By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on October 31, 2014

Earth has deteriorated into a mass-consuming orb of greed. Economies around the globe collapse. Out of their ashes arise a number of huge conglomerates that eventually merge into one mega conglomerate called World Economic Consortium. The World Economic Consortium or WEC for short, controls everything on our once green planet. Our thoughts, our actions, our lives. It's time to win our freedom back. It's time for a rebellion. It's time for: Crusader!

The year is 1995, the system of choice for this timemachine is MS DOS (Crusader would not be ported for Playstation and Sega Saturn for another two years). Origin Systems and Electronic Arts were kind enough to bring us the first of two games which blew us away. Tactical gameplay, stealth, wanton destruction and lots and lots of explosions, Crusader had it all! So rev up your entire 1024 Kb of RAM and let's go!

Right from the start, Crusader: No Remorse hits us with everything it's got. Originally released in 1995, it featured smooth svga graphics, in-game live actions cut scenes and a soundtrack to kill for (which you do abundantly throughout the Crusader games). You are a Silencer, a soldier extraordinaire, a mean lean killing machine. That is why WEC uses these super soldiers in missions lesser men couldn't handle. Silencers are highly trained and lack any and all sense of remorse (no remorse... get it?!), or so WEC thought. When a team of three silencers are sent on a search and destroy mission, they refuse to fire upon unarmed civilians believed to be a part of WEC's nemesis, the so-called Rebellion. The people in this Rebellion, being the only ones who dare to oppose the almighty WEC, are deemed to be a giant threat.

Now, threats are something WEC does not handle well, so you and your two compatriots are ordered to seek out and destroy this nuisance. But, as said, you refuse to fire at innocent people, WEC is very disappointed in you and orders you to return to base. Ok, that's it! Let's return home and have a beer... No such luck, silencer, old pal o' mine! Instead of a beer, chilled to exactly the right temperature and with the perfect head. So cool and refreshing after a hard day's work... Oh man, I've got to stop talking about beer! Sooooo, instead of libation, there's a WEC MechWarrior who starts blasting as soon as you arrive in the main hangar. You manage to duck into cover, but your two colleagues as not as fortunate. Their bullet-riddled corpses are all you get for your years of service. You manage to take out the mech with a well aimed grenade, and make your escape from WEC headquarters.

After your escape, you decide to join the Rebellion and give WEC a good walloping for what they did to you. Of course, with you reportedly being a stone cold killing machine and all, the people at the Rebellion don't quite know what to make of you. Therefore, you are the subject of mistrust and outright hatred. You will have to earn the trust of your fellow rebels by carrying out various dangerous missions (I would have thought taking off your helmet or talking would be a good place to start working towards trust... But hey, it's his party!). These missions usually consist of infiltrating a WEC base, killing everyone in sight and blowing up as much shit as you can possibly find! In Crusader this is not a problem. The people at Origin systems filled the Crusader games with more stuff to blow up than there are balloons at an extremely wealthy kid's 5th birthday party (no clowns though...that's a bit of a shame). Nevertheless, at its merciless heart, Crusader is an epic strategy-based third-person tactical shooter, which would set the benchmark for an entire genre. Without divulging too many details about the story, I will say this; Crusader: No Remorse had the most explosive ending to date, with as an added bonus a call from one of WEC's top brass, swearing bloody vengeance... SEQUEL TIME!!!

A year later, Crusader: No Regret hits the market and lets us rejoice in glorious battle once more. The premise of No Regret is pretty much the same as that of No Remorse. It does however, have a few new tricks up its sleeve. Several new weapons and death animations were added. The restriction that plagued No Remorse by saying that you cannot carry more than five weapons at any given time was completely removed from the game. A greater diversity of characters was introduced, as well as live action cut scenes of a higher quality than ever before. Crusader: No Regret takes off approximately 4 days after the events of its predecessor. We are a silencer once more. No, scratch that, we are THE silencer once more, drifting through space in an escape pod after wreaking havoc in one of WEC's bases. After being picked up by a freighter, you learn that WEC is still at it, and has everyone who disagreed with them in the past working in mines, digging for a precious radioactive compound, Di-Corellium. This compound is responsible for almost all energy production on earth. Due to irregularities, WEC's chairman has come to oversee this gazillion-dollar operation. This chairman turns out to be (surprise, surprise!) the same bastard that threatened us at the end of No Remorse. So shall we venture forth and give him a good thrashing? My thoughts exactly!

Though the story of No Regret shows less depth than that of No Remorse, it still manages to give the player a good sense of what they're fighting for. No remorse set us up for a sequel that promised to be just as good as the original, and let's be honest; No Regret does not disappoint!

The level of detail in the Crusader games was really amazing at the time and still manages to impress today, if you take in account that this game is now 9 years old! The variety of weapons, characters and gadgets makes for an enjoyable journey of death and destruction. Characters have multiple death-animations, depending on which weapon you use to eradicate them with. The clever use of mines, exploding barrels, gas pipes, teleportation devices and basically everything you can get your hands on makes for balanced gameplay. Everyone will have a different playing style, and in these two Crusader games there's always more than one solution for any given problem. The game's graphics, audio and control set are excellent, making for one hell of a ride (or two...actually) Sadly, the series were discontinued before a third installment could be put in place, but it still leaves us with two fantastic games! Luckily, Crusader: No Remorse and Crusader: No Regret are both still for sale on, complete with compatibility for Windows XP/7/8 and Mac OS X (10.8.6 or newer)

Now, if you'd excuse me, I think I'm going to solve my problems by covering my enemies in toxic waste by destroying an overhead waste pipe and setting them on fire with a well-aimed shot at that explosive barrel in the corner. And I'm gonna do it completely without remorse or regret! READY OR NOT, HERE I COME!!! (Laughs maniacally as he leaves the room...)

Origin Systems & Electronic Arts
1995 (Crusader: No Remorse)
1996 (Crusader: No Regret)