Crusader: No Regret Preview

Origin pushes their ground - breaking action game to a new level with hot new levels, weapons, and traps


Did you ever wonder what a design team does after they finish up a big project? For the twisted minds at Origin, it appears that there's no rest for the wicked. After releasing their hit game Crusader, the team jumped right into the development of a follow-up title to include all of the features and ideas they dreamed up while they were creating the original. Although a full sequel-Crusader 2-is planned, Crusader: No Regret will give both the programming team and players the chance to utilize the full potential of the original game engine.

No Regret puts players in the role of the same Silencer character (read: hi-tech hit man) that was responsible for wreaking havoc on his one-time employer, the World Economic Consortium. After destroying everything in sight, you have made your way onto a Consortium ship headed for a major base. To continue your service to the Resistance (and keep yourself alive) you must infiltrate the ship and stop it before it can reach its home.

Fortunately, there's plenty of new features here to help you reach your goal. In addition to all of the armament you had at your disposal last time around, you'll be able to take aim at Consortium thugs with the BK16, a weapon that freezes enemies solid; the XP-5, which uses microwaves to heat up an opponent's innards til he explodes; and the LNR-81, which shoots lumps of an unidentified toxic substance into your foes, causing their skin to melt into a green gas (yum!). As in the last game, the player's armament affects everything around it, destroying containers and machinery, breaking glass, and even shattering frozen enemies into small pieces (which later melt into a disgusting goo.). Each new level is filled with loads of new, evil traps, oblique enough to challenge even veteran players, but logical enough for the clever newcomer to figure out on his own. As if all of this weren't enough to make you think twice about blindly tearing down a hallway, the game's AI for enemy soldiers and robots has been improved. You will now see soldiers roll out from behind barrels, fire, and then head back for cover before you even know what hit you.

All these improvements are made even more impressive by tweaks in the Crusader engine's handling of sound and graphics. Enemies and backgrounds have been brought to life by slick new textures and new animations. An improved video playback engine carries players through new cutscenes that detail hard-boiled Resistance agents battling it out against overwhelming odds. Last but not least, the entire sound system has been switched over to 16 bit, which improves the delivery of the game's fantastic effects and soundtrack.

If you were a fan of the original Crusader, you're probably already salivating over the release of this new update; if you weren't, No Regret is the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself to one of the most innovative action universes around. A must-watch for fans of puzzle games and shoot-`em-ups alike.

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