Blameless B Sci-Fi in an Explosive Package
In the distant future a dystopian Earth is ruled by the World Economic Consortium, a mega-conglomerate of the old world’s biggest corporations. They rule the world with an iron fist and distort the media to control the masses. You are cast into the role of the red storm trooper looking Silencer, a betrayed special operative for the Consortium. After witnessing the Consortium’s treachery firsthand you are taken in by the Resistance through its leader, General Maxis. Despite the General’s vouch, the resistance doesn’t immediately take to trusting you and you’ll be shooting up Consortium facilities to disrupt their production, obtain secret plans and liberate prisoners to prove your worth and put a stop to their tyranny.
The story is told through glorious FMV cutscenes and you’ll get to enjoy quite the cast of characters like surfer bro hacker “Wizard,” who specializes in mission deployment, extraction and words of encouragement. Chain of command has you reporting to cigar chomping Major Ely and you can purchase weapons from “Weasel,” a shady and quite possibly mad smuggler. All of the characters are likeable in their own B Sci-Fi way, as is the larger narrative.
Subtle hints are dropped pointing to a mole situation, and as you are a former member of the Consortium, you aren’t ruled out as a suspect. The plot thickens when several missions go wrong, but you always manage to escape, building a trust dynamic that persists throughout the entire narrative. The plot isn’t some spectacular tale turning the world of sci-fi on its head, but it’s fun, and the character interactions and cinematics make for a great break in the action.
The action to which I’m speaking of is that of an isometric shooter. Your objectives will vary, but largely you’ll end up gunning down Consortium scum room by room in factories or office buildings in pursuit of the bigger goal for the resistance. The levels are smartly designed with some light puzzle elements forming a sense of progression and are never so overbearing to get you lost in environments sometimes indistinguishable from the next. As great as that all sounds, the controls put a damper on the experience.
To say Crusader: No Remorse has awkward controls doesn’t quite convey the extent of the awkwardness. The mouse control is so all over the place that I found it easier to fully control the Silencer with two hands on the keyboard. It took a lot of getting used to, but eventually became second nature in a way that made me feel like the hacker man who always had my back. However, during some of the platforming sections control scheme acclimation only goes so far. There are a number of frustrating spots requiring a precision that the engine and perspective don’t easily allow.
As rough as it is in some spots, Crusader: No Remorse bears the markings of cult classic. The way the narrative unravels in all of its FMV glory isn’t what I’d call good, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t enjoy all of it. The effective level design and explosive shooting supplement the blameless B Sci-Fi, and sometimes it’s the other way around.