Disaster Day of Crisis

DDOC in internet speak
Is another brilliant and flawed but only brilliant because it is flawed wii game with more a more fresh feel than anything on release on the HD consoles. Playing it reminded me a lot of the awesome Shadow of Memories for the PS2 despite the fact they have nothing in common at all except they feature a guy. Just saying that's all.
You play as Ray somebody who is an all American hero and former International Rescue Team member following a totally predictable tragedy. Ray depressed about the tragedy is now a pen pusher at the Crisis Managment Division until he gets called back in to service. The game follows a series of (not so outlandish it seems) events that start with an earthquake, then a tsunami, followed by a nuclear threat and then gets even more ridiculous with everything from firestorms, volcanic eruptions, floods, terrorist battles and even a lahar.

The game is so cheesy its hard not to smile or believe that the developers are unknowing in the cheesiness of virtually every aspect of the plot. Ray himself seems more than acutely aware of how unlikely it is that he keeps surviving everything that nature has to throw at him. One particular flashback about how you "can't save everyone Ray" is flashed back about twelve times throughout the game. You follow the plot with cutaways to The Fucking White House. Everyone's character profiles tell of how the president, FBI agents, a 13 year old girl and others are all excellent at their jobs. Ray has an unrealistic melancholy about his potential to save people despite repeatedly saving people under increasing outlandish circumstances and through offing about 400 elite soldiers that make up the 'elite' former government military unit turned terrorist organisation SURGE. Fortunately, and I kid you not a 13 year old girl restores his confidence. No doubt he'll have flashbacks about her before the end.

What came first day after tomorrow or disaster day of crisis?
So the story is a bit like 24 but even more ridiculous, which is fine. Being obviously stupid and running with it is a better way to shoe horn in all those outlandish moments into your game than actually trying an attempt at grown-ups maturity and failing badly (EPIC games). But even better is the rest of the game. It switches genres three or four times within a level in a way that gives the game a consistency. It doesn't feel like "oh here's an on rails bit" or "here's a driving bit" or "here's a weapon or mechanism I'm probably only going to use for this one level and then never hear about again". So you'll be driving from inside a car using the wiimote as a steering wheel or driving into the screen or giving CPR or using a fire truck to put out fires or dodging obstacles whilst being swept away by a current or shooting bears in the face with a rocket launcher.

The game has a whole load of other flaws. Ray can't jump for shit yet there are some sections that require precise jumps. He comically punches barrels, crates, boxes and sometimes lumps of rock to get items out of them, sometimes they set you on fire. Some of the people you rescue have nonsense demands, one guy is holed up in a burning subway carriage because he can't get through the smoke unless you give him a plaster. Another woman lies broken in the remains of her apartment but is back on her feet again after you give her a cracker. You have to find and bandage other rescuees, by spraying them with water, finding their wounds and bandaging them, Ray seems to carry around with him a pocket fire hose (oo er missus) to spray people with and the wounds are never more serious than a cut on the arm.

it was day after tomorrow by four years
Behind the scenes is even more batshit. As you progress you unlock disaster files which range from profiles of the main characters, PSA about what to do in a crisis through to geography lessons in geohazards complete with facts and figures about the temperature or pyroclastic flows to the different between ash and volcanic ash. There's a weapon upgrade system which starts with handguns and shotguns and ends with bouncing rocket launchers and gatling guns. In a wonderful little flourish you get a line of information about the people you've rescued (Sylvia, Dental Nurse) and there's also achievements and shooting gallery challenges. Levels can be replayed with the extra motivation of finding hidden promotional materials for a drink called stamina.

All in all the game is very schizophrenic and you'll often see the game over screen through no fault of your own. In one section you have to drive away from a pyroclastic flow from an erupting volcano and it's fairly hit and miss as to whether you'll dodge the volcanic debris falling from the sky or not. But you just don't care because it's fun. Part rescuing, part light gun shooter, part driving game, part treasure hunt, part, mini game collection and part adventure game it moves at a hell of a pace and is over ever so slightly before the game gets tired. Just after the midway point the game loses momentum in particular, sections where you need to stop to take deep breaths drags on and later levels needlessly ask you to negotiate a hazard, trigger a cutscene then go back through the hazard. But overall it is definitely worth a play partly because its nice to play a game that doesn't stick to one thing and you'll forgive the flaws because half of the time you'll be laughing at how ridiculous it all it. A hidden gem that's a must play for Wii owners.


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