My name doesn't matter, what does however is the fact that I love bananas, bongos, bohemian apparel and other assorted things that begin with the letter B. I came to Destructoid to seek fortune writing literature that rivals classics such as the 1851 novel by Herman Melville, Moby Dick. I don't give a damn whether or not you think my work rattles along at classic standards or not, they are all works of art, as much an art as interactive video entertainment games.
Ahhh Crisis Force, what a beautiful game. Everything I love about video games is present here. It's a shmup, it's on the Famicom, and it's just one damn fun game to play overall. Whenever I feel the need to raise hell in Tokyo, I usually either bust out my army of deadly robot Godzilla clones, or I just take in hand good old Crisis Force. I never get sick of unleashing a lethal reign of bullets and lasers over and upon the city, destroying everything in my path. From buildings to giant air crafts, nothing stands in my way of total annihilation. Crisis Force is an amazing game that will help you finally live out those wild dreams of Tokyo destruction. Hopefully I can persuade you all to eventually try it out.
Crisis Force is a vertical shoot em up developed by one of my favorite companies, Konami. It was released back in 1991 for Japan only. The Japan only release was probably due to the fact that the N.E.S was becoming outdated and eclipsed by the new cutting edge 16 bit machines at the time; the PC engine, the Megadrive, and the Super Nintendo.
Crisis Force featured many staples of Konami's past shooters. Staples such as 2 player co op, the use of the Konami code, and the inclusion of many standard Konami power ups that you'd come to expect from one of their shooters. Although it did include many staples of past Konami shooters, Crisis Force was definitely not just another run of the mill shooter. The ability and concept of switching between three different ship configurations during play offered both depth and a refreshing change of pace to the formula. Crisis Force offered 7 different varied stages all balanced, blended, and beautifully orchestrated with obstructions, bosses, mini bosses, power ups, and a contrasting array of endless enemies.
You have to really hold onto your ass with this game; it is one fast paced bitch. Crisis Force demands alot of attention from you. Sometimes blinking just will not seem worth it in the midst of a heated battle. You will have to keep your eyes peeled and your thumb moving, because any wrong move can be a deadly one. Although there are 3 different difficulty modes to choose from, Crisis Force can honestly be one hell bent beast of a game to play.
The power ups are pretty standard in this game. There are two different gun upgrades. One of these upgrades will improve your basic straight forward shot in rate. The other upgrade will allow you to use a wave laser. Speed up icons also exist; picking these babies up will help add speed and enhanced maneuverability to your ship. Two other icons will grant you more power then the standard icons will, for both your shot and your speed. There are also small blue icons that will need to be collected in order to unlock their powerful ability.Once enough are collected, your ship will transform into one real bad mutha of a form. In this form your ship will take on invincibility combined with the most powerful shots in the entire game for a limited amount of time. In two player mode you can also merge ships together with your friend. One player will be assume responsibility for steering, while the other, for shooting. Once the Invisibility ends, your planes will split apart, and you will become separated once again.
The controls are fairly simple. Hold down the B button to discharge a steady stream of bullets. Hit the A button while you are letting off these bullets to release a bomb or special attack, these change depending on which ship configuration you are using at the time. When you are not firing, hit the A button to change your ship configuration. There are 3 in total. Your main ship form will fire pretty powerful shots exclusively straight. The second form will allow you to fire both straight and behind. Last we have the third ship form, this form will let you fire from the front and the two sides of your ship. You will need to use and master all three of these configurations throughout this game to survive.
There is a story to this game. Just like many other shooters though, it's just there to add some motivation to finish the game. It's very typical and cliche. In the year 199X, a force of robots have descended upon Tokyo in an attempt to destroy the city, and possibly the rest of the world. The nameless protagonists are a girl and a boy who both pilot red and blue fighter ships. The story is incredibly weak, bland, and sterile. I know this is a shooter and it doesn't really have to be strong in the story telling aspect, but as a whole it just doesn't even feel like shmup developers even try that often when it comes to story. This game is no exception.
The presentation for this game is absolutely amazing. This has to be visually one of the greatest looking games on the Famicom, if not, the best. Konami really pushed the limits of the hardware here, and you can really see it. From use of multiple layers of parallax scrolling, to destruction effects, to very detailed and defined tiles and sprites, and the simple manipulation of them all, Konami really did the impossible here. However, with all of this going on, there are occasional slowdowns. Slowdowns aren't really anything too uncommon with the N.E.S library. You may even look at them in a positive light, as a moment to finally wipe the sweat from your brow. Although I would prefer the game not to have these slowdowns, I don't really mind them too much as is.
You can see that Konami also put in about roughly the same amount of effort in towards the sound and the music here as they did for the graphics. The sound effects all seem to fit in pretty well. They're your usual Konami sounds, but they all work just as fine as they have in years past. The soundtrack however, is exceptionally well done. Alot of the songs you hear will stick in your head for days. Most of them make you look forward to hearing them in the stages they reside in. There's also an option to here each track in the options menu. Not every song is exceptional though, there are a couple of songs that just don't do the rest of the soundtrack justice. Although they aren't bad as stand alone songs, some just seem like filler in comparison to the other tracks.
Overall Crisis Force is a very impressive, outstanding, fun game that has, and will probably be overlooked as time keeps trudging forward. If not for the late release date and the exclusive regional release, this game could have been a well known legendary classic. Despite few bland exceptions, Crisis Force has all of the elements and chemistry to make up for one immaculate experience. Almost everything present here is at the top of it's game. It's hard to hate Crisis Force. Give it a try and see if you like it, chances are you probably will.