+Nice improvement over classic arcade shooter mechanics
+Lots of unlockable items
-The beginning can be a bit difficult
-Some enemies require lots of patience
Final score: 8.5 / 10
Controller support: Yes
OS: Windows XP SP3 / Vista / 7
Processor: 2 Ghz Dual-Core CPU
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Hard Disk Space: 100MB Free HD Space
Video Card: Graphics Card with Shader Model 3 support, 256 MB video memory
Sound: DirectSound-compatible sound device
Super Crossfire is a title made by Radian Games that was recently a part of the Indie Royale New Year Bundle, alongside other impressive independent games.
Promising to innovate on the traditional arcade shooter genre by allowing your ship to teleport from the bottom of the screen to the top, and vice-versa, the title does sound pretty appealing and, given its impressive visuals, not to mention the tried-and-true gameplay, it definitely sounds like an impressive experience.
We finally got a chance to try it out, so let’s see if it’s actually an evolution of the classic arcade shooter genre or if we need to search for another Space Invaders clone.
Upgrade your ship ...
... and destroy your opponents
Super Crossfire impresses right away with its sharp visual style. Instead of gritty or realistic graphics you’re treated with neon effects and stark colors on a black field that makes the gameplay experience that much more impressive.
While it certainly looks like a regular arcade game, you do need to go through a few essential steps before jumping into Super Crossfire’s action. The first menu screen allows you to choose one of five full chapters or an epilogue, each consisting of many individual waves. Then you get to decide on one of three difficulties, as well as on what wave you want to start.
As you progress through its waves and chapters, Super Crossfire gives you experience points that can be spent on upgrading the abilities of your ship. From better armor to more powerful weapons or a bigger spread of your projects, you can decide just how you want to improve your experience. While at first you’re pretty outmatched, once you start improving your skills, you increase your odds and allow your tiny ship to withstand hordes of different enemies, each with their unique powers.
At the start of every wave, players need to quickly analyze their rivals and decide how to take them down. While at the beginning you can simply shoot everything, once the game progresses you start meeting ships that emit a shield for their nearest buddies, so you quickly need to take them out before getting to destroy the rest of them.
The enemy variety is very good, as you’ll never feel like you’re meeting the same types of ships over and over again. Their various weaknesses also require quick changes in strategy, so Super Crossfire is bound to keep you on your toes.
We also need to talk about the game’s claim to fame, as Radian Games enabled a special warp mechanic that allows your ship to move from the traditional bottom position, seen in Space Invaders and the loads of clones it spawned, to the top of the screen. As such, you can start spraying projectiles onto your enemies from below and then quick rain down on them from above with just the push of a button.
Every once in a while a special enemy zip through the screen and, if you take it down, it drops special power-ups, which include shields, extra lives, pauses that slow down your enemies, or recharges for your ship’s special weapon, which is a set of dual lasers that cut down through any and all opponents.
The controls are great with a mouse and keyboard, feeling very responsive. With a controller, however, things aren’t that great, so you might want to stick to the regular control inputs.
Besides the great visuals we highlighted at the beginning of the review, the game also has a great soundtrack, with impressive chiptunes that really complement the futuristic action on your screen.
Wait for the right moment ...
... and quickly strike your enemies
Super Crossfire, thanks to its great gameplay and sharp mechanics, can become very addictive. Considering you have online leaderboards, in-game achievements, and plenty of unlockable things, ranging from extra levels to special powers, the game will entertain plenty of people looking for a simple yet fun arcade experience.
The game is currently available on the PC, via Desura as a DRM-free download, as well as on the Mac, not to mention the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.