There is something inherently cool about the concept of Krazy Ivan: You control a nutty Russian guy encased in a 40-ton, armed-to-the-teeth robot in a battle to save the Earth from aliens. Sound a bit like a Russkie adaptation of "Independence Day"?
Superfluous plot points aside, Krazy Ivan amounts to a dumbed down MechWarrior II or the like, which wouldn't be such a bad thing had it been better executed. Instead of having you complete mission objectives and battling hordes of enemy mechs, Krazy Ivan places you in what amounts to a series of one-on-one mechanized match-ups.
Each level in the game is basically the same: scamper around a small, 3-D landscape in order to destroy a shield generator complex, thus freeing that sector. Predictably, before you can annihilate the generators on each level, you must individually fight and destroy different robots (who sport suave names like "Raptor" and "Deadlok" ) that protect the generators from harm. As you travel to each battle area you are afforded the opportunity to pick up a few power-ups, weapons, and other abilities that are jettisoned from exploding carcasses of pesky aliens in small, armored air or ground vehicles. Your robot's firepower ranges from the basic dual, huge Gattling guns to powerful cannons. Other extras include scatter grenades, missiles, and lasers.
The trick to Krazy Ivan is learning your opponent's weaknesses and battle patterns. Once you've done so, defeating each mechanized menace will be relatively easy. Snippets of full-motion video will give you a few vague hints, but other than that you're on your own. That's not to say that learning the attack patterns is very hard. Even if you don't know exactly which weapons to use, or where to aim them, the simple tactic of "sticking and moving" usually works pretty effectively. In a game where one-on-one combat makes up the bulk of the action, there is little excuse for Krazy Ivan's incompetent adversaries.
Graphically, Krazy Ivan holds its own, but the game certainly isn't going to set any new benchmarks. The low-resolution graphics make the large, 3-D textured-mapped mechs and other vehicles appear a little messy sometimes, but the opposing robots move about pretty realistically, and some of them look "interesting," to say the least. A light fog effect adds to the mood, but mostly serves as a veil to mask the polygonal breakup in the background. When you add to all this a techno-funk soundtrack that might make you want to shoot along with the beat, Krazy Ivan is a game with an effective if not stunning atmosphere.
Unfortunately, even if this game had drop-dead graphics and sound, it couldn't mask the fact that it is way too easy, shallow, and short. Although Psygnosis' fast-paced shooter might offer PC gamers a taste of console arcade action, the only thing really big about this game is the size of Krazy Ivan's robot.