Games That Nobody Plays Anymore: Crackdown


Crackdown was a fun little title developed by Realtime Worlds and one of the co-creators of GTA. It was a fun little romp which was released a billion years ago (2 years ago) and really didn’t leave a mark upon free-roaming games. It was a sort of fun little running around thingy coupled with awesome multiplayer and co-op. It was a nice little package and just to ruin it, they included the Halo 3 multiplayer beta. It was a weird thing, and many players didn’t feel that it was right to have to buy a full retail game to play the beta. I was getting Crackdown anyway so I didn’t care.

Crackdown tells the tale of a city in panic, with three rival gangs fighting for control of the various islands of Pacific City. When all police forces fail, a shadowy group called ‘the Agency’ launches in a special genetically modified soldier-cop to clean the streets. That’s the plot. There’s never any punchy narrative or any motive within Crackdown except shooting people in the face. When you take down any big high ranking crime lord, you’re told how evil they are through video briefings. These short interludes generally make you not care, and it can be difficult to actually figure out why you’re shooting someone in the face.


A further flaw of Crackdown is the fact that there generally isn’t as much punch as you’d expect. The weapons seem flimsy when compared to the melee, the vehicles handle like a cheetah who had a sip of alcohol and the whole story is as paper thin. It all boils down into presentation, never packing a punch with sounds or story, but you can still have a ton of fun with this thing. After about an hour or so into the game, you’ll find yourself simply enjoying Crackdown and messing around. Only occasionally will you glance around to advance into a mission.

Crackdown plays like this: you run around the city beating up the rival gangs. Each gang has a main leader and when they’re taking out, it’s generally game over for that gang faction. But it’s nearly impossible to kill these top leaders without loosening the criminal ties, and what you have to do is take out the lower guys. If I take out the guy who manages vehicles, they’ll be less cars patrolling the leader’s HQ, if I take out the weapons dude, all the guards will use less weapons.


There’s somewhat a deep sense of freedom within Crackdown, and nothing shows this sense than the leveling up. For the first hour of the game, you’re relatively powerless. You can’t jump more than ten feet, your aiming is terrible and you can’t drive things very fast. It leaves you with a sense of being weak, until you figure out that these abilities can be improved. The more dudes you kill, the better you’ll be able to shoot, the more stuff you blow up, the bigger your explosive radius and even driving into lamp posts has it’s rewards. Around three hours into the game, you’ll be genuinely enjoying just jumping around the place.

Trouble is with Crackdown, it is kinda easy. The story can be mainly done in 7 hours, depending on your skills, and after the ending, you can only jump around like a madman without a purpose. Most of the time throughout the story, you’ll be kicking people in the face, and they go down easy as hell. The only times you’ll really die is if you forget to bail out of your exploding car, or a random explosion. The bouncy little health regeneration sort of makes it a little annoying, but still doesn’t affect the easy difficulty.


Co-op in Crackdown sounds like a pretty good idea, just you and a friend jumping around blowing stuff up. But put in to practice, it can be a real mess. Right now, the servers are dead as dust and it’s quite hard to find someone to play. When you launch into a game, the original player is warped back to mission control and it can be real annoying when you’re a passenger in a car. You can’t shoot, you can’t whistle and all you can do is watch the guy just drive around. Team communication doesn’t exactly have to be vital, unless you’re joining forces to take down one of the story dudes.

Crackdown is fun. The pacing is excellently placed, the levelling up can be rewarding and more than often, you’ll find yourself just having fun. But it’s let down by a lot of factors – the plot isn’t what it could be, the first hour of the game is sluggish and slow, the co-op is just a mess and it’s hard to not feel a sense of invincibility. You shouldn’t consider buying Crackdown if you want a brilliant plot or brilliant multiplayer, you should just buy it if you want a fun little relaxing romp. Either that or you’re sick of not having cel-shaded GTA in your diet. Just be sure to chew before you swallow… put your cash down.

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  • Actually, I just bought a copy of this off of Ebay the day before yesterday. Someone’s playing it–or at least they will be. Lol.

  • Great retrospective review. I don’t think anyone who bought this just for the Halo beta expected such a good game.

  • I played it yesterday.

    And you say it didn’t leave a mark on the open world genre? How do you explain Prototype and InFamous?

  • Adam

    Although i haven’t played crackdown recently, i believe that it is the best co-op game this gen. I have yet to waste so much time doing so little and having such a blast doing so in any other co-op game.
    From sea burials in dumpsters when my comrade died in battle,
    to sabotaging explosive pyramids when he was still to close,
    or throwing the all mighty over powered brick at each other.

    Hopefully Crackdown 2 can surpass the original in every way. BRING IT ON!

  • Tuffy McFukleby

    I played Crackdown til my thumbs were sore. The statement that it “really didn’t leave a mark upon free-roaming games” is way off base, as we’re now starting to see games that were directly influenced by it: to some extent Prototype, to a straight ripoff of the jumping/climbing and three island/three gang structure in InFAMOUS. (Which I enjoyed, but it should have had an “Inspired by..” credit at the end.) Since Crackdown is a 2-year old game and it takes years to develop a game at this point, I think we’ll see more and more games borrowing from it.

    I just hope they don’t blow it on the sequel with stupid monsters.

  • name

    cant wait for #2.
    but why did they have to make me wait till next year.
    waiting will be such torcher

  • Well I had never owned this game, picked it up for under 10.00 for my son. He had just played the new Wolverine & Bionic Commando. He enjoyed this supposed old flawed game enjoyed it every bit as much as the other formentioned games. The game can be had cheap and if you enjoy tons of action and free roaming gameplay and like taking down the trash instead of being the trash ALA GTA series then you will really enjoy this game.

  • Nathan Hardisty

    To all those dudes who are pointing out “really didn’t leave a mark upon free-roaming game”, is entirely untrue. Comparing Crackdown to Prototype and Infamous.

    Let me say, thanks for letting me come to my senses, but not all my senses. It was a fun little romp but it only influenced a few of the modern day romps we have today.

    For instance, Prototype, is by the same devs who did Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. It’s almost identical to Hulk, except you have an emo kid and a thousand different powers.

    Infamous, Sucker Punch just wanted to create a free roam experience. I’ll admit it’s obvious they stole some of the clambering, but I think that’s down to Assassin’s Creed.

    Thanks for replying by the way guys, all criticism appreciated!

  • name

    saying crackdown is better than xmen origins wolverine or bionic commando isent much of a compliment.
    no its actualy a insult, those games were wriddled with bugs and bionic commando has to be the shortes game ive ever played.

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