Crisis in the Gulf

The Government and Oil Corporations have failed to stop the oil leak. Clearly they havenít tried TOWER DEFENSE!! Do you have what it takes to cap the leak?

Cashing in on news stories with games is nothing new.† Hero on the Hudson garnered millions of plays by tying itself into a current news story in which captain Chesley Sullenberger III safely landed a plane in the Hudson River after losing both engines.† These sorts of news related games have to come out quickly to ride the wave of interest and tend to be garbage as a result.† Hero on the Hudson is an absolutely terrible title, a quick Flash mock-up designed so loosely to mimic the story it invokes without any real thought and effort put into designing a genuinely enjoyable game.

Surprisingly, the 360 has received its first such current news event game in Crisis in the Gulf.† Itís surprising because of the time required to throw the game together, submit it for peer review, and get the thing published on Xbox Live.† I suppose that would be impressive were the oil spill Crisis in the Gulf depicting not dragged out now for nearly two months and counting.† Unfortunately, the rush to get the game out means that Crisis in the Gulf has all the trappings of other such Flash news game shovelware. To its credit Crisis on the Gulf is not nearly as simplified as Hero on the Hudson, but the simplicity of its tower defense game leave it just about as unsatisfying an experience.

Players drop submarines equipped with cannons, torpedoes, or lasers somewhere above the "Hydrostatic Pressure Limit" line and below what I can only assume is meant to be the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.† A pipe at the bottom of the screen releases black blobs which drift along with a visible gulf current, and the submarines will automatically fire upon the blobs until they are dissolved. Money is earned from each oil blobís destruction which can be applied to upgrading existing submarines or purchasing new ones. New waves are signaled when the oil pressure blows, a meter which pops up on screen to warn the player of a new release. Stop the oil from reaching the top to win I suppose.

Thereís no real value to be had here.† While itís interesting to see such a title appearing on Xbox Indies, the last thing Xbox Indies needs is more shovelware. Developer Super Boise attempts to inject Crisis in the Gulf with humor skewering "fictional" and "coincidental" DP oil company and making oil spill related jokes throughout the game, but the lines are lame and filled with typos. Seriously, itís pretty bad when a developer bases its game on an oil spill just off the Louisiana coast and canít be bothered to spellcheck "Lousiana" among other words. All in all Crisis in the Gulf is notable solely for bringing this sort of current news event game to Xbox Indies, but the substance of the game itself is lacking† and hardly make the demo itself worth recommending.

June 12, 2010
June 11, 2010 | 80 points
Developer | Video N/A | Download

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