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Old 10-07-2008, 04:51 PM   #1
Tencade Kazarian
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Disaster: Day of Crisis

It would be exactly that if you didn’t check out our import hands-on and direct-feed videos of Monolith Soft’s action-adventure Wii game.



It’s been a while, but Nintendo’s investment in Monolith Soft is finally bearing fruit with the completion of Disaster: Day of Crisis. After years in the works and a few delays for good measure, the erstwhile Wii launch title has been released in Japan. Or, to put it another way, Nintendo has finally released a game that should have come out two years ago, and for all its time in development hell, it still currently doesn’t have a North American release date—it isn’t even listed on Nintendo’s own website. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.


The Disaster: Day of Crisis intro movie.


In Disaster: Day of Crisis, a former marine and rescue specialist named Ray finds himself in the middle of Blue Ridge City when it gets hit with a series of natural disasters triggered by a massive earthquake. Expect fires, tornadoes, fire tornadoes, a tsunami, floods, and a volcanic eruption—and that's just for starters. The initial earthquake was predicted by a rogue military group called STORM, which then uses the inaccessible city as their “hideout” to hold the United States hostage with a nuclear warhead that they’ve somehow come across. Ray is trying to rescue Lisa, the sister of his former partner, whom has been kidnapped by STORM. So not only does Ray need to deal with the STORM threat, but everything Mother Nature is throwing at him. As the title implies, the action takes place over the course of a single day.

There are a variety of gameplay styles within the main adventure. The game is built upon a standard adventure model, where Ray walks around a given part of the city from Point A to Point B, generally looking around to try to rescue anyone that may need help. In the process, you may be required to lift debris off of someone and pull them to safety, clean and bandage a victim’s wounds, or even administer CPR. These rescue sequences often use Wii Remote motion controls in conjunction with timed button presses. Rescues are optional, but completing them will earn you additional points that you can use to upgrade Ray’s attributes and abilities.


Watch out for that tsunami! Also see a sample of a rescue procedure.

Players have different meters and indicators they need to worry about at any given time. The most important ones are the stamina and life meters. Stamina slowly drains at all times, and the only way to keep Ray from running out is to eat food. Food can be found around the levels by busting open containers around the levels. If Ray runs out of stamina or takes damage otherwise, he loses a chunk of the life bar. Life will also start to drain away if Ray stays inside a smoky area for too long. Furthermore, smoke fills the lungs meter, which will eventually go down on its own once Ray is in clear air, or can be rapidly returned to normal by repeatedly taking deep breaths with the Z Button. Performing this action is particularly annoying since you need to press the button several times to reset the lungs meter to normal, even if it only shows them as 10-20% filled initially.
Another meter only shows up when you are engaged in a gun battle. Whenever STORM finds Ray, the game switches over to a shooting mode, which plays a little bit like Namco’s Time Crisis games. Ray can duck behind cover by holding the Z Button, letting go of which makes Ray pop out so you can start shooting. The game gives clear warning when someone is about to shoot—a bright red cursor on the gun barrel of an enemy flashes just before they fire—giving you time to get your shots in. This warning system makes the shooting portion feel really easy, as if the game is holding your hand through it. By holding down the C Button, Ray enters concentration mode, which zooms the view in and makes it much easier to score devastating headshots. He can only stay in this mode for a limited time though, as indicated by another on-screen meter.


See what it's like to get into a firefight in the middle of a subway wreckage.


These gun battles feel generally slow, but I’m finding that they're beginning to pick up somewhat now that I’m more than three hours into the game. Another positive development is the ability to upgrade my current weapons and buy new ones with the battle points I’ve earned from doing well in the gun sequences. I’ve come across one really tough boss battle up to this point so far, but for the most part they’re a matter of hiding behind cover until a pre-determined opportunity presents itself, at which point you just pop up, aim the Wii Remote pointer at the giant, purple “shoot me to win” targets, then move on to the next area.

You can easily tell that Disaster: Day of Crisis is a few years late to the Wii party from its first few chapters. A game that frequently involves waggle-punching random containers strewn about a level to reveal important, life-sustaining items is one with a design that’s tired and redundant. Apparently, our hero is strong enough to bust open metal mailboxes or giant boulders with just two or three bare-fisted punches, but what makes this really ridiculous is that, at least so far, busting up breakable items is the sole purpose of motion-activated punching. Truly, it’s the definition of “waggle” in the despicable sense of the word.
The game basically tells you where to go and what to shoot (at least in the first few hours on normal difficulty), and thus the entire product has a “tutorial” feel to it. It’s as if I’m being told how the Wii experience is supposed to work when I'm playing Disaster, but I already know this thanks to two years of experience playing Wii games. The driving sequences just hammer this point home, since all you do in two of the first three of them is navigate from one place to another, essentially accomplishing absolutely nothing. In the other one, you are trying to outrun a tsunami—the only problem with this being that the camera looks behind you, and so you can’t see the cars you need to swerve around until the last moment, if you even manage to stay on the bridge that’s crumbling beneath you.
While my first impression of Disaster: Day of Crisis has left me somewhat underwhelmed, I did like some of the cut-scenes (wait until you see that tsunami head into the downtown area), and the story introduced an interesting plot twist early on. That’s more than enough for me to keep playing it and see what the full product will bring to the table, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is basically a 2006 game that's been shelved until 2008. I don’t know if the later chapters or scenarios will be much different, but based on what I’ve played so far, it doesn’t look all that promising.



By Steven Rodriguez, Director of NWR

Last edited by Tencade Kazarian; 10-07-2008 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 10-07-2008, 05:47 PM   #2
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this game seems like its going to be sooo cool. i cant wait
but i hope its better then what this guy is saying
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