Platform: Playstation 1
Sit down youths, as I envelope you with tales of when gaming was all about having fun. When games used to be unique and quirky, each with their own style and approach to their subject matter. Such a time took place during the reign of the legendary PS1 golden era of gaming. This may just be because I grew up with the PS1 in my younger years, around the time you're most impressionable as a child, but I truly believe these were the golden years of gaming; the PS1 in full swing, leading into the early PS2 years. So as I said, it may be rose-tinted glasses when I remember my younger days spent gaming on the PS1/Dreamcast/N64/PS2, but these were good times regardless, before being thrust into our Call of Arms Theft Auto 9: Special Edition with Day 1 DLC style of gaming.
I have a theory of why these times in gaming are generally considered to be the best. There are 3 main factors I think that support my theory:
Most Games didn't focus on graphics. Everyone pretty much reached the same level of graphics as their competitors, so there was no reason to go beyond what was realistically achievable, and everyone opted/relied on their own individual styles instead to spark interest in the gaming public away from other titles.
Most Games didn't focus on multiplayer. With every modern game becoming more or less focused on having an online component in some shape or form, games have lost their 'experience' and become more of a 'service'.
Most Games came from Japanese based | influenced developers. Some journalist and critics talk of how the Japanese game development industry has fallen since its glory days [which was around the time I was talking about above], but I'd say if such a thing happened, it's on the way up with games like Final Fantasy 15 and indie game development becoming more noticed and viable.
Whether or not you agree with me, it was crazy concepts like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon that pushed foward a new generation of gaming. It was crazy concepts like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros that pushed forward party games and what it meant to have 'fun'. Games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil redefined what it meant to become emotionally invested in a game to the point where you felt scared. Games like Metal Gear Solid showed how cinematic experiences in games could rival that of blockbuster films. Finally, games like Final Fantasy and Zelda showed us stories, worlds and characters that we could invest ourselves in and develop emotions towards, sometimes even bringing us close [or fully] to tears. It is undeniable, that this PS1 era of gaming had a strong impact on the generation that took part in it. I can't say with confidence that the past era of 360/PS3 gaming has had any real and meaningful impact on its generation other than "oh wow, don't the graphics look amazing, games will look like real life soon!", beyond a handful of games such as The Last of Us and GTA V. Incredible Crisis I feel, sums up all that is beautiful about gaming back in the PS1 days...
The game stars a Japanese family living in Tokyo. The game begins with the player going about the father's day, before turning to other family members and taking part in their shenanigans. The stories cross over at points, and cameo appearances are made in some of the events by other characters in the other family members' story arcs. Their adventures can be as simple and almost normal as dancing in the office in a dance stage type mini game, or as wild and wacky as an alien attack or being shrunk down in size and having to battle giant insects. There's also one mission where you fight a giant teddy bear using a fighter jet. It's these wacky scenarios that you'll be taking part in throughout your adventure with this Japanese family.
There isn't a sophisticated story here as such, it is all in light humour and is meant to be taken with the most positive and open of minds. When I say things get crazy, they really do go over the top; Anime style! There are a variety of different mini-games to play here, each family member has a different set of mini-games to play, with only around 1 or 2 of about 25 or so games being the same kind/style. Prepare to button mash, this will test your dexterity to its limit, sometimes to the point where you think it's impossible, just before making it to the end and surprising even yourself! There are no difficulties or different modes, you simply play the game. I cannot praise the developers enough for the variety of mini-games on offer. There's a type of mini-game for everyone, and each of them is as interesting and well thought out as the next. Whilst some obviously have their restrictions and cannot be innovative enough to be considered truly original, there are a few gems here where you feel that Incredible Crisis has portrayed a mini-game in a form that no one else has before. It's a mix of this originality and variety that gives Incredible Crisis a HUGE re-playability value, you will find yourself thinking back to some of your favourite moments and having to boot it up again just to get a quick fix of that mini-game that left an impression on you. The whole experience has a very 'game-show' type style to it, which most likely resonated in Japan quite well as this format of TV show is popular.
There is no multiplayer, which is not a bad thing necessarily, remember what I said about most games feeling obliged to contain some sort of multiplayer? Well here is a case where Multiplayer may have improved the game, actually. It would have turned the game however into a party game, which I don't feel is the right tone for it. The tone for Incredible Crisis is more along the lines of: "This is hard, but fun at the same time. I'll keep failing hilariously while my friends laugh at me, claiming they can do better. I'll pass the controller over forcing them to prove this, and we'll laugh even more when they fail." It's made more for those kind of moments. This is what it does best though, it creates an atmosphere of pure joy and frivolity, that all around it become absorbed into its charm and hilariousness.
The music is outstanding. The upbeat charm of the Ska influenced music suits the Manga/Anime styling of the visuals perfectly, it also adds to the humour of the occasion. It's perhaps notable that jazz/brass music is considered the best audio to put alongside humour based visuals, which was talked about in Portal 2's developer commentary. Not enough can be said of how effective this all is in creating a very light mood to the game, that can be enjoyed by those of all ages.
If you enjoy mini-games, then this is your game. If you're not into mini-games and think they're cheap/short/boring then this will change your mind! The game's charm will simply draw you in, compelling you to take part in its utter madness and enjoy what it has to offer. I would recommend playing this with friends to enjoy the social context this game thrives on in gaming culture, but it can be enjoyed alone as well. This is a game for every occasion, that is always relevant, of which I consider a forgotten and underrated gem of its time. This should convince you of why creativity in the PS1 era was on a much broader scale than it is now. That games back then were full of new and exciting ideas, while there are still games like that being made today, they no longer show themselves in the mass market, and they are games often left to the indie developers to make. Ones you have to dig deeper to find for yourself.
Hardcore Gamers shouldn't underestimate the challenge here, there are some genuinely hard bits. You'll find a unique kind of challenge in this game. For Casual Gamers, I say that this is your perfect kind of game. One that gives you a varied experience in small digestible doses. The mini-games aren't too difficult, but you may find one or two a bit challenging. Nothing a little practice and patience won't solve for you though.