Crusader: No Remorse
|Crusader: No Remorse|
|Engine||Enhanced Ultima VIII: Pagan engine|
Crusader: No Remorse is an action game developed by Origin Systems and published by Electronic Arts. It was first released in 1995 for the PC DOS, with the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn ports following in 1997. Set in a dystopian world of 22nd century, the games center on an elite supersoldier that defects from the tyrannical world government, the World Economic Consortium (WEC), and joins the Resistance rebels.
Critically well-received, No Remorse was followed by the PC-only sequel Crusader: No Regret in 1996.
The Crusader is divided into missions, each with their own locations and objectives. Settings vary from factories to military bases to offices to space stations, and contain a variety of enemy soldiers and servomechs, traps, puzzles and non-combatants (who can be killed with no penalty and their bodies can be looted for credits which are used to purchase better weapons). All locations have alarm systems which can be triggered by actions such as walking into view of security cameras, weapons fire, or destroying a secured door. Setting off an alarm will bring down significant military presence and the player is encouraged to avoid triggering them or to deactivate them as soon as possible. In No Remorse, the Silencer could carry no more than five firearms at once.
The game featured a previously unprecedented level of setting interaction. Most of the environment can be destroyed by weapons fire and some traps or defenses can be manipulated for use against the enemy. The geography of the setting encourages the use of tactics and combinations of moves in order to hit the targets effectively with the minimum possible loss of resources. No Regret added a handful of new maneuvers to the original game, including the ability to dive forward, and to sidestep while crouching. Weapons, ammunition, credits (money), healing facilities, and other equipment is scattered through the levels, allowing the player to upgrade their arsenal.
Due to economic downfalls, the nations of the planet Earth began gradually to organize themselves into huge economic super-conglomerates. Eventually, these continental organizations merged into the World Economic Consortium. The WEC is a tyrannical entity; while the world is made to look peaceful and prosperous, the reality is that most freedoms are suspended, taxes are well over 90%, military force is used mercilessly against those who dare oppose the WEC, and freedom is barely even remembered. Only an elite upper class of WEC executives have true power and wealth; among these are WEC President Gauthier and Chairman Nathaniel Draygan. The WEC is being fought by an organization calling itself the Resistance, led by former WEC colonel, now general, Quentin Maxis. The Resistance is a severely outnumbered and outgunned ragtag mix of disparate people: ex-WEC soldiers and employees rub elbows with political dissidents and criminals.
As No Remorse opens, a team of three Silencers—enigmatic super-soldiers—are returning from a botched mission in which they disobeyed an order to fire upon civilians who were (mistakenly) believed to be rebels. They are ambushed by a WEC mech and two of the Silencers are killed. The remaining one, a nameless captain (the player character), was able to disable the mech with a grenade. Reconsidering his options, the Silencer joins the Resistance, where, as a significant symbol of the WEC's military power and political philosophy, he is met with resentment, distrust and outright hatred. As the game progresses, the Silencer uncomplainingly undertakes dangerous missions, often with substandard equipment, and his continued success gradually earns the respect of his fellow Resistance members.
The Silencer eventually uncovers secret plans for a WEC space station, the Vigilance Platform, which can attack any location on Earth from space, meaning cities with a known Resistance presence can simply be annihilated at the leisure of the WEC. All such cities are threatened with orbital bombardment unless they surrender. Concurrently, the player's Resistance cell is betrayed from within, and almost all the non-player characters are killed. Despite these setbacks, the Silencer infiltrates the Vigilance Platform and destroys it. The traitor is also on the station, guarding the lifepods, and challenges the Silencer to a duel over the access card for the last pod. As the Vigilance Platform is exploding, the Silencer is contacted by Chairman Draygan, who swears vengeance against him.
Both games use an advanced version of the Ultima VIII: Pagan isometric view engine featuring full SVGA graphics. The game's audio uses a specially made engine, called Asylum Sound System, which employs MOD files rather than General MIDI, in order to provide good quality without relying on expensive hardware. Each mission and intermission level has its own track. The soundtracks for both games were composed by Andrew Sega and Dan Grandpre of the now-defunct Straylight Productions.
The Crusader games feature full motion video (FMV) sequences with live actors; FMVs are used in cutscenes to further the story, generally through interaction with other characters. These conversations are generally one-sided, as the player character never speaks. Like many Origin games, both No Remorse shipped with significant in-universe back-story material, including a fold-out propaganda poster, newspaper and guides from the WEC and the Resistance.
Crusader contains several references to Origin's Wing Commander series and is also referenced by other games. The introduction of the game shows a dating system as used in Wing Commander (a year number, followed by a decimal signifying a day). According to Wing Commander backstory, the Terran Confederation is a government that replaced the WEC and the Wing Commander Arena manual "Star*Soldier" has an advertisement for an in-game movie titled No Regret, which is portrayed in the manual as based on true events. Furthermore, an article in the newspaper added to the No Remorse box mentions SHODAN and the Citadel space station in a reference to System Shock, and the blood-soaked operating tables seen throughout certain levels are of the same model used in Bioforge, on which its main character LEX was created on. According to the game's lead designer Tony Zurovec these references are solely easter eggs and Crusader is not sharing a universe with any other game series.
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Crusader: No Remorse won the Action Game of the Year award from Computer Gaming World. In 1996, Computer Gaming World ranked it as the 38th best PC game of all time, also listing the game's ultraviolet rifle among the 15 "best worst ways to die in computer gaming".
A third game in the series (with several working titles such as Crusader 3: No Escape, Crusader II and Crusader: No Mercy) was never released. Tony Zurovec of the Crusader team left Origin and joined Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts at his new company Digital Anvil and Origin refocused its efforts on Ultima Online. Preliminary storyline ideas included boarding a shuttle and making a daring assault to get back to Earth.
In 2006, Slovakian company Outsider Development tried to convince EA on porting Crusader: No Remorse to the PlayStation Portable, but their Crusader: No Pity project (which included a working prototype) was rejected despite the support from Andrew Sega.
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- PC Gamer Online | Crusader: No Remorse
- Crusader: No Remorse Review
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- Fallout Classic Revisited, GameSpot, 9 March 2012.
- In-game literature for Crusader: No Remorse
- Tyler, M.; Frase, T.; and McCubbin, C. (1995) Origin's Official Guide to Crusader: No Remorse, Origin Systems, Inc. ISBN 0-929373-26-X