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Crusader (series)

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Crusader is a series of action-oriented computer games developed by Origin Systems and published by Electronic Arts. It consists of two titles: Crusader: No Remorse, released in 1995, and Crusader: No Regret, released in 1996. Set in a dystopian 22nd-century, the games center on an elite super soldier that defects from the current world government, the World Economic Consortium (WEC), and joins the organization that opposes the WEC, aptly named the Resistance, to fight the tyrannical government that once employed him.

Overview

Both games use an advanced version of the Ultima VIII 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 cut-scenes 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 and No Regret shipped with significant in-universe back-story material, including a fold-out propaganda poster, newspaper and a guide from the fictional Resistance.

The Crusader games are divided into missions, each with their own locations and objectives. Settings vary from military bases to factories to offices to space stations, and contain a variety of enemy soldiers and servomechs, traps, puzzles and innocent bystanders (who can be killed with no penalty). There is an additional incentive to kill unarmed bystanders present in No Remorse, as the player character being able to loot the bodies for credits which are used to purchase better weapons. As well as, all locations have alarm systems, which can be triggered by the aforementioned bystanders, security cameras, weapons fire, and other conditions, such as destroying a security door; setting off an alarm will bring down significant military presence, and the player is encouraged to avoid triggering them, or deactivate them as soon as possible if set off.

Most of the environment can be destroyed by weapons fire, providing a previously unprecedented level of setting interaction, 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 (No Remorse's form of money, which does not appear in No Regret), healing facilities, and other equipment is scattered through the levels, allowing the player to upgrade their arsenal.

No Regret added several new weapons and death animations, including freezing (and subsequent shattering) and two different kinds of melting. In No Remorse, the Silencer could carry no more than five firearms at once; in No Regret, this restriction was lifted entirely.

A third game in the series (with a working title of No Mercy) was never released, possibly because Tony Zurovec of the Crusader team left Origin and joined Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts at his new company Digital Anvil, as well as Origin refocusing its efforts on Ultima Online. Preliminary storyline ideas included boarding a shuttle and making a daring assault to get back to Earth. On the message boards of the Echo Sector fan site, one of the site's operators claimed to have been in contact with some of the games' development team, and that as many as five games in total were planned.

Scenario

Due to economic downfalls at the end of the 20th century, 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 of the press is barely even remembered, and then with contempt. 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, lifelong refuseniks, and criminals.

As No Remorse opens, a trio of 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 the morality of WEC, the Silencer joins the Resistance as a Captain, where, as a significant symbol of the WEC's military power and political philosophy, he meets with resentment, distrust and outright hatred.

Plot

No Remorse

As the game progresses, the Captain uncomplainingly undertakes dangerous missions, often with substandard equipment, and his continued success gradually earns the respect of his fellow Resistance members.

The Captain 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 Captain 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 Captain is contacted by Chairman Draygan, who swears vengeance against the Silencer.

No Regret

No Regret begins 46 hours after the events in No Remorse. A WEC freighter headed for the Moon picks up the Silencer's escape pod, and the Captain, upon moonfall, makes contact with the local Resistance. The WEC uses the moon as both a mine and prison, where most of the political dissidents and Resistance members are forced to extract a precious radioactive compound, Di-Corellium. This mineral is the basis of virtually all energy production on Earth. Approximately half of all known reserves are on the moon, and a shortage of Di-Corellium would cause serious problems for the WEC. For this reason, Chairman Draygan is on the moon to oversee the Di-Corellium production, which has been lagging recently—possibly due to incursions from the Resistance cell on moon, at the hidden Dark Side base. He is, to say the least, not happy when he learns that the Silencer appears to have survived and may well be on the moon.

Over the course of No Regret's ten missions, the Silencer works to undermine the WEC presence on the moon, culminating in a showdown with Chairman Draygan himself. The WEC's lunar headquarters are destroyed and the Resistance takes control of mining operations, with the hint of further conflicts with the WEC. The game's story is notably more simplified and straightforward than that of No Remorse.

Relationship to other Origin games

Crusader has several references to Origin's Wing Commander series and even referenced by other games. It is never elaborated if Crusader is intended to be set in the same universe or the references are simply crossover easter eggs.

The introduction of the game shows a dating system as used in Wing Commander (a year number, followed by a decimal signifying a day). Also, according to the W.C backstory, the Terran Confederation is a government that replaced WEC in the aftermath of a Terran civil war.[1] Additionally, the Wing Commander Arena manual "Star*Soldier" has an advertisement for a movie called No Regret, which is portrayed in the manual as based on true events.

Furthermore, there is a reference to the System Shock franchise: An article in the 'Newspaper' added to the No Remorse box mentions SHODAN, Citadel station and artificial intelligence.

References To Modern Culture

  • The code 1701-D that appears sometimes on computer monitors in-game is a reference to the USS Enterprise from the Star Trek universe.[citation needed]
  • "Echo base" is likely a reference to Star Wars.[citation needed] Other possible references to Star Wars in No Regret are the Di-Cor freighter, which somewhat resembles an Imperial Star Destroyer; the troop transport in mission 8, which resembles the Millennium Falcon; the oft-repeated term (from Stormtroopers in missions and Chairman Draygan in a cutscene of No Regret) "rebel scum", though a fairly generic insult, having been featured prominently in a scene of Return of the Jedi; and the material Di-Corellium, most likely a reference to Han Solo's homeworld Corellia.[citation needed]
  • In No Regret, the number "451" is used as a keypad code with a nearby terminal giving the clue, "the temperature at which paper burns". This refers to Fahrenheit 451[citation needed], which is (according to the book), "the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns". The allusion being used in a knowledge-repressive society is probably an intended irony.
  • If No Regret is played while the computer's date is set to December 25, an "evil demonic elves" mix of the Christmas carols "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "Jingle Bells", and "Frosty the Snowman" are substituted for the normal tracks. Additionally, some graphics are replaced with Christmas-themed versions, such as a version of the Silencer wearing a Santa hat, and the LMC guards shouting "Merry Christmas, silencer!" before attacking.
  • The nerve gas container found in No Remorse's seventh mission is called "EEOD", short for "Easter Egg of Death".

See also

References

  • In-game literature for Crusader: No Remorse
  • In-game literature and datafile (RESIST.TXT) for Crusader: No Regret
  • Tyler, M.; Frase, T.; and McCubbin, C. (1995) Origin's official guide to Crusader: No Remorse, Origin Systems, Inc. ISBN 0-929373-26-X
  • McCubbin, C. and Frase, T. (1996) Origin's official guide to Crusader: No Regret, Prima Publishings ISBN 0-76150925-9

External links

fr:Crusader (série) ms:Crusader (siri permainan)fi:Crusader (pelisarja)

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