Crush Deluxe

Take a look at Crush! Deluxe, a sort of Capture the Flag-ish turn-based monster mash with scads of the expected unnecessary roughness.

Snap10Crush! Deluxe is a turn-based strategy/sports game played from a top-down view of a maze-like arena. Here’s how it works: While playing against two other teams full of aliens, your goal is to search the arena for the B.A.L.L., acquire it, and zip back to your goal to score. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though — the B.A.L.L. is hidden in one of many dispensers scattered about the playing field, and if you choose the wrong dispenser, you get fried by electricity.

Teleporters allow quick escapes from oncoming opponents, and though Quake-style telefrags aren’t possible, teleporter malfunctions randomly occur, transforming your team member into a pulp of organic matter. One more thing — if you happen to get bodychecked, the B.A.L.L. will go flying in a random direction, scooting around like a greased pig until you manage to grab it.

The concept may seem suspiciously like that of Blood Bowl, but overall, the design reflects a wide variety of influences, integrating elements from turn-based classics like X-COM. For example, there’s a fair amount of resource management throughout the game where you’re allotted a limited amount of funds to buy stuff like heavy armor and booster belts. What makes these toys more interesting is that using them is considered illegal by the game’s management. If the referee catches you, you’ll be ejected from the proceedings. There are also legitimate skills to acquire with experience points.

Snap6Crush! Deluxe has a ton of variables and almost infinite replay value, but is the dang thing actually any fun? Well, kinda. Crush! Deluxe is turn-based instead of real-time, so you get to plan out your strategies in advance (unless you activate the turn timer, which restricts a player’s turn to a set number of seconds). The rigged B.A.L.L. dispensers can be real sources of frustration — it’s not much fun to have your star player go down within the first minute of the game thanks to an electrical shock from an ill-chosen dispenser.

Crush! Deluxe is much stronger when it’s played against friends, and the disc allows you to spawn two other copies for network play. There’s some originality at work here, so props should be given to the small dev team, but overall it’s not the most addictive strategy/puzzle hybrid out there.

System Requirements: 486/66 CPU, 8 MB RAM, Windows 95

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