Review by MisterPanda

Reviewed: 07/02/03 | Updated: 07/02/03

Crush! Kill! Destroy! Wait, forget what I said about the killing.

Ever since Donkey Kong kidnapped his sweetheart, Pauline, Mario has been angry. Now, he’s back and bigger than ever. This time, he’s going to take it all out on the… wall?! Err… good start. Okay, that’s an exaggerated storyline to whatever reason Mario is knocking down the walls for. Those looking for Goomba stomping and Koopa throwing will be disappointed. Wrecking Crew has absolutely nothing to do with the Mario series aside from the fact that it stars the fat mustachioed hero. However, even if a trace of Mario was not in the game, it would still be fun nonetheless.

Gameplay: You control Mario or Luigi in a small vertical stage littered with many obstacles. The main goal of each stage is to knock down all the walls and some ladders in the background while avoiding the weird enemies, such as the Eggplant Man.

This sounds simple, but when you accidentally destroy your first ladder with a bomb and realize that you can’t climb anything to get to the remaining walls, you’ll begin to fret. Each stage has been cleverly designed to punish minor mistakes. If you set off a bomb and think that nothing will happen to you, think again. You’ll be sent to the bottom of the stage. If enemies are chasing you and you stop to hit a wall that you could hit at a later time, but decide to do it now, then you’re not in luck. Those enemies will surely get you. If you accidentally fall to a part of the stage enclosed with barrels, you’re trapped. When you perform an action, you must really think about the consequences or you’ll lose it all. Such strategy and puzzles put into what could have been a simple action title impresses me.

The enemies are something to laugh at, however. While they know well enough to chase you when they see you, they tend to take the longest way there. Granted their A.I. isn’t bright, but this is also countered by the fact that you can’t jump. Once you’re trapped between two enemies, you’re done for. The only way to stop your enemies is to open little doors that render them blue. (Think the ghosts in Pac-Man.) From there you must ensure that the enemies get trapped in the doors by timing the arrival of your enemy and how long it will be before the door closes.

There are 100 stages in this game and trust me, it gets increasing difficult. The stages are really small puzzle rooms in an old fashioned Mario Bros. style. While each stage is relatively tiny, tons of obstacles are in your way and the enemies are numerous. You should consider yourself lucky that when you reach the left side of the stage, you’ll end up on the opposite side. You’ll have to form an action plan to reach all the walls. Once in a while, you’ll reach a bonus stage where you must reach a coin before someone else does.

While this isn’t the first time Mario has swayed from the path of fighting Bowser or Donkey Kong, (Mario Kart, Golf, Tennis) this is certainly a unique situation. This puzzle game in the disguise of an action title will surely keep you entertained for hours, even if it’s just Mario hammering the hell out of walls.

Rating: 7/10

Graphics: It’s just your ordinary 8-bit sprite here. Though the enemies look very dull and not creative in terms of artwork. I honestly had no idea what the enemies were supposed to represent the first time I played this. Of course, it’s not like Mario looks like himself either. In fact, the main character does not really look like Mario much to me, but considering the fact that Mario is in big letters at the top is just really persuasive. Don’t expect much in terms of great graphics here.

Rating: 5/10

Music/Sound: Bah! I don’t even remember how the repetitive music sounds like and I’ve played it for such a long time. Oh well, it’s obviously music that doesn’t really stand out. Don’t get me wrong now, it’s not annoying, but it isn’t catchy either.

The sound you’ll here is mainly the walls becoming destroyed. So that means all of you who love the sound of destruction will enjoy the noises in this game. Though for the rest of you, the sound will stand out less than the dull music.

Rating: 4/10

Replayability: Ah yes, the ability to replay this title is high. Whether it be to aim for the high score, or to just relive the magic of getting to stage 100, you’ll probably be popping this title now and then. Of course, those “lucky” enough to never beat all 100 stages will find lots of replay value here.

Rating: 7/10

Rent or Buy? It’s not a must buy, but it’s not really necessary (or possible) to rent this either. Wrecking Crew is a game you could surely live without. But when you do get really bored of your other games and need something new, look no further.

Final Rating: 7/10

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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