Crash Time 4 Demo Is A Bit Good

By John Walker on January 24th, 2011 at 12:14 pm.

Well we've all had a crashing good time.

The German Crash Time series has always been a mysterious one. When Jim took a look at Crash Time II he found it to be rather dull. When I reviewed Crash Time III for PC Gamer, I was confused to find that the game was actively against the idea of crashing, and so very best of all, the two lead characters, Ben Jäger and Semir Gerkan, were both voiced by the same man, not even trying to differentiate between them. Conversations were amazing. Now there’s a demo for Crash Time 4, and blimey, things have improved.

First be warned, this will install GFWL without asking for permission. That’s fun. But past that this is a monolithic step forward for what was a painfully mediocre series. While it’s still packed with the same embarrassingly corny voice acting and barely comprehensibly translated dialogue, the game itself has learned so many lessons. There’s even two different actors playing the leads!

Set in Cologne, the city is absolutely gorgeous and meticulously detailed. Cars are fun to drive, on the extremely arcadey side of realism (where things should be, naturally), letting you travel at ridiculous paces. I’d like to see a bit more generosity with the handbrake – it’s not exactly a game that encourages drift. But unlike the mystifying third game, here crashing is positively encouraged. There’s only so much damage a car can take, but trifling details like a wheel falling off are automagically fixed to let you carry on enjoying yourself.

The demo contains a ton of stuff. I’ve been playing for ages now, and it’s still going. The missions are more sensibly spread out across an open world, picked up on the fly, or by visiting locations. It seems the city has been overrun by a cartel of evil criminals from many nations across many aspects of hard crime! Ben and Semir are charged with TAKING THEM DOWN! This is performed by finding their hideouts, chasing their cars, and delivering hotdogs for the nice New York lady who mysteriously runs the hotdog stand in central Cologne. A hotdog stand you can then smash to smithereens without being penalised.

Car chases are a little confusing. Am I meant to be running them off the road, or following them home? Because when I smash them into walls, they don’t seem to mind that I carry on following them after. And the gobbledook conversations from the characters seem to contradict each other. But perhaps all that will be much more clear in the full game.

From the look of this demo, this is likely to be a properly interesting GTA-alike, which is something we haven’t seen for quite a while. Some of the architecture, such as an epic gothic cathedral, is breathtaking. And most importantly, crashing is lots of fun. Especially into trains. There’s a ludicrous amount for free here. It’s well worth checking out.

__________________

« | »

, , .

41 Comments »

  1. ulix says:

    This game is by the way based on a ridiculously bad (and awesome) German TV Show called “Alarm für Cobra 11″, where probably two thirds of each episodes budget is spent on cars crashing, flying through the air, and other amazing action.

    Just put in “Alarm für Cobra 11 Crashes” or something like that on Youtube. You will be utterly bewildered and amazed.

    Here you have a great example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oi_XpchuQ6g

    And check out everything from 1:45 in this amazing clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbiMx-PD62Y&NR=1

  2. Aemony says:

    I want a new Midtown Madness… =(

    • plugmonkey says:

      Keep an eye out for the new Driver game. I played the multiplayer side of it at a gameshow over the summer, and it’s pure Midtown Madness goodness, combined with a very cool mechanic that lets you ditch your car, magically fly across the map and then jump into any other car.

      It sounds weird on paper, but once you get into a game it completely fixes the problem you sometimes got in Midtown Madness where you were permanently one step behind the action and spent the whole game trying to catch up with the fun. Here you just fly to the fun, and then jump into the nearest car to the fun.

    • Player1 says:

      @plugmonkey: and so they ruined one of the best franchises that ever saw the light of the day. As long as i can’t switch it off i won’t get into the new Driver. The car swapping mechanic is just pathetic, bring back Bullitt and the other guys.

    • Bhazor says:

      “and so they ruined one of the best franchises”
      If it can survive Driv3r it can survive anything.

    • plugmonkey says:

      So what is it about the car swapping mechanic that you didn’t like? Use specific gameplay examples drawn from your own experience of playing it.

      In multiplayer, I found it to be really good fun. Throwing your car at an opponent as you jumped out of it was really good fun, as was being able to catch straight back up with the action after you screwed up. It was face paced, anarchic, and the best free-roaming driving experience I’ve had since Midtown Madness.

      As there wasn’t really much of a multiplayer component in Driver before, I fail to see how the addition of a new feature can ruin it?

  3. Navagon says:

    Although the series has a terrible name I actually enjoyed the demos of the previous two (despite the voice acting, or maybe because it’s so cheesy) and have considered getting them. Never actually got around to it though.

    So I’ll have to give this a go and see if it convinces me, in spite of the fact that the previous two didn’t quite.

  4. Javier-de-Ass says:

    Hehe nice. I played this demo yesterday, and was surprised at the jump in quality from the previous ones to this as well. I own all the games in the series already, but they’ve always been games I got just because they were terrible. Now, my reality is crumbling.

    What you want to do in car chases is either just shoot the cars you’re following or block them off from driving by crashing them into something and holding them in place for 5 seconds or so.

    To shoot, bring up the targeting reticule with the LB button on the 360 controller and mash it to shoot. I think you have to target the first shot manually and then the rest of the clip will auto-aim. Or something, it is a bit weird. The mechanic was the same in the previous games.

    To be able to hold them you have to make sure you’ve selected the car you’re chasing as the current mission with the Y button. The ‘V’ on the current mission changes to a ‘X’, and if you press the Y button again it will cancel the mission. There are other indicators you’ve got the car you’re chasing selected as the current mission as well, like the white painted line between you and the car on the minimap, and the distance meter in one of the top corners (if he gets too far away, he’s gone).

  5. bill says:

    Sounds like midtown madness. Loved the first of those.

    But I loved them mostly because it felt like driving around those places. I could cruise around and see places that i remembered from London or San fransisco, and I could explore chicago and other places I hadn’t been to. Was sad when MTM3 was on the consoles.

    Never been to Colonge, but one of my mates lives there… so i’m tempted to install it just to explore his hood. Does it have the whole city in the demo?

    But GFWL??????? gah…. torn!

  6. Dhatz says:

    this i finished the full like 2 weeks ago, best in series.
    there is the chunk of truth: pirates always get everything.

  7. BooleanBob says:

    What time is it?

  8. otzenGulasch says:

    “An epic gothic cathedral” is the friggin Cologne Cathedral!

    • Edawan says:

      Surprisingly !

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Living in Cologne, and having been at the exact same place that car is in the last picture, I can tell you that it’s more than epic. Because the thing somehow is unexpectedly large. Like the doors. Your brain wants to think they are just normal doors. Except they are so big, they got a tiny (in comparison) door in them that is the size of a normal door. And check out the detail of the actual thing in photos. There’s a reason it took literally 100s of years to build it. :)

      Some tips on where to drive to: The core of the old city is from the the Dom ([with a long o] as the cathedral is called) to the rhine (not sure if the game lets you drive there, but worth a try), down south to the Alter Markt (old market) and the Heumarkt (hay market). From there either try the bridges to go to the more industrialized eastern side, or to the west via the Neumarkt (new market) to the Ringe (rings), where you can race well at night, and crash into trams and cars well at day. ;)
      The Ringe have a bigger brother called Gürtel (belt) which is further outside, goes trough the university district and is next to the Grüner Gürtel (green belt), where there once was so much bombing that there was nothing left, so they just put a bit of green there. :)

  9. Paul says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIqec5Jgl8Y&NR=1

    My favourite Cobra 11 episode. Just crazy ass mayhem : ).

  10. Brumisator says:

    This is kind of fun, especially if you can read German, with all the silly in-world jokes.
    Like the “Museum of old and dead things” and the “Bent and Wonky” store.
    The missions could be less cryptic in their description, but it’s a very minor annoyance.

  11. fuggles says:

    How do you stop a bomber in this? I rammed/shot the stuffing out of a car full of people who “look like bombers” and it still went off? Boo!

  12. Paul says:

    Holy crap!
    I might actually buy this! Just tried the demo – the graphics looks just amazing, the city is almost lifelike. And it runs perfectly too. And driving seems fun.

    Whoa, never expected it to look that great!
    Will it be on steam?

  13. Zyrxil says:

    The city is rather good looking and so are the graphics for an ostensibly lower-budget game. I gotta disagree on the handling though. The cars drive rather wonk-ily, worse than any GTA, and certainly not as good as say, Burnout Paradise.

  14. Alez says:

    I played the full game and it’s nice at first but quickly loses it’s pace. Trying to find were the missions are is NOT fun. I’ve played plenty of games in my time but few with such confusing pacing. It badly needs a mission select screen.

    Oh but it does look good and it’s a joy to explore the pretty city.

  15. yourgrandma says:

    i think the highlight of the series was in the first game doing a race with just semitrucks and plowing through traffic… also splitscreen is always nice.

  16. Initialised says:

    Uh oh, last time I installed XNA I lost all gaming capability until I reinstalled DirectX, great way to put one off a game.

  17. Initialised says:

    Oh, wow, Furmark Reskinjob to determine system performance. Sod that crank all the settings to full and see how it handles.

  18. Initialised says:

    CrossfireX kicked in. Sadly with settings cranked on a 1280×1024 screen on 4870×2 and 3.6GHz C2Q it still looked worse than Race Driver (let alone GRiD or DiRT2), more like a late DX8 game and routinely dipped under 30fps. Despite the appauling performance the graphics engine is poorly lit managing to look washed out rather than sun-drenched with shadows looking oddly out of context. Tunnel noise kicks in like a bad DJ dropping a baseline 100ms out of sync. It seemed to want to be played on a controller but has more inputs than a standard PS3 pad. Then theres the voice acting, I hope it gets better as the game progresses, hell give the script to me and I’ll read the lines with emphasis in the right places and localised intonation. No way will I be buying or recommending this game, I hope they payed RPS enough for the publicity, either that or you’re having a slow day and figured you’d rely on the readership for some choice comments cos you can’t be arsed to play through the whole game and review it properly cos it only takes 2 minutes 10 seconds to conclude that it’s a bit shit really.

  19. manveruppd says:

    Anyone else being asked to put a product key for the demo? GFWL is telling me it can’t save my progress unless I give it a product key!

  20. bill says:

    how much city is in the demo?

  21. GallonOfAlan says:

    I’ve only played the 360 versions of these but engine-wise they have been inching towards AA-territory. I still fire up the first one just for yuks at the voice acting.

  22. _Jackalope_ says:

    Played a couple of these Cobra 11 games before and really enjoyed them. Synetic did Breakneck NICE2 a few years back and my Grandad and I had a lot of fun with that. I love the voice acting, reminds me of Family Guy and the “2 foreign guys who’ve been living in the US almost long enough to sound American”!

  23. Rock Tumbler says:

    Does this game really have no mouse support?

  24. mwoody says:

    Aaaahahahahaha – it’s like GTA, only you’re on the cops’ side, you can’t leave your car, and – best of all – you play the “two foreign guys” from Family Guy. This is the best thing ever made.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>