The Crow: City of Angels (video game)

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The Crow: City of Angels
Crow City of Angels game cover.jpg
North American PlayStation cover art
Developer(s) Gray Matter
Publisher(s) Acclaim Entertainment
Platform(s) PlayStation, Saturn, Microsoft Windows
Release PlayStation
  • NA: February 28, 1997
  • EU: April 1997
  • JP: April 25, 1997
  • NA: March 12, 1997
  • EU: April 1997
  • JP: April 25, 1997
  • NA: February 1997
  • EU: April 1997
Genre(s) Beat 'em up
Mode(s) Single-player

The Crow: City of Angels is a 1997 action video game for Sega Saturn, PlayStation and Microsoft Windows. It is loosely based on the movie of the same title. The player assumes the role of the hero of the film, Ashe Corven. The game was developed by Gray Matter, then best known for the PlayStation game Perfect Weapon, which The Crow: City of Angels closely resembles in its basic mechanics.[1][2] It was met with negative reviews.


The gameplay style is similar to a traditional six-directional side-scrolling beat 'em up, viewed from an isometric perspective. All objects and characters are 3D polygonal models, imposed over 2D pre-rendered backgrounds. The game is virtually identical across the three platforms it was released for, the main difference between them being that the PC version has sharper 2D-rendered backgrounds, due to its higher screen resolution.[3]

The protagonist Ashe's primary method of fighting enemies is hand-to-hand combat, consisting of basic punches and kicks. He also has the ability to pull off more acrobatic moves using various button combinations. Along the way various weapons can be found, including knives, bottles, handguns and shotguns. In addition to their normal usage, all of the weapons can be thrown at enemies to cause damage.[4] During the course of the game, Ashe encounters various bosses (the main villains from the film).


The game follows the same plot of the movie on which it is based: mechanic Ashe Corven and his son Danny are brutally murdered by a gang. Resurrected by a crow and acquiring supernatural powers with the help of artist and new friend Sarah, Ashe now seeks vengeance on his murderers, including "the ninjitsu death-bitch" Kali and the drug king Judah.[5][6]


Acclaim originally planned for the game to be released early in the fourth quarter of 1996, in order to tie in with the August release of the film it is based on.[7]

All of the characters in the game were animated with Acclaim's motion capture technology.[4]


Review scores
GameSpot3.9/10 (PS1)[8]
IGN1.0/10 (PS1)[6]
PC Gamer (US)32% (WIN)[9]
Next Generation1/5 stars (PS1)[1]
Sega Saturn Magazine67% (SAT)[10]

The Crow: City of Angels was almost universally panned upon its release. The PlayStation version has a GameRankings score of 23.5% based on four reviews.[5] Critics widely praised the 3D rendered backgrounds, agreeing that they were both technologically cutting edge and lent a moody, haunting atmosphere to the game.[8][6][9][10][11] However, esteem for the visuals was outweighed by criticism of the controls, which reviewers found suffered from delayed responsiveness and made it difficult to make the player character face the desired direction.[8][6][9][1][10][2] Most found that the frequent changing of the fixed camera angles[8][6][9][10][11] and poor collision detection[8][1][10] added to the confusion and frustration of the basic gameplay. Some critics additionally felt that the beat 'em up genre as a whole was too limited by the standards of the current gaming generation.[8][1] Jeff Kitts from GameSpot explained, "There are no objectives, tasks, or missions to complete - just walk around and punch bad guys. Big fun (note the sarcasm)."[8]

The voice clips, though regarded as a lesser issue, were generally ridiculed as featuring weak dialogue, mediocre acting, poor quality production, and a limited selection of clips (which leads to multiple enemies repeating the same lines).[8][6][9][2] Colin Williamson commented in PC Gamer US that the clips "sound like they were recorded by programmers screaming into a five-dollar Radio Shack microphone".[9]

According to Scary Larry of GamePro, "This dark, moody game may appeal to certain Gen Xers looking for a slow-paced violent game. The rest of us, however, are going to be turned off by the awkward, choppy movements of the sprites, asinine gameplay, and horrible graphics."[2] Sega Saturn Magazine's Lee Nutter said it was "Not a bad effort of a game by Acclaim's usual standards but certainly not a wise purchase."[10] Williamson called it "the worst movie license fighting game since Expect No Mercy."[9] A Game Revolution reviewer went on to say: "The Crow: City of Angels is one of the worst titles I've ever seen. Avoid all contact with this game."[3] IGN rated the game 1.0 out of 10, their lowest possible score.[6] A Next Generation critic said the game's problems were so great that it seemed nowhere near the end of its development cycle.[1]

It was included among the 100 worst games of all time by GamesRadar in 2014.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Finals: The Crow: City of Angels". Next Generation. No. 30. Imagine Media. June 1997. p. 116. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Saturn ProReview: The Crow: City of Angels". GamePro. No. 105. IDG. June 1997. p. 76. 
  3. ^ a b Ferris, Duke (December 3, 2008). ""The Crow: City of Angels" review". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on May 24, 2006. Retrieved September 6, 2004. 
  4. ^ a b "Crow: City of Angels: This Crow Has All the Funky Moves". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 91. Ziff Davis. February 1997. pp. 136–7. 
  5. ^ a b "The Crow: City of Angels". Game Rankings. February 28, 1997. Retrieved January 13, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Crow: City of Angels". IGN. March 11, 1997. Retrieved March 6, 2017. 
  7. ^ "See the Crow!". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 10. Emap International Limited. August 1996. p. 8. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Kitts, Jeff (April 8, 1997). "The Crow: City of Angels Review". GameSpot. Retrieved March 6, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Williamson, Colin (July 1997). "PC Gamer Online". Future plc. Archived from the original on December 6, 1999. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Nutter, Lee (July 1997). "Review: The Crow: City of Angels". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 21. Emap International Limited. pp. 70–71. 
  11. ^ a b "PlayStation ProReview: The Crow: City of Angels". GamePro. No. 103. IDG. April 1997. p. 81. 
  12. ^ "The 100 worst games of all time". May 1, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015. 

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