Crusty Demons Preview Xbox, PS2

When you think of the name ‘Crusty Demons’ the first thing to enter your head probably wouldn’t be a group of daredevil motorcyclists. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are a team of extreme bikers who tour the world doing Freestyle Motocross. They film a lot of their tricks and stunts then release it on DVD. Crusty Demons is not your regular racing game – on the contrary it plays in similar vein to the likes of the Tony Hawk’s Underground series.

The story behind the game is the group known as the Crusty Demons are about to pull a stunt when it all goes horribly wrong and they end up in hell. The guys meet the devil and finish off selling their souls in exchange for immortality meaning they can’t die. The catch: they can feel pain – and a lot of it at that. The idea behind the game is to make pain a factor of gaining points. To avoid spending the rest of their lives with the devil and his flame grilled minions, the Crusty Demons must win the “damnation game” to recover their souls.

Just like most other extreme sports titles you will be doing tricks to gain points. The trick system is your basic push-a-direction and press triangle or square to pull a grab or flip move. The twist here is that if you think you are going to bail, a simple press of the L2 will send you diving off your bike. This helps to continue building up your points, so rather you losing your score you can mutilate and break several bones in your body to increase your points. The more bones you snap and blood you lose will determine how many bonus points you will receive.

Creating injuries is the games main feature. It’s probably the only game that I know of that actually rewards you for some of these hellish “accidents” you are able to see unfold in front of you. No object is safe from your body, you’ll be smacking to in buildings, falling down stairs, cracking heads on pavements… I think you get the picture. It seems the game incorporates some rag-doll effects, mainly on the riders so the crashes come out unique and somewhat painful looking. At the end of your self harm destruction a list of information appears that tells you what bones you’ve fractured or broken. The game is also clear on telling you how much blood you’ve lost or how much of a blood trail or “skid” as the game calls it you have left behind. There’s also a replay mode included so you can re-watch your horrific crash over and over again, sure to please any sadistic gamer out there.

Before you start anything in Crusty Demons, you must first choose your rider and bike. The game includes real members of the group along with some made up ones for comical effect. As you would expect these dudes and machines come with specific ability points. Riders have four stats that represent air control, flight, smash-ability and trick skill. The bikes on the other hand have more of these effect things like wheelies, stoppies, spin, nitro and speed. Nitro is a very useful stat because if used right you can grab some mega high air and pull off a large combo.

Crusty Demons offers a few modes of play. The bulk of the game revolves around the story mode and devil rush mode. Story mode is the adventures of the Crusty Demons as they travel the world to get back their souls. It’s free roaming mission based gameplay. Speaking to the characters in the levels will get grant you challenges that the devil wants you to complete. Finishing the required amount of tasks will open up the next stage. Story mode isn’t just limited to the use of bikes, throughout the game you will get to control things like a mini pimp car, ice-cream truck and buggies.

The other mode, ‘devil rush’, is set in the same stages as the story mode, but on this occasion you have a time limit to fulfil certain tasks. Also you won’t be using anything but your bike for this mode. Devil rush includes things like beating scores, doing tricks for certain time periods and breaking targets. It’s basically the same as Tony Hawk’s classic mode; you even have the checklist and two minutes to accomplish the tasks.

As standard the game comes with multiplayer aspects. There are five modes available to choose from. ‘Stunt’ mode is about scoring the highest points at the end of the round. ‘Theft’ is about keeping an object for as long as possible. The other end of the scale for that is ‘Tag’ mode where you’ve got to be the person who hasn’t been “on” or “it” the longest. ‘Crash n Grab’ is a fun mode, in this event you have to destroy as many targets as possible, mostly requiring you to fly off your bike in a suicidal manner. The last mode is ‘race’, which shouldn’t need explaining to you.

It seems that Crusty Demons is relying on its display of pain to set it apart from the rest of the pack. The thing is: a one hit pony can only survive by itself for so long. So just how long can shattering bones be fun? I guess we will just have to find out when Crusty Demons hits the U.K at the end of October.