Crash City Mayhem Review
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Remember Crazy Taxi? It’s pretty much impossible to forget as it’s still sitting waiting to be fed quarters in almost every single one of the few remaining arcades in the U.S. and probably world. It’s a game that kids nowadays spend $0.50 on before moving on to something else. Those of us who played it when it first released in 1999, though, can still have our fun with it, but we realize its time has come and gone. Crash City Mayhem feels a lot like Crazy Taxi in that sense. It comes ready-made with an outdated formula in a day and age when what it offers just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Crash City Mayhem proves it isn’t concerned about making sense right off the bat. The story only gets more laughable as it progresses. The man behind the wheel of the vehicles the player controls is some sort of agent. He’s hired by a shady organization that constantly threatens him with death. His job is usually to retrieve some sort of object, so of course he gets money for crashing into other objects. Huh? Exactly.
Yes sir, in Crash City Mayhem crashing into objects grants you a certain amount of money depending on what the object is. For example, knocking a fence over nets the player a little over $1,000, while wrecking a bus is worth over $100,000. However, every collision comes at a price. Too much vehicle damage means an explosion and a mission restart. If you want a better score, go for the mayhem, but be careful. If you just want to complete the game, do the missions.
The missions in Crash City Mayhem usually consist of retrieving or delivering a package. It’s pretty much a “drive from point A to point B” deal throughout. The missions become more challenging and each of the six levels is longer than the last, but the underlying structure remains the same. Still, it becomes tougher to decide between having fun or getting the job done. Having fun will usually lead to nothing in Crash City Mayhem.
Graphics & Sound
This won’t take long. As my headline suggests, Crash City Mayhem is an eyesore. Every surface in the game is a mass of protruding polygons. The vehicles look like they came straight to Crash City from LEGO City. The sound design is nonexistent. One song plays on repeat throughout the entire game and the crashes sound like a bunch of pots and pans being devoured by a wood chipper.
For a game that offers so much money for wreckless driving, that money sure does a whole lot of nothing. The money is really just a score that players are meant to try and top, but why put the dollar sign in front of it? Plus, the game punishes player for causing mayhem even though that word is in its title. Dying would be fine if the checkpoints the game has worked, but they don’t. I know I got a checkpoint because “CHECKPOINT” appears on the screen every now and then, but every time I died I had to replay a mission from the very beginning.
This doesn’t really pose a problem until later in the game when the levels get lengthier, or I should say more artificially lengthened. I say that because, for example, one level features a tailing missions in which the player must follow another vehicle for over 20 minutes. It’s not a true tailing mission because the player can make as much noise as possible and never be noticed, which doesn’t make any damn sense. Nearly every mission in the game is a dull retread of better missions from other games, which could be made up for if the game allowed players freedom, but it doesn’t. Everything comes with strings attached, and that is the fatal blow that prevents Crash City Mayhem from being a fun nostalgia trip.
Crash City Mayhem is a relic that just so happened to release in 2013. I can’t really recommend it, but then again I can’t really recommend Crazy Taxi anymore either. My brother would probably disagree with that, but it’s true. I’ll say this: Crash City Mayhem should be played by anyone who wants a reminder of what games used to be like but shouldn’t be like anymore. It features a mixture of the good and bad from the end of the 20th century. If that sounds like your cup of tea, have at it.