A lot of games have been making the move from PC to console lately, and for the most part, that's a good thing. Unfortunately, for every addictive port that hits the shelves (Command & Conquer, Myst, and Sim City 2000 to name a few), there's an equal number of games that just don't retain some aspect of the original makeup that made it so great in the first place. Origin's newest Saturn release, Crusader: No Remorse, falls somewhere in between these two categories.
For you console purists out there, here's a little background info. Crusader tells the story of a trained killer whose conscience has finally driven him to join the same group of rebels he once capped for a living. Infiltrating one of the Economic Consortium's (our hero's old boss) largest scientific bases, the Crusader (aka the Silencer), must run from level to level grabbing keycards, killing guards, and avoiding traps - all while keeping a positive mental attitude (actually I just made that last bit up - players in a really bad mood will probably experience more success during the game). Crusader is displayed in a surprisingly intuitive three-quarters view (as seen in Populous or Syndicate), and is filled with loads of lovely items that explode into tiny, tiny pieces with a spray from Silencer's always handy weapon. And this is Crusader's greatest strength - just about every item on screen can be destroyed. No more running around inside a Rubbermaid house firing powerful weapons with abandon - squeezing off a volley of shots here shatters glass, blows up chemical tanks, and turns a previously helpful computer terminal into an oddly shaped ashtray. Lovely.
Unfortunately, not all the power of this destructive experience has made it through the translation from PC to the Saturn. Graphics are grainy and dull when compared to the slick and shiny renderings of the original. And perhaps more importantly, controlling Silencer as he jaunts around the bases can be irritating at best (in my saved games there's about 400 red suited - and dead - heroes at the bottom of a pond... I just never could seem to turn in time before getting waxed). Aside from his lemming-like attraction to water, my Silencer also spent most of the game walking with an unsteady gait as I tried desperately to keep him facing the right direction while simultaneously drilling guards. The end result looked a lot like a drunken Barney Fife finally given a chance to cut loose on Mayberry's criminal element. As I said earlier... irritating.
On the positive side, the Saturn does a fantastic job of delivering the cutscenes. Although the acting often leaves a lot to be desired, each of these distractions look absolutely great. Even more impressive is the game's sound, which delivers a thumping techno soundtrack crisply enough to bring a tear to the eye of any rave fanatic.
In the end, the game's control problems can be overcome by those patient enough to master them. That reason alone is why Crusader didn't end up in my circular file. If you've got the time to learn, and the desire to destroy, Crusader contains more than enough action and explosions to satisfy.