The Milky Way Just Got Pinker...

Crime Crackers [Light ARPG Using First-Person POV]

Crime Crackers

Japanese Game Front

The Pink Dolphin Team

The Pink Dolphin Crew...
Minus That Hooded Jerk.
Don't Know Why He's
In The Picture.

Crime Crackers Official Art Book released back in 1995.

- CC Official Art Book -
Presented By:
The Akaikutsu Club

Crime Crackers Game Soundtrack

- CC Original SoundTrack -
Sound Produced By:
Noriyuki Asakura

A cute Leaza figurine!

This Is A Simple, But
Likable Figurine Of Leaza.

Leaza: The Powerpuff Girl ya never knew about!

This Picture has Leaza Drawn
In A "Powerpuff Girls" Style.
Leaza Is Like Bubbles
While The Monkey Is
Like Mojo Jojo!

Gumby has probably never been so shocked (and confused) in his entire life!

Hey Gumby! Say Hello
To Your Bro!

-General Information-
Regions: Japan
Year: 1994
Publisher: SCEI (Sony Computer Entertainment Inc)
Developer(s) and Others: Media.Vision
# of Players: 1
# of Blocks: 1 block for saves
# of Discs: 1
Estimated Market Value as of 08/08/2008:
* $6 - $10 (U.S. Dollars/USD)
Fan Translated: No
Playstation Store: 600 yen - PS3/PSP (CERO "A" rating)
Other Info: The Character Designer for this game is the talented Kokomai of the Akaikutsu Club. You can visit Kokomai's site at this link. One of the main programmers of this game is Michelle Ahiko, who also went on to aid in the production of Wild Arms and Wild Arms 2 (Wild Arms 2nd Ignition). She provided programming support for WA2 and did some Event Scripts and Field Programs in WA. Another person of mention is the great music composer and vocalist, Noriyuki Asakura, who composed soundtracks to the anime series Rurouni Kenshin and various video games such as Tenchu, Way of the Samurai, and Crime Crackers 1 and 2. He is well known for combining traditional Japanese music with elements of rock, jazz, and other world music in great style. You can visit Asakura's official website here, and you can also read an interesting interview with Noriyuki Asakura here. The interview has a bit of unusual information regarding the Crime Crackers games as well. Interestingly enough, someone has used the popular singing synthesizer application software, Vocaloid (read here), to have Hatsune Miku sing the ending song titled: "Crime Crackers".


A lot of people credit Media.Vision's popularity for the Wild Arms series, but where exactly was the company before Wild Arms? Well, they were still developing games! As popular as the company is today, it's a shame that Wild Arms is the main game that people know about. However, in Japan, Media.Vision was known for another game that started their career in video games...and that game goes by the name of Crime Crackers. It marked humble beginnings for the company and it blows my mind that there is such a lack of coverage for Crime Crackers...for starters, Crime Crackers is a "series" that only consists of two games. Secondly, the first game in the series was among one of the Sony Playstation's launch titles!

Media.Vision was established in March of 1993 and right from the gate, it seemed that they had a strange fondness of gunslingers and role playing games. Being released back in 1994 with King's Field and a few other games, Crime Crackers featured a colorful cast of characters (some skilled with guns or swords) who were drawn by the popular Kokomai (Kokomahi), a leading member of the Akaikutsu Club who has done an incredible amount of work in various areas. Kokomai works in designing adorable toys and books and has worked on game artwork for other games besides Crime Crackers, although Kokomai seems to like Crime Crackers (Leaza seems to be a big favorite) and Villgust among other things.

For starters, KK (as I'll call for short) has done package illustrations for Downtown Nekketsu Baseball Monogatari (Super Famicom), Fray CD's Jacket illustration design (Turbo CD/Turbo Duo), and Pop'n Magic's character design illustrations (Turbo CD/Turbo Duo). KK is particularly known for drawing chibi, or deformed characters who have big heads and disproportionate body figures. However, they are very cute and charming and it's because of KK's work that the Crime Crackers games would eventually become cult classics.


There are many stars out there in the vastness of space...and where there are stars, there are also crooks who make a living in outer space! These worthless no-gooders steal and plunder and cause trouble whenever it is possible. However, where there are crooks, there are also police. In an effort to stop intergalactic crime, the "Galaxy Police" were born and they are also known as GG, or the Galaxy Guard. While the GG is somewhat successful in their efforts to prevent criminals from plundering the valuable resources of the universe, some jobs are just too big for them to handle.

Here's where you come in; you control the team of wacky heroes who take care of the jobs that even the GG can't deal with. Flying through the Milky Way in a Pink Dolphin space craft and donning the title of Crime Crackers, you control the Pink Dolphin team, which has six members in it. First, you have Emilia F. Alcanett, the optimistic captain of the PD team. She hopes to be as great as the "Cosmo Guardians", an elite group of galactic protectors. Emilia is searching for her brother, Cain Alcanett, who flies in a space craft known as the Great Shark. Cain is a Cosmo Guardian of great skill and he protected Emilia in the past, but disappeared one day. Emilia's feelings for her brother are strong (one of the reasons she became a Crime Cracker) but Cain doesn't really look related to her at all (he or Emilia may be adopted or something). Ms. Alcanett is young and somewhat inexperienced, but she has a good heart and is skilled in small handguns. It's is also said that her I.Q. is approximately 300!

Next, you have two other members who are almost always at Emilia's side and join her in her battles with the various unknowns in space: Doran and Leaza (spelled Riiza in Japanese characters). Doran is the brute force of the team (of some kind of dragon species) and specializes in heavy firepower and big guns. He is also older and more mature and tries to prevent Emilia from making mistakes. Leaza is a catgirl of few words. She occasionally locates areas by pinpointing their exact coordinates, but her real specialty is in swordsmanship. Unlike Emilia and Doran, Leaza must get close to her enemies since she relies on the power of the sword.

Finally, you have three other members of the PD crew. Parrot, a bird man (looking like a giant parrot) who is the engineer of the team and takes care of maintenance of the Pink Dolphin ship. You also have Core-Log, a small hovering support droid that provides system information. Core-Log has another function too; it carries around another member of the CC team, Potpourri Vamp. Potpourri Vamp is a peculiar creature known as a "Cyber Elf" who mostly inhabits cyberspace, but she can manifest a physical form as long as Core-Log is around. She loves shopping and having fun, but doesn't care much for serious business.

Together, the PD team get the job done. Their first mission? They must go on a search and rescue job. However, what seems like a simple rescue mission becomes something more and you go to various places, including a "zombie planet" and even prison! Eventually, you'll witness pieces of the past, betrayal, and eventually unravel an old mystery which unleashes a hideous secret...The Vaiten, a thing that only knows destruction. The only way to rid the galaxy of the Vaiten is to...well, I won't say, but you must enter a place so twisted that it tests the willpower of humans and all other life forms who enter it.

--------SO IT'S JUST SOME DOOM RPG, RIGHT?--------

Actually, I can't say that Crime Crackers is a Doom RPG like some others put it. Unfortunately, behind my grand introduction of the game lies a game that wanted to do a lot, but didn't do too much in the end. Doom (on the PC anyway) was a quality first-person shooter, so to turn it into an RPG would ordinarily be great news. That would imply that Crime Crackers is some great first-person shooter RPG. First, the plot behind Crime Crackers isn't really all that remarkable. If you (like many on Youtube perhaps) watched the ending movie for this game and saw the cartoony ending that's silly and charming, it would imply that CC is a silly game with humorous dialogue. The sad truth of the matter is that the game only starts out that way on the first act and the game consist of sixteen acts. The humor is quickly lost and for the most part, the dialogue becomes boring and surprisingly serious in some cases. In that sense, the characters lost a lot of their appeal for me. On top of that, there is a lack of NPCs (Non Playable Characters) and suspense.

The game also suffers due to a lack of variety. Most of the story scenes are played out on the same exact screens, which makes the game feel really repetitive and uninspired. I mean seriously, how many story scenes did they have to have the characters talk inside of the friggin' PD ship? Talk somewhere else for crying out loud! For 1994, the environments looked decent enough, but the game lacks the feel of a truly 3D world. In King's Field (the first one), the game incorporated a very important element that made the game more engaging; HEIGHT. Crime Crackers doesn't possess any height, so the game feels incredibly flat, even despite the fact that you can strafe left and right (but you can't exactly look up or down). Thankfully, the enemies are modeled fairly well for the time, so the game shows that it was at least attempting to utilize the Playstation hardware to some degree.

In an effort to make the game more appealing, the game has some pretty interesting audio. While the game has no spoken dialogue (unless you count the ending theme song), the game has some blends of jazz and rock music that oddly suit the game in many instances. The music is well composed with nice piano and saxophone work as well as other instruments. However, the sound takes a hit as well; there just isn't enough music to go around. The game reuses the same music too much so even though the music in and of itself is of good quality, I started getting tired of it after a while. However, something very important to note is that the Crime Crackers games had Original Soundtracks made for them by a talented man named Noriyuki Asakura. Being a talented individual, Asakura has composed several soundtracks, but Crime Crackers was the first game that he actually composed for. A person by the name of Mr. Nagasaki from Sony Computer Entertainment hired Asakura because they used to work together and since the Playstation was new back then, Nagasaki wanted someone talented like Asakura to make music for them.


Once you've seen Crime Crackers and heard it, all that's left for you to do is to actually play it...and that isn't exactly as easy as it sounds. The irony of it all is that the game is so simplistic...TOO simplistic. It's the simplicity of the game that makes it so hard to enjoy it for what it is. You have three characters who can be switched on the fly (which was interesting of a first-person title of this kind) and they all must share Gun Energy as well as bombs, which damage everything on the screen. At the start, each shot from Emilia cost one point of GE while Doran's cost two GE points. Leaza is different because she fights at close range and her attacks don't cost any GE. Depending on the character you are using, you can use a different bomb (which remains the same throughout the entire game) and they all deal the same amount of damage, so the difference is merely cosmetic. Emilia is the weakest, but she possesses rapid fire shots and can wear some useful accessories later on. Doran is EXTREMELY powerful, especially late in the game, but gets the weakest armor. Leaza is powerful both offensively and defensively, but has short range.

Like an RPG, you get various items for healing and restoring your Gun Energy, as well as various event related items (keys, etc). You also find items that boost a character's HP, because you don't actually gain level ups like a normal RPG. You get a life apple to raise Emilia's HP, life meat to raise Doran's HP, and life milk to raise Leaza's HP. By defeating enemies and clearing acts, you get Cracker Points. CP allows you to increase in rank, which in turn, allows you to wear newer and more powerful equipment. If you get to SS rank, you can wear the most powerful equipment in the game. You can only buy items and equipment between acts, so you have to plan ahead and buy items only for the character(s) you feel needs it. After a while, you can also shop at a black market, which sells better weapons and armor than the regular shop. You can only carry up to nine of each item.

As far as combat goes, the game is as basic as it gets. You run, stop, shoot, and guard. The awkward thing about fighting is that you must enter a shooting mode before you can actually start shooting anything. Moving can be cumbersome in shooting mode since you must strafe left and right and move the crosshair to the far left or right to turn. Fighting isn't too difficult in this fashion (once you get yourself more acquainted with the game), but it is pretty unnecessary and quite frankly speaking, it just wasn't smart. You can guard by holding both strafing buttons (L1 and R1), and you can turn while guarding, but you can't move around. One thing to note is that the game still recognizes the other two characters that you aren't using and treats them as if they are walking to the left and right of you. If you get hit from the far left or far right, they will take damage instead of the character you are controlling. Another thing to note is that there is no auto-targeting system...OOOK then!


This game just feels like it's missing's like playing Doom without the chainsaw...OK, so maybe the chainsaw wasn't that important. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make (and I'm doing it rather poorly) is that Crime Crackers just feels so plain and disjointed. The weapons shoot different bullets of different colors, but you do the same crap over and over. You shoot guys (if it helps any, one enemy kinda looks like an evil Gumby), stop and get shot at, guard, then do it all over again. Honestly, you don't even need Emilia or Leaza because you get more than enough items to restore Gun Energy and Doran's power is all you really need (unless you want to challenge yourself). To make matters worse, bombs become so powerful later on that killing bosses becomes a joke. In the early portions of the game, you just strafe around in shooting mode firing bullets in circles hoping to hit your boss target that moves around like Speedy Gonzales.

I feel that the story could have been much better if it focused more on the humor and dialogue, but the dialogue ends up becoming stale. The music is limited, the visuals are more or less ordinary...I don't think I really have to say anymore about Crime Crackers. Is it a terrible game? Not exactly. I'm showing a little kindness since it was one of the launch titles and it could have been a lot worse, but it could have been better too (the ending movie IS very nice though). However, not all is lost. Crime Crackers was Media.Vision's first, but it certainly wasn't their last.

- Written by Vyse the determined -

Game Screenshots

Title Screen The Pink Dolphin is very pink indeed. What would a cyber elf need to go shopping for anyway? Windows Vista or something? Emilia looks pretty useless compared to the others based on her stats. Leaza doing some psychedelic cherry blossom explosion thing! Merchant: 'Listen better have my money when you come in here next time!'

This review has 162 extra images.

Audio Samples

Music played in the Intro of CC [1.81 MB]

Music played during conversation in CC [1.10MB]

Music played during Act 1- Rescue [1.22MB]

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