Abuse Review

In one swift stroke, Crack dot Com's debut game, Abuse, has changed side-scrolling platform shooters forever, and all because of this game's superior control.

As side-scrolling shooter games go, there hasn't been much innovation since, say, the old coin-op game Elevator Action. Sure, there've been a few crazy characters with quirky attributes like Mario, Sonic, and Earthworm Jim. And maybe there've been some minor additions: upgradeable weapons, hidden one-ups, incredibly mean bosses, and bonus levels. Then there's the technological advances such as parallax scrolling (if I had a dime for every time I've heard the phrase, "Our game has more layers of scrolling backgrounds than …" I'd be a very rich man). But in terms of actual play, not much has changed in the side-scrolling, jumping and bumping, shooting and ducking, horizontal platform-game genre. Until now.

In one swift stroke, Crack dot Com's debut game, Abuse, has changed side-scrolling platform shooters forever, and all because of this game's superior control. The genre's main shortcoming has always been that your character must fire in the direction that you are traveling. Abuse solves this problem by allowing your character to shoot independently of the direction you happen to be pointing or traveling. Instead of using the keyboard for directional shooting, the game uses the mouse's smooth moving action to position a set of cross-hairs anywhere on the screen, saving the arrow keys for movement alone. This innovation lets your character run and jump wildly about the screen, while staying calmly focused on a target. The game's level design re-creates Doom's anticipation, astonishment, and challenge, without ever seeming derivative. Everywhere you explore you'll encounter the eerie animal noises of frightening, mutated beasts who are waiting to leap out at you from dark corridors. You'll also hear sophisticated explosion sounds, including a hauntingly detailed rattle as your exploded target's pieces scatter across the floor. Often you'll find yourself in desperate situations that seem too tough to conquer, but a little regrouping, strategic planning, and mucho bravado will get you through—just in time for the next, equally difficult barrier. Without its unique control, Abuse would still be a solidly-built shooter, with smooth animation, excellent sound design, and some interesting weapons. But, with its unique mouse and keyboard interface, Abuse stands alone as an amazingly innovative game, and one not to be missed.

The Good
N/A
The Bad
8.6
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Discussion

1 comments
sjcrew
sjcrew

Oh, how I love and miss this game. I played this back on my '98 for hours and hours back in the day. I had no idea that it was a commercial game; I got it from a free site called GameHippo. The reviewer is absolutely correct in that the superior control is its crowning achievement. The player character is a joy to maneuver, and you always feel 100% in control, with any erred movements attributed to poor judgment or a lack of reflexes. (Not to say that there aren't some seemingly 'cheap' scenarios in the game, but there's nothing to them but a bit of practice). All the while, this game's polish in sound, graphics, and level design contribute further to its well-deserved score of 8.6 - great. I had a blast with this game's creepy atmosphere, fun power-ups, and explosive weapons.

Abuse (1996) More Info

  • First Released
    • PC
    • Unix/Linux
    In one swift stroke, Crack dot Com's debut game, Abuse, has changed side-scrolling platform shooters forever, and all because of this game's superior control.
    8
    Average User RatingOut of 260 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Abuse (1996)
    Developed by:
    Crack dot Com
    Published by:
    Electronic Arts, Origin
    Genres:
    Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Animated Violence