Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Rick Casteel

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Microsoft
Price Range: $35-50
Learning curve time: 60 mins.
Age level: 12+
ESRB Rating: Teen
Patches / Upgrades: Yes
System Requirements: P-266, 64 RAM, 3-D Accelerator, Joystick recommended

Genre: Arcade/Combat Flight
Christian Rating: 4 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 3 of 5
Violence: 4 of 5
   (barely present)
Adult Content: 4 of 5
   (barely present)

Screen capture from 'Crimson Skies'Did you ever look forward to something only to find it wasn't quite what you thought? You know, you go to a new restaurant your friends have been talking about and it's OK but not great. Or you see a new movie that's been hyped for weeks and it has some annoying flaws. Well, this describes my experience with "Crimson Skies".

“Crimson Skies” is a 2000-release arcade style flight sim from Microsoft and Zipper Interactive. The demo was fun and the game itself has a lot going for it. The game takes place in an alternate Dis-United States. “Crimson Skies” alters history and sets up its story line by having the US broken up into numerous independent regions after the stock market crash of 1929. Ground commerce comes to a halt between many of the feuding regions so air traffic became the standard means of transportation and trade. You play a good-guy pirate during these times, battling other pirates, no-good corporations and other governments in the best tradition of the old movie serial. You could say that “Crimson Skies” is a cross between Indiana Jones and The Great Waldo Pepper! Conveying this sense of fun, adventure and setting is what CS does really well. You can have fun playing the main character Nathan Zachary and enjoy the overdone mission briefings and cut scenes.

Screen capture from “Crimson Skies” Playing the game can be a blast too! The physics are all arcade style. Thankfully you have only the most basic of controls. This helps you get right into the action and start blasting your enemies out of the sky. You WILL NEED a joystick! I do not recommend trying this game with conventional keyboard and mouse. While simplistic, you do need to do quite a bit of maneuvering in the sky and pinpointing targets which only the joystick can enhance. There are a wide variety of missions offering more than the “blast your enemy out of the sky” objectives. There is no graphic violence (in fact ALL your enemies are able to eject from their planes as you shoot them down), mature themes are only suggested in the voice overs as the crew invites you to a party and women attempt to woo you. So what's the problem you ask?

Primarily technical and design issues. The load times are among the longest I have had to endure in a game. From clicking on the icon to actually starting play can take several minutes. Not long in work time, but when you have 30 minutes to get a quick game in its painful to go through. Related to this is the inability to save within a level. When will these guys learn?! I don't want to play the same 20-30 minutes of a level only to get shot down near the end and have to take 20-30 to get back through the area I was successful at! “CS” does push you along. If you fail a mission enough times it prompts you to skip it. Now that will kill your motivation quick. There is much discussion regarding this concept within gaming circles and the elite who can whip through these games with 1-2 trails will say having no manual save feature "keeps the tension high". I have enough tension in my life, I want to have fun with these games, not develop high blood pressure.

In my spiritual life, I have a choice. Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Rev 3:20. The choice is up to you. Without this option we are destined to repeat our errors, having no forgiveness, no hope and may end up stop trying to “play the game” altogether.

Year of Release—2000

Positive—This is a fun, arcade style “flight-simulator” that even FS newbies can jump right into and enjoy. Language is mild in CS, with several uses of the word, “Damn,” but that is the worst it gets. The violence level is pretty mild, although you are shooting down enemy aircraft and destroying enemy ground targets, no ever seems to die. Other characters that were shoot down earlier in the game will show up in later levels, and the pilots of downed aircraft manage to bail out every time. My biggest concern about the content, is vailed comments pointing to the fact that the main character is something of a “ladies man,” you might say. But even this is aspect of the game is kept pretty low key. The game is quite entertaining, and the internet multiplayer option works very well, even on very slow modems. The graphics are still quite good, considering the game was put out in mid 2000. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Nathan Alterton, age 23

Positive—…a really fun game …ok for all ages. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Carl, age 13

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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