The first time I heard the term “Crazy Ivan” was in the movie The Hunt for Red October and it referred to a sudden and dangerous maneuver made by a Russian submarine. Therefore, when I first saw the announcement of the new game called Krazy Ivan, I didn’t quite understand why the picture of a giant robot. Everything became clear very soon – the title is not related to the actual term and the game itself is a futuristic first-person shooter that may be fun on short runs.
It is year 2018 and aliens are invading Mother Earth (as they have been trying to do relentlessly since the very first Space Invaders... will they ever give up?). This invasion, however, doesn’t consist of hordes of aliens and their ships - it is actually much more elegant. These aliens have placed five generators on our planet, which start producing devastating energy fields that will cover the entire planet surface. Needless to say, regular Earth defenses are mostly useless and the situation is grim, except for the little secret experiment of the Russian army. Let me rephrase that – except for a 40 foot tall robot called “Steel Cossack”. Since fields can’t be destroyed, someone needs to go inside the fields and destroy the generators. That one is you, or more precisely, Russian commander Ivan Popovich, nicknamed “Krazy Ivan” because of his eccentric and violent nature that also makes him the perfect man for the job.
This plot creates a perfect setting for battling giant robot gladiators. In every field there are a few giant robots called Sentients that you must defeat before you can destroy the generator. You can’t fight two Sentients at the same time, so the game focuses on one-on-one shootouts. There are various kinds of smaller robots called Drones that are infinitely spawning and are easy to destroy. They will constantly attack you until you reach one of the Sentients, but never in large groups. Destroy the Drones to get power-ups (ammo, energy and a few more specialties) and rescue prisoners for bonus points. Drones will appear even when you are facing a Sentient or a Generator, so you may still get power-ups, but it is much easier to get the ammo and energy before the duel starts. You should collect energy cores even if your shields are at max, since cores also act as money for upgrades. You have limited time to reach the Sentient, so you can’t simply wait for power-ups. If the initial time of three minutes runs out, a big robot called Blackknight will appear and you must defeat him to get two more minutes. You will have unlimited time for collecting power-ups once all Sentients are destroyed so you can prepare for the generator. Once the generator is destroyed, you can upgrade Cossack and save your progress.
There are three kinds of weapons: guns, missiles, and a special weapon. Cossack has five slots for guns where you can install cannons and lasers, but only one slot for missiles and the special weapon. During the battle you can switch the gun type you are using if the current weapon is out of ammo or is overheated. Your primary 30mm chain guns have unlimited ammo. Info about ammo and heating are on the main screen. Your aim will go red if you are aiming at the enemy, and if you use guided missiles, another red circle appears showing which enemy has been locked. In the upper part of the screen you can see the info of prisoners left and energy cores (money) collected. Radar and shield status are displayed at the bottom of the screen. Shields are divided into eight parts, so if Cossack’s left side has been shot, only the left part of the shield is reduced. If any part of the shield becomes too low, you can still take shots at the other sides of Cossack, but a hit at the critical part of the shield may be fatal. The entire area is covered with fog so you can’t keep a safe distance and simply shoot at the Sentients; you have to get closer to take aim. The generator in Russia shouldn’t be hard to destroy, but it does get a lot harder right after that.
Technically, Ivan seems to be a little late. The resolution is very low for the time and although the robots are 3D, there are some very simple visual solutions and effects. The Sentients vary in design and are nicely detailed, but battling them won’t be so varied. Movements of Cossack may be a little rough and slow, considering that many of your opponents can fly. You can’t even use the mouse to control Cossack. These simplified game mechanics seem to be outdated for its time, and the gameplay lacks depth and is entirely focused on the action. Despite all this, the game can be fun for awhile. If simple action is what you are looking for and you happen to like giant robots, the game may be entertaining for you. Unvaried gameplay may turn away a lot of players, but they may eventually come back for more after some time. Action fans should definitely try Krazy Ivan. It is a fair game at best and may provide a few hours of fun.
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