Crisis Beat

Developer: Bandai
Publisher:  Bandai

Crisis Beat is a throwback to the old 8 and 16 bit Beat'em ups like Streets of Rage or Double Dragon.

Taking place in a cruise ship that was taken over by terrorists, you'll have to choose between four characters, each with their own intertwining stages and storylines, though gameplay wise they all handle roughly the same, that is to say: terribly.

Their walking and turning controls are very resident evil-esque, meaning it's like trying to drive a tank, that might work on slow paced games like Resident Evil, Fear Effect or Silent Hill, but on a brawler I found myself punching the air too often for my liking.

Adding to control grievances is a distinct lack of moves or combos, you can perform a three-punch or kick combos, throw enemies and finally run or jump at them, it's definitely a far cry from Die Hard Arcade for the Saturn, however, I like how the games places a lot of throwable items in each stage like chairs, tables and the like, but they're always thrown in a pre-chosen direction so their use is limited at best, you'll also come across several weapons, the melee ones will immediately knock an enemy onto the floor, giving you more wiggle room and the ranged ones will fire automatically for a few seconds as you turn 360º, in paper this all sounds like a nice variety, but by the time I reached the third stage I was pretty bored in the gameplay department.

Where I wasn't bored however was in the unintentional hilarity department, this game's writing is so bad that it's worth playing it all the way through once for that reason alone, one of our main characters is a NYPD detective, yet he mistakes the armed, uniformed terrorists for 'entertainment', it's not until they start shooting and taking hostages that he finally gets a clue, or how about when it takes him over three hours to reach the conclusion that maybe, just maybe the hostages are all being held in the main hall where a party was taking place and where the terrorists hit first? Yeah, great job there, detective. He even claims that he didn't want to go on this cruise vacation, he'd rather be running around the streets of New York chasing criminals, I'm pretty sure that's not what detectives do.

Then there's the main female character, she's clearly in her late 20's/early 30's but her best friend is a 12 year old girl, what's with that? But my absolute favorite is the Russian agent, the guy NEVER takes his hands off his pockets, choosing instead to only kick his enemies, probably to keep it fair I guess, even when he's getting his ass handed to him the guy still refuses to use his hands, now that's what I call a trooper.

Adding to all this is the terrible exposition filled dialog where everyone is constantly stating how they feel, where they come from, who they are and why they're there to everyone they meet, including close friends.

Graphically, the character models look pretty good by PS1 standards, their textures are smooth and well detailed, but the environments themselves feel very constrained and lack any real substance or eye candy, I'm also not a fan of the lack of anything resembling a soundtrack during gameplay and when you do get some background music, you can barely hear it over the fighting.

If you're the type that enjoys 'so bad it's good' dialog, check this one out, otherwise, this is one to avoid.

Trivia: To my knowledge, this game was never launched in the US and the European version only got a low budget release (see below).

- Character models looks pretty good
- Somewhat decent beat'em up mechanics
- Unintentionally hilarious dialog
- You can play either as the world's dumbest detective

- Repetitive
- Unwieldy resident evil-esque controls
- Short and too easy, you can easily finish it in an afternoon during your first playthrough
- Repetitive
- Environments are sterile and boring
- Repetitive
- Barely any background music, when you do get some, it's muffled by the action
- Have I mentioned how repetitive this game is?

Final Grade: C-

The game's cover definitely does not inspire confidence, the artwork looks fine, but it has this silver border informing you that this is a low budget release, that's usually a warning sign you've got a bad game.

Adding to overall cheapness is the pitiful manual, featuring a paltry four pages, the last one being completely blank.

Its one saving grace is the artwork on the disc, it's pretty eye-catching.

Packaging Grade: F+


  1. I really like old time PS games. they are usually pretty fun, even though the graphics can be so bad it makes the game almost impossible to play. haha, but that is one reason why I like them. Probably wont be playing this one though if you gave it a C

  2. Well "Unintentionally hilarious dialog" is always fun.

  3. Wait, if the controls are so bad, how can the game be beaten so quickly? Are the levels that short or are the enemies that easy?

    1. The levels are of fair lenght, but the enemies are extremely easy, including the bosses