Crusty Demons is a game for Xbox based on the stunt squad by the same name. At first thought it sounded like the game would be a great match for the team. Unfortunately it turned out to be “meh,” a far cry from what it could have really been.
When I was first told about reviewing this game I went and checked out the Crusty Demons’ web site. This I think is where things started going off the rails for me. I watched some of the videos and was, quite frankly, pretty amazed by what the Demons are able to do. Their site did not make any mention of the game (at least that I could find) and thus I started to envision a motorcycle game where you would do some motocross type racing and then also pull off some great tricks in front of crowds and win their hearts .
Boy was I wrong.
Crusty Demons turned out to be a game that has you going around different levels located all over the world while stringing together tricks and combos to gain points (think Tony Hawk’s on a motorcycle). The game is pretty freeform and a plot is basically nonexistent…something about the Demons selling their souls to the devil and having to travel the world to get them back. This sets up the premise of one of the main check box selling points of the game – being able to wreck and break bones and leave bloody skid marks.
Speaking of all the blood and gore the game is rated M for mature, and for good reason. Over the course of the game you are going to be crashing or getting thrown from your bike and making all kinds of a mess with your body. Blood is going to squirt all over your screen and you are going to be shown x-rays of the different bones that you broke because of your spill.
If that weren’t enough, almost every time you crash the rider makes some sort of comment about how bleeping much that wreck did or didn’t hurt. I’m not super offended by cussing, but I probably would have enjoyed the game a little bit more if I hadn’t had to be inundated with profanity to complete certain goals. One interesting thing of note is there is no nudity in the game (although in the unlockable movies some nudity was edited out). As is the case here in the USA with games: mangled bodies are just fine as long as they aren’t nekkid mangled bodies.
The challenges that were presented through the levels had a decidedly adult theme to them. However, beyond violent titillation, none offered any really compelling reason to complete them. I chuckled once or twice when the characters told me what I had to do, but I never really thought “oh this is a really cool/clever mission.” Actually the main reason that I wanted to complete the quests was for the unlockable videos. Those were pretty interesting to watch.
The controls for the game are generally good, but I did have a few issues, the first being that you can’t change them! I cannot fathom in this day in age why I can’t set my controls for a game the way that I want to have them. With the standard controls the game feels a little too twitchy for my tastes. This lead to me always over correcting and looking like a spaz as I went round and round .
Overall, though, the biggest problem with the game has to be the loading times. Holy cow they take forever. Want to check out the bikes that you have unlocked? It’s intermission time as you try to scroll your way through them. There’s simply no reason for it to take so long to bring up the next motorcycle in the list. The long load times are one of the biggest game killers for this game which already has a hard time being interesting.
I tried some multiplayer matches (which predictably took forever to set up thanks to the load times). The multiplayer supports up to 4 players on the local Xbox and, bizarrely, no Xbox Live. All the time while playing multiplayer I thought it could have been so much better on Live. The multiplayer modes are race, tag, theft, crash ‘n’ grab, and stunt contest. In crash ‘n’ grab you try to wreck into signs to get points, while race and stunt contest are just what their names imply.Tag, a game of try to not be it, and theft, a game of trying to always be it, had the most potential. However, both were dragged down by not being able to play with many people. With only four players they just don’t work out.
All in all there isn’t really anything that was too terrible about the game – except for the load times, excessive profanity, and weak controls. Then again though, there wasn’t very much that really kept me coming back for more either. I enjoyed the unlockable movies, but the rest of the package was pretty bland for my tastes. The game isn’t broken, but I’m not going to sit at work and think about playing it all day, either.