By Spencer . September 25, 2008 . 11:45am
At its core Disaster: Day of Crisis is a light gun game. The hodgepodge mix of driving events, a terrorist shooting gallery, waggle rescues, and light platforming are glued together by off-rails walking. When you encounter STORM units Disaster: Day Of Crisis switches into a light gun mode where you point, shoot, and kill with the remote. After the conflict ends the game switches back into running mode where you can search for survivors.
You don’t get to shoot anything at the beginning of the game, though. The story begins with Raymond Bryce and his buddy Steve as part of a rescue unit. A volcano erupts during one of their rescue missions and instead of saving others Ray needs to save himself. In the tutorial stage you learn the basic controls. Walk with the analog stick. Press A to make Ray jump awkwardly as if he was trying to grab a rebounding basketball. Hold B to make Ray run through flames. When your shirt catches on fire you need to shake the remote and nunchuck to extinguish the fire. Ray is a tough guy, his constant barrage of one-liners makes this a fact, but even the strongest have a weakness. Ray’s is thick black smoke. If you stand around a fire too long Ray’s lungs fill with smoke as indicated by the meter in the top left hand corner. Tapping the Z button in a clear area makes Ray take a deep gasp of fresh air. Unfortunately, none of these moves aren’t good enough to save Steve who plummets into a river of lava. Steve isn’t upset about dying though. In typical action movie style he hands Ray a precious possession to pass down to a loved one, his sister in this case, moments before his fatal fall. Ray, on the other hand, is traumatized by Steve’s death and takes a job pushing papers instead of working on the field.
Fast forward one year and Ray still hasn’t met Steve’s sister. He should have done it before STORM kidnapped her. Ray is called in to assist the brain dead special forces unit rescuing her and he ends up doing all of the work. Once Ray barges into the building you’re introduced to the shooting portion, Disaster’s bread and butter. Shooting is pretty much similar to Time Crisis, minus the one shot kills. Each bullet subtracts hit points. More damage is inflicted if you aim for unarmored areas like the head. Ray can take cover if you hold the Z button. You’re going to need to hide while reloading, which strangely isn’t done by shooting off the screen. You need to shake the nunchuck to reload and Ray takes his sweet time adding bullets to his gun. The C button is used to activate concentration mode. This allows you to briefly zoom in on a target. However, if the concentration gauge runs out Ray’s vision becomes blurry until you let go of the C button. At the end of the first stage using the concentration gauge is key. To win the “boss” fight you need to hit a specific STORM member identified by a purple target. The boss can be hit alone, but it’s much easier to wait for him to come out, zoom in with concentration, and shoot a bullet clear into his head.
After the first stage you get a shotgun and an assault rifle. The shotgun has a wide bullet burst which allows you to shoot two STORM units at once or inflict multiple wounds on a single target. The assault rifle fires rounds faster and holds more ammo than the basic handgun. Even after I got these two extra weapons I still stuck to the handgun. Both of these weapons have a limited supply of ammunition while the handgun never runs out of ammo. Extra bullets can occasionally be found by punching crates, barrels, rocks, well… nearly everything during the exploration phase. Objects with a white circle indicate they’re breakable by a waggle powered punches. Smashing crates can also reveal oversized hamburgers nearly the size of Ray’s chest. He comically eats them to recover some stamina which is drained by moves like dashing.
The walking phase isn’t just for gobbling giant snacks, there are people that need to be saved! You can call out to see if anyone needs help by pressing the Z button. If you find someone dangling from a building, run up to them and press A to start a rescue mini-game. To save a person from falling you need to grab the other person’s hand by swinging the remote to move Ray’s arm in a simple timing game. Other times you need to slowly carry an injured person to a safe spot before the caution meter runs out. The rescue event pictured above has players mash the A button to build up Ray’s power and when it’s full you swing the remote upwards to lift the rock. You don’t have to rescue people, but want to since each successful rescue nets points that can boost Ray’s stats. You can also find points by picking up blue triangles from destroyed objects. In Disaster: Day of Crisis smashing the background has many benefits.
Most of the time you’re doing the saving. But, Ray ofinds himself in situations where he needs to run for his life. Whether it’s a wave of hot magma or escaping from a collapsing building it’s time for some rapid shaking. All you need to do to win is shake the remote/nunchuck as fast as you can. Fail and it’s Game Over. Fortunately, Disaster: Day of Crisis is lenient about dying. If you run out of health or get sucked into a giant tidal wave you restart from a checkpoint, not your last save. Checkpoints are generously given out and every dashing event lets you restart right before the disaster starts.
I saved the driving parts of the game for last since they are Disaster: Day of Crisis’ weakest point. Driving is done by holding the Wii remote sideways and using motion control to steer the car. You probably want to remove the nunchuck when driving since a hanging nunchuck gives the remote an uneven weight distribution. In the first driving sequence you try to outrun a van shooting at you on a highway. The ruined highway has sharp turns indicated by yellow arrows flashing on the screen, but Disaster doesn’t respond well to quick flicks of the remote. You need to ease into corners. It doesn’t help that Ray drives a SUV which easily tips over and magically flips back on its wheels once its upside down. The driving event felt forced and rather unnecessary. Plenty of Wii games have motion controlled driving.
Actually, plenty of games incorporate third person pllatforming better too. Instead of trying to do one thing great Disaster: Day of Crisis is a melting pot of elements from a number of existing genres thrown together in a light gun game. Disaster: Day of Crisis is like the console light gun game of the future.
I have the Japanese version and all of the voice acting is completely in English with Japanese subtitles and lots of swearing. Foul language seems to be the reason Disaster: Day of Crisis got rated with CERO C (T equivalent), but a rare rating in Japan for Nintendo. Should over use of the “s word” turn you off? No, Disaster: Day of Crisis isn’t about experiencing a tear jerking story. Disaster: Day of Crisis is more like a vapid, but fun to watch summer action movie.
Images courtesy of Nintendo.