And early in the game you're going to be doing a hell of a lot of backpedaling. And later in the game you're just going to be trying to survive long enough to get into a position where you CAN backpedal. :) So it kinda evens out.

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One real big problem I've had, I've nevere actually PASSED level 14. I run for a little while away from everything, then the game stops dead and says "Extermination Complete". What the hell is that all about?

Oh, and for you achievement people needing something to help  you feel better about yourselves, while these indie games don't have official achievements, there are various awards given for doing certain things.

6.5 - Is it a perfect game? God no, but is it fun to kill thousands of giant mutant bugs? Hell yeah. Even with it's problems and sub-par graphics it's a hell of a lot of fun and a great way to kill about 10 or 15 minutes at a time. And the game recently dropped to 240 MS Points ($3), and it's well worth it, even if you're pretty much doing ONE thing the ENTIRE 16 levels. :)

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Comments (2) Trackbacks (1)
  1. EDF
    Earth Defense Force 2012
    aliens with giant bugs in a city
    this looks like a tribute to it
    although, this game has twice as many bug types -.-;
    the graphics look the same, i’m getting it, i didn’t even know it existed, thanks

  2. Thanks for the review. It’s always nice to hear thoughts on indie games, and I didn’t know about this one. I think I’ll give it a go.


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