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Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
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Crimson Skies: Highroad to Revenge
Published by: Jeff McCloy on 2004-04-28
Page Views: 4760
Rating: 8/10

I was first introduced to this game via The Discovery Channel's Special on XBOX and Game Design. It gave me an incredible appreciation for the hard work not to mention millions of dollars that go into making a 'hopeful' blockbuster game.

This was supposed to be one of the early great Xbox titles (along with Halo) expected not too long after the launch of the Xbox system. But Microsoft continually delayed the game, apparently holding off until Crimson Skies could take advantage of the Xbox’s graphical power while its online play could be fully developed along with the fledgling Xbox Live online service. Holding back Crimson Skies’ takeoff out of the Microsoft hangar turned out to be an excellent gamble, because this is one high-flying Xbox game.

The story has an original premise, but falls back on some old standby stories in the video game world: avenging a fallen comrade and rescuing damsels in distress. A shame, since Crimson Skies had a lot of potential for originality built into its storyline. But it’s not the story that makes Crimson Skies so special. The amazing gameplay, with a perfect balance of simulation and arcade-style flying & fighting action, sends Crimson Skies soaring into the high-flying fun stratosphere. The game plays sort of similar to, believe it or not, Grand Theft Auto, without the same level of murderous bloodshed. Each of the five moderately-sized levels is broken up with a bunch of mini-missions that you can complete in the order you wish. Most require a lot of heavy-duty dogfighting, where you’ll face wave after wave of enemy planes. Others require escorting or protecting friendly aircraft, manning anti-aircraft guns on ground-based installments, or stealing items in exchange for information that you need to ultimately get your revenge on your nemesis, John “Genghis” Khan. The only mini-mission that seems misplaced or at least frustratingly unwelcome, are the races through obstacle courses for wagers, which feature too many twists and turns to be much more than a tedious affair.

The online play is just as fundamental in the happy o'meter. Trust me when I say dogfighting your best friend while talking trash as their plane disintegrates into nothing is so gratifying. Crimson Skies rivals Splinter Cell and Dead or Alive 3 for the most wonderful graphics to appear on the Xbox yet. In addition to the visual treat of Crimson Skies is the perfectly-fitting musical score that flows throughout. The orchestral tunes fit like a glove for the 1930’s-esque setting (albeit alternate 1930’s setting) of the game, with climatic music providing the just-right amount of tension and edge to your battles. It's unfortuante that this game isn't getting the recognition that it deserves, it is a true gem.



  

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