Crush, Crumble, and Chomp review - long version

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C64_Critic
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Crush, Crumble, and Chomp review - long version

Postby C64_Critic » July 17th, 2019, 9:21 pm

As I tend to be a bit more verbose in my reviews than works for the Critic's general style, I tend to start out doing a longer version of a review than ends up being put in the official review section. Here is the long version of the same review, in case anyone cares:

"When summertime rolls around I always enjoy a good ‘bad’ Monster flick. Godzilla, King Kong, anything with aliens, it all reminds me of long, warm summer nights as a kid enjoying my time off school and staying up as late as I could get away with watching whatever late-night fare the local TV stations threw on before they signed off for the night (yes, this used to be a thing). Having recently watched the movie Rampage, I decided to pull this game off my shelf and give it a once-over. It seemed like it would be the perfect fit to that summertime monster movie mood I’ve been in. The entire game is based on the premise that you are the ‘star’ (monster) in a of a block buster monster movie – in fact, the full game’s name is “Crush, Crumble, and Chop! The Movie Monster Game”, and this movie emphasis permeates the game. From the moment you boot it up and hear that SID chip playing movie monster music which I can’t for the life of me place, through the setup menu where you select your monster, objective and city, the “movie” theme is present throughout. Before your game begins it actually scrolls a “Starring:” list of the various things and people you’ll encounter during your quest to ruin the city! The premise of the game is pretty straight forward, cause as much damage and havoc to the city of your choice (between 4 options) before you’re dispatched by those nasty humans. You can tweak your objective slightly to keep the game more interesting… for instance, giving yourself more points for killing humans (“Killer Monster”) or wanton destruction of buildings and structures (“Destruction”), or even simply lasting as long as possible (“Survival”). But let’s be honest, no one wants to be a giant movie monster and do anything other than rage out am I right? I always chose “Balanced” because I wanted equal scoring for burning down buildings, eating people, or destroying military hardware. You select the monster you wish to be, or with the disk version of the game you can even create your own unique monster. Then you select the objective you prefer, and finally the city you wish to terrorize with your choices being New York, Washington D.C., “Golden Gate” (why didn’t they just use San Francisco?!), or Tokyo. I tended to play as the giant robot, because he didn’t have to eat like all the other monsters – more on that later. The manual includes a map of each city that shows you were various famous landmarks are located. Sadly, as I immediately went to destroy the World Trade Center in New York, I found that it was represented on the screen the same way all other buildings were represented and the only thing telling me that particular square was the WTC was the map in my manual. Oh well, for the computing limitations of 1981 I can’t give them too much grief. Different monsters have slightly different attacks or abilities; for instance, the giant Ant can sling a web to stop pursuers or tunnel underground for up to 4 squares before re-emerging while the Kraken is confined to water but can paralyze nearby units. My preferred giant robot could breath fire, and the game even simulated the fire occasionally spreading to adjacent structures – pretty nifty for 1981! As you wander around the city torching parks and toppling buildings, crowds of humans will occasionally appear and you can either kill them in a variety of ways or eat them to stave off hunger… this, again, is why I preferred to play as the non-eating robot. All other monsters grow hungry over time, and I found it a constant pain trying to keep up with my hunger levels which when it drops too far causes you to go berserk due to starvation – during which time you cannot control your monster and he executes random actions. I would have loved an option to turn this ‘feature’ off entirely, or at least keep it from becoming so important so quickly. After a while police cars will start to harass you, followed by the national guard, helicopters, and eventually a ‘mad scientist’ in a different helicopter who can paralyze your creature. As you take damage your health will start to suffer and when you become gravely injured, the intro music will kick in again to let you know that time is running out! You can heal yourself by eating people, but generally you’re always on a downward slide when it comes to health after first contact. Eventually you die (always – there is no ‘winning’ in this game), and you get a wrap-up regarding how well you did and via your score. I really have to give the developers props for some of the fun tweaks they came up with in order to keep this game different and give it replay value, it’s quite an accomplishment for the age of the game! After a few initial play-throughs though it very quickly started to feel stale and the differences between the monsters pretty minor, so for me the replay value just isn’t there. Still, I can see myself breaking out this over future summers when I just need to scratch that movie monster itch!
Pairs well with: Wakiki Brewing Companys “Hana Hou Hefe”, as I always gravitate towards wheat beers in the summer as well.
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