Genre: Shmup Developer: A.I. Publisher: Kyugo Trading Players: 1 Released: 1991
Here it is, a game that falls in the top twenty rarest games of the Genesis library. It is a game that piqued my curiosity since it was the only title released by Kyugo Trading Co. in the states. I had the thrill of finding a copy of Crossfire at a collecting meet and had to give it a try, since I heard it was a shmup with multi-genre elements that was given high recommendations by a fellow gamer. When I finally gave it a try, I was actually let down and impressed at the same time as it turned out to be pretty average but different, and it was one of those games that took me a while to figure out what to write about it. I procrastinated writing the review for it, but alas here it is, good or bad.
You are a mercenary who is hired to perform six rescue missions through various Central American countries each containing one P.O.W. You get briefed by your employer, and after each successful mission he pays a cash reward that can be used in a weapon selection screen. There, you can custom choose your weapons for upcoming missions, and boy does it pay off. You get some pretty good firepower and without don’t expect to have a flying chance to succeed!
The game gets interesting after that, each mission is broken up into five parts, you start out in a vertical shooter stage blasting away at the usual shmup fodder, nothing out of the ordinary here but it paves the way with some nice action. The next area is a zoomed in screen where your helicopter is almost half the size of the screen, you are invincible here and can blast away at every hapless enemy you see. Next comes a Commando or Ikari Warriors style stage where you are on foot trying to gain access to the enemy base, this area has some innovative elements here, you can jump to shoot the higher up and out of reach gun turrets and you can duck down and have your helicopter blast away at stronger enemies in a sort of special attack. There is a short stage where you rescue the P.O.W. look for plenty of destructive scenery when you are trying to escape form the holding cell after rescuing the P.O.W. then it’s time to escape via another shmup stage, this final stage has an actual boss encounter at the end, finish him off and collect your payment.
For such an unknown company, they came up with a fairly original concept for a game, no one part of a mission lasts for more than a few minutes and they keep you on your toes. As with most shooters, Crossfire is no walk in the park, I saw the continue screen more than I wanted, so fans won’t be let down by the challenge. I steadily progressed but never made it past the last mission, and I soon figured out that it was easier to complete the harder missions first to since they paid more and I could buy better weapons faster.
Weaponry is useful but not original by any means, the best weapon hits an enemy then ricochets ninety degrees to the left or right and wipes everything out in its path so it’s pretty nice to have and thankfully, your weapons aren’t lost when you lose lives or continue. The bosses in the game are underwhelming at best and are quite easy despite the game’s difficulty and I killed most without loss of lives, their made easier once you have better fire power.
I’m not impressed with Crossfire at all graphically. It’s early generation but still lacking on detail, and each mission looks pretty much like the last. The game has a mildly dark and gritty tone to it which is a plus and I liked how the bullets have a slight wave to them when you are on foot simulating that your player has a slight play in his aim which gave it a feel of realism and it looks rather amusing when you jump and fire at higher targets, it’s just something you have to see. Furthermore, the accompanying music actually gives the game a steady pace, it sounds pretty standard but fills in an otherwise monotonous game, sound effects have a dark and fairly realistic sound to them but aren’t remarkable after that.
I know, I know! You’re asking me whether or not Crossfire is worth it. The answer is yes and no, shmup fans are almost certainly going to enjoy this game and should buy it if you can find a copy but it won’t be easy. If you’re a casual fan, I’d test the waters and emulate it first. I had a lot of fun playing it the first few times and I’m not done playing it yet, it’s a pretty tough game but not so hard that I can’t finish it, but it’s not something that I can play constantly. There’s definitely some fun to be had here, the weapon upgrade system adds some nice strategy to the game since you can buy any weapon you want and customize your firepower to your liking. There’s also some hilarious “Engrish” present here. When you’re sent on a mission your employer says, “hope you make a success” and there’s more where that came from too. The novelty wears off soon and the missions are all too the same after extended plays, so I will say the game is average. Still, like I said, don’t let that deter you from giving the game a deserved chance.
SCORE: 5 out of 10