Review by discoinferno84

"We're dangerous dudes, we got bad attitudes..."

New York City was just nuked. According to Crude Buster, anyway. No one knows who set it off; the game doesn't bother going into the likelihood of World War III or the rampant paranoia that would inevitably envelope the rest of the country. Instead, it focuses on the city itself…or what's left of it. Twenty years into the future, and there hasn't been a recovery effort. It's been sealed off from the rest of the world. The once-famous skyline is nothing but rubble. There's no transportation, law, or anything else that resembles modern civilization. The only authority presiding over this godforsaken wasteland is Big Valley, an organization that is developing advanced weapons and turning survivors into mutants. With tensions mounting, the government has hired the Two Crude mercenaries to infiltrate the city and save the day.

Seriously. That's their plan? Sending in a couple of dudes (who certainly aren't bad enough) to fight a city full of freakish monstrosities? It's like the government doesn't even want to pretend it cares anymore. After all, the ruins of New York haven't gotten an ounce of recovery for the last twenty years. Were they worried about the radiation fallout? Did they think that sending aid would be a waste of time and resources? That there was nothing left worth saving? A quick glance proves such assumptions wrong; the Statue of Liberty may be broken and laying on her side, but it's still recognizable. Not to mention all the buildings that and roads that, despite being littered with broken glass and filth, are still teeming with life. Notice how perfectly content the government was to just let the city rot and crumble into nothing. It took a hostile mutant invasion to get them to actually do anything. They're not even using their own forces; they've hired a couple of muscle-bound punk rocker wannabes to get the job done.

The guys aren't particularly good at what they do, either. They've got the fundamental punches, kicks, and throws down, but their moves are ridiculously ineffectual. It's a combination of an almost non-existent range, unreliable hit detection, and glitched animation frames. Mashing the attack button is meaningless when only half the punches can connect. You'll do fine against most of the lesser enemies - the majority of which look like cheesy WCW and GI Joe rejects - but you'll get stopped cold by anything that requires more than a few hits. Flamethrowers (or anything with ranged attacks, for that matter) will tear you apart. It gets even worse when you start coming across a bunch of guys with grotesquely bulging muscles and ape-like grins. Rather than committing suicide on your fists like the other mooks, they'll abuse an in-game glitch that lets two sprites stand in the same space at once. It leaves them nigh invulnerable (even moreso than before) as they administer multi-hit combos that that can completely annihilate your life bar and leave you broken on the ruined city pavement. What makes it even more annoying is that your character will automatically trigger his stunned animation, which involves him sitting on his ass, staring stupidly at his attackers and muttering to himself as you scream in frustration.

Given the fact that this happens every few seconds ought to be enough to make you give up after a couple of levels. You probably should, too. Aside from the boss battles - which include a deformed Santa cyborg, scythe-wielding mecha, a snake-whipping wrestler, and various mutant freaks of nature - there's very little in terms of creativity. Wave after wave of the same ridiculously cheap enemies keep pouring into the screen, smacking you into submission until you put in another quarter. The game tries to make up for it by letting you pick up weapons from the surrounding environment. Streetlights, signs, electrical cords, fire hydrants, and even burning cars can be used to dish out a little more punishment. The problem is that they're hardly more effective than the regular attacks. Picking them up requires you to stand over them and use a slow, poorly detected grab maneuver that leaves you wide open. If you manage to pick one up, it'll promptly be knocked away because you're enemies have comboed you to death and the items vanish as soon as they hit the ground. If you can hold on long enough to pull off an attack, you'll find that your hard-won weapon does little more damage than a couple of well-timed hits could accomplish…

And then you'll get killed again.

Needless to say, this gets old quickly. As its name implies, everything about this game is crude. The premise tries to be a grittier, darker version of more popular brawlers, but its heroes and villains are bland and unmemorable. It tries to make things more badass with the science fiction themes, but it doesn't do much with them. Underneath all the freakish visuals and post-apocalyptic settings are some poorly designed combat mechanics. The pathetic movesets, the unreliable hit detection, and glitched enemies make getting through even the first few levels a tedious affair. Not even throwing a flaming car at a bunch of mooks makes things interesting. So do yourself a favor and go play something better. This game is too crude for its own good.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 05/21/10

Game Release: Crude Buster (JP, 12/31/90)


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