Crusader: No Regret
Review By Al Giovetti, 09/29/96
Price: $36-$39
Genre: combat adventure
Release: September 12, 1996
Developer: Origin
Producer: Tony Zurovec
Lead Programmer: Jason Ely
Lead Artist: Terry Manderfeld
Lead Designer: Mark Vittek
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Phone: (800)245-4525, out of the US: 415-571-7171
Website: http://www.ea.com/origin/english/prod-info/pc-cd/coming-soon/no-regret/index.html
Requirements: Intel 486 DX4/75 or 100% compatible PC system, 8 MB RAM, 65 MB hard disk space, VESA or PCI local bus video, MS-DOS 5.0 or higher, Double speed or faster CD-ROM, GRAPHICS: 256-color VESA compatible SVGA, INTERFACES SUPPORTED: keyboard, mouse, gamepad, joystick, MUSIC, SPEECH/SOUND EFFECTS: Sound Blaster/SB Pro/SB 16/SB AWE or 100% compatible sound card, Ensoniq SoundScape, RECOMMENDED: Intel Pentium " 60+, 16+ MB RAM, quad speed CD-ROM

History: The overhead oblique perspective adventure game has been a staple in the Origin stable of games for many years now. The first games of this type were in the Ultima series of games.

Plot: In this sequel to Crusader: No Remorse, you are a renegade Silencer, who has fallen in the the Rebels who oppose the World Economic Consortium. After the destruction of the Vigilance Platform at the end of No Remorse, the Silencer goes onto the space freighter salvaging parts from the ending conflagration. You are on your way to a big moon base of the Lunar Mining Cartel, and while you are there you kill everything living and destroy everything else, preferably in the largest explosion or fire possible. The moon mining base is critical because they mine Dicor, a radioactive element that has become an essential part of life within the World Economic Consortium (WEC) of Earth. You play the protagonist, the guy in the day glow shiny red suit after the bad guy Chairman Draygan, who you will get a chance to eliminate in the ending sequence.

Missions: There are ten missions this time with five new environments. The original No Remorse had 15 missions. These ten No Regret missions are more involved and take just as long to play as the No Remorse 15. The purpose is obvious, destroy or kill everything within the multileveled, textured terrrain of the space ship and moon mining colony. Money is no longer a factor in the game, so you can spend more time killing and destroying. No more wasted time to search for credits.

The five new entire areas to explore include the space freighter and moon base. Also new are more servomechs, weapons, soldiers, and civilians. New traps and puzzles to solve and defeat.

Opponents: Many new characters people No Regret, including civilians, soldiers, and servomechs with morphing and stealth abilities.

Combat: Remorse is a third person perspective, overhead oblique game similar to the Ultima VIII title. The combat is conducted in real-time with tons of things happening at once. Tony Zurovek shared his pholosophy with us, "For a game like "Crusader", players should always be inundated with new things--monsters, puzzles, maps. I don't want to create a game that leaves people wandering around with nothing to do--except to maybe find one red keycard--once they've killed all the enemies in a maze." The plot of the conflict is linear, you must keep moving, killing, and solving puzzles. No remorse has advanced character control and fighting tactics, and a multitude of even more devious traps and puzzles. New combat moves include forward dives and kneeling side-steps for a total of 21 fast-action maneuvers. The game also features devastating new weapons and spectacular death effects that let you disintegrate, melt, crystallize, freeze, and shatter your hapless opponents. A new high quality compression engine speeds up animation and smoothes out gameplay.

New weapons: The XP-5, a microwave rifle that causes unsheilded bodies to explode, the LNR-81, dissolves flesh into green gas and the skeleton into powder (a very visual effect - Ed.), and the BK-16, freezes people, are three of the new weapons. Crusader: No Regret has 19 weapons.

Interface: The interface is very easy to use, and is virtually unchanged from No Remorse.

Puzzles: Relate to what door switch to push, what camera to shoot, how and when to use computer terminals, and many other three dimensional relationships within the graphics.

Graphics: The graphics cooperated with the gameís main purpose to display explosions, blown up machinery, and death scenes in nicely animated scenes with full attention to details. Items have their own personal form for being blown up, so that the mounds of slag look different from destruction to destruction. When dying, unless burnt to death which is the most spectacular death available, the corpses produce a red shiny pool of blood.

Cut Scenes. Full motion video (FMV) cut scenes occur between missions to keep the action going and advance the plot. An elaborate video production will supply the player with mission updates and feedback as you proceed through the Consortiums lunar base. The video cut scenes were shot at Las Colinas near Dallas, Texas and features moving camera shots, dramatic lighting, and special effects. The video production quality is much better this time around due to a new high quality video compression engine.

Art: They have clearly worked on the art, making it smoother, and more attractive.

Puzzles: There are wheels to turn, switches to find, alarms to disable, security systems to bypass, automated weapons platforms to control, cameras to destroy, and other actions that insure that, in spite of al the death and mayhem, you will not be discovered until it is too late.

Music: 16-bit digital stereo "Circle Surround" surround sound. Tony likes the sound and had this to say about it, "Jason Ely developed the music system on his own time at home. It's a digital instrument format that does what most of the higher end sound cards do with wave table synthesis. The big benefit is even people with $40 cards get phenomenal sound. People with general MIDI also get good sound, although we're not fully utilizing their hardware."

Hints: Shipping with Crusader at no extra cost, (in the same box - Ed.) is Originís Official Guide to Crusader: No Regret. The 192-page hint book has strategy tips, tow sets of complete maps, and a complete walkthrough of the entire game.

Multiplayer: According to Tony Zurovec there are no plans to make Crusader: No Regret Multiplayer.

Sequel madness: This is a sequel and the cry will go up from some that this is no different from the predecessor game. Many will be disappointed that the game is virtually unchanged from Crusader: No Remorse, while others will applaud the good sense in not changing a good thing.

What impressed me the most was the effects of your continual mayhem. Items in the game were permanently changed by your passing. Yes you can blow everything up, and it looks like you blew it up after you go past.

Future plans: Crusader 2, which is scheduled for holiday release in 1997, has been in production since January 1996, and will incorporate multiplaer features. The game will be compatible with null modem, phone modem, networks, and internet play.

References:
Peter Olafson, Computer Gaming World, number 146, September, 1996, pg. 133-134.
Zach Meston, Crusader: No Remorse, volume 2, number 9, February, 1996, pg. 52-53, 8/10 (80%).
Trent Ward, http://www.gamespot.com/previews/crusregr/index.html
Glenn Broderick, Computer Player, volume 3, number 4, September, 1996, pg. 20-21.