Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge


posted 11/3/2003 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
One Page Platforms: Xbox
There are many ways to gauge the hype behind a game. You can count the press releases issued, check other gaming sites, or see what the magazines are saying. Personally, I can gauge the hot titles by the number of e-mail requests I get for a game from the other GN staffers. I think I had four e-mails from Charlie alone for this game so I knew the buzz was strong. With the recent spate of highly anticipated but disappointing games, I can report that Crimson Skies lives up to most of the hype.

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge takes place in an alternate America during the 1930’s. In this alternate America, the US is thrust into strife right after the stock market crash of 1929. America has been broken into several sovereign nation states and the roads and bridges that joined the original states have been destroyed. This has forced almost all of the commerce and travel to the air. You play Nathan Zachary, the leader of the Fortune Hunters. The Fortune Hunters are a group of air pirates who roam the country seeking their fortune (and a little bit of fame). With the crash and depression, this isn’t exactly an honest living but it’s a living just the same.

The single player side of Crimson Skies has you investigating the death of one of Nathan’s close friends. This investigation leads you across the country to track down the killer and the reason why he was killed. The plot is fairly solid and has a kind of “Indiana Jones in the sky” feel to it. It is a little predictable at points but it’s not dull. The single player portion is broken up across four chapters with each chapter-taking place in one area of the country. Each environment has it’s own unique personality that ties to the plot of the story. The environments provide some seriously cool dog fighting environments (there is an amazing sequence that takes place inside a cavern).

Most missions involve you destroying or protecting something (sometimes both at the same time). Variety in missions comes from things that are around the environment, including AA Guns, repair bays, and other planes that the enemy has lying around. These allow you to switch tactics if you want to try a different approach to a mission such as trying a different kind of aircraft or using the AA guns to eliminate larger enemies and then hop back into the plane to mop up the other planes. The bosses at the end of the level are excellent and well designed and I had a few “WOW” moments when fighting the bosses.
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