Actually this is a double review for Crusaders of Space and Crusaders of Space – Open Range which is a sequel of sorts. They are downloadable Indie shooters for PC.
Let’s get one thing straight from the start; these games are not new, they don’t look or sound fab, they aren’t original or innovative BUT I enjoyed them, and that’s why I’m reviewing them – because this site is all about games that we enjoyed playing.
Basically they are just Space Invader clones in that your spaceship moves left and right only and you have to shoot a variety of aliens that move left and right (some have some other movement patterns of course). There may be some plot or story but it’s irrelevant. What happens is you start with a single puny weapon and you shoot the aliens which take a few hits to kill at first (they have a health bar which is handy), and eventually you’ll be given power ups which help you to dispatch them more quickly. Whenever you get hit, you loose one level of power up but luckily the game gives it back to you pretty quickly. Run out of powerup levels and you are dead. Oh and you also get missiles and temporary invulnerability (which is handy). It’s pretty simple, but in that simplicity is hidden a certain addictiveness.
Each game seems to comprise of 10 missions, and each mission is 10 levels. You start each mission with basic weaponry and by the end you are all tooled up and having great a time blasting through the aliens. The fact that your weapons “reset” ready for the next mission is odd, but it does let you experience the build up over and over again, which, let’s face it, is one of the most fun parts of games like these. Every so often there’s a big boss too – I bet you never guessed that!
One of the things I enjoyed was working out the alien movement patterns and the most efficient way to kill them and avoid their firepower – some of them are pretty tricky so it’s best to save your missles and get rid of them early on and then concentrate on the easier aliens. I actually completed both games over several nights of play, so this says something for their addictiveness.
I’m not sure where you can get the first one from, I actually got it for free (legitimately), but the second one is on Reflexive. The first one’s graphics are a little more basic and the ship feels a bit too big. It was good but not as good as the second one, so I’ll give it 3/5 stars. The second one was more or less the same, but it had a more polished feel and the ship was smaller which felt better, thus it gets 3.5 stars. I can’t really give them more as they do feel a bit dated compared to some other games I’ve played, but as I’ve already said; they are fun – so I recommend at least trying out the demo.
I'm an Indie game developer with a couple of titles under my belt. I've been programming for 23 years on a variety of platforms. Currently I'm using BlitzMax, which is great.