Crash Dummy is a side-scrolling action adventure platformer available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Games based upon the premise of crash test dummies originated with The Incredible Crash Test Dummies developed by Gray Matter Inc for NES and SNES that released in 1993 before being ported to various platforms such as the Amiga, Game Boy, SEGA Mega Drive and more besides. The Incredible Crash Test Dummies videogame was based upon an action figure and toy car range from Tyco Toys in the early 1990s and later continued in the late 1990s by Mattel under the Hot Wheels brand after they were made popular by a public service advertising campaign in the late 1980s that educated people on the importance of wearing seat belts in vehicles, while there were also a few comic books and TV animation shorts. The developer of Crash Dummy (Twelve Games) also developed CID The Dummy on PS2, PSP, Wii and PC in 2009. Can Twelve Games deliver a Crash Dummy game better than CID The Dummy to rival The Incredible Crash Test Dummies?
The story revolves around CID attempting to rescue the Advisor’s daughter MIA that has been kidnapped by the evil D-TROIT with a story that is told through an animated cartoon sequence followed by still cartoon images.
Gameplay begins with the first of two tutorials situated in a chimney that sees the Advisor teaching Cid how to solve puzzles such as powering up a generator, moving, jumping, collecting orbs and utilising his ESS fight system to fight against enemies in hand-to-hand combat. Meanwhile, the second tutorial is located in a courtyard and involves sneaking past enemies, acrobatics, how to equip and fire a weapon at a stationary target positioned in the air and how to use Cid’s super run and panic mode abilities. Following on from the two tutorials; there are 14 levels themed on particular surroundings.
Character design is interesting as despite CID the dummy being classed as a simple crash dummy; he can use his fists, alongside firing weapons such as bazookas, ice lasers and flamethrowers to defeat enemies, while also being able to leap great distances, climb, slide, run along walls akin to a ninja and perform stunts to daze enemies. Panic mode ability allows Cid to defeat all nearby enemies and destroy all breakable objects via an electromagnetic wave, albeit only after collecting 10 orbs. Enemy design features 25 unique enemies with their own moves including guards, dogs, scientists, builders, monsters, bats and much more besides, alongside hazards such as toxic fumes. Meanwhile, there are half a dozen enemy bosses that each has much larger health bars, unique movement patterns and attacks.
Environment design comprises of various locations including a chimney and courtyard during the tutorials followed by a warehouse, tunnel, sewers, swamp and more besides, while some levels contain underwater swimming segments. Levels have trademark features from retro platformers such as conveyor belts that have to be navigated in the opposite direction to avoid toxic fumes from nearby pipes; temporary platforms; springs that catapult Cid into the air; spike strips to avoid; switch puzzles to open doors and lift platforms; and more besides. Despite the large quantity of puzzles and jumps per level; there is actually no checkpoint within any level, although to make up for that Cid has three lives and an infinite amount of continues that allows the player to continue from where they had previously progressed up to within the level.
Despite CID The Dummy releasing on PSP; it looks as though Crash Dummy will not be receiving a Vita native release. Crash Dummy’s remote play performance is excellent as the graphics, audio and general performance is the same quality as the PS4 version. The vast majority of the control scheme remains the same during remote play other than for performing Cid’s panic mode ability that has been remapped to the bottom left of the rear touch pad; resulting in a very playable remote play experience.
The controls are mostly well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller, although just as any other retro platformer; it is not always possible to jump precisely to every platform, while holding onto a ledge does not always immediately allow the player to jump upwards back onto the platform; potentially resulting in some frustration. Elsewhere, the player cannot fire their weapon in all directions; instead only allowing to fire to the right or left rather than eight way directional controls, although Cid can fire his weapon when in midair after jumping or using a spring. The control scheme consists of pressing X to jump; pressing triangle to interact with objects and switches; pressing square to equip a weapon; pressing O to fire the weapon; pressing L1 or R1 to super run to the left or right respectively; pressing L3 to perform Cid’s panic mode ability; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move Cid; and holding down on the left analogue stick to sneak. There is no touch pad and light bar implementation or vibration, although the touch pad could have provided an alternative for performing Cid’s panic mode ability, while the light bar could have produced an alternative HUD representing Cid’s health, alongside vibration to reflect Cid receiving damage from an enemy or a hazard.
Graphically, Crash Dummy has a charming retro exterior that is similar to that of The Incredible Crash Test Dummies and retro platformers from around the Amiga era. Almost every level introduces a new theme within its level design such as in level 8 titled Ghosts ‘N’ Dummies that is seemingly a play on the imagery of Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins.
Crash Dummy unfortunately retains the same presentation as its mobile game origins; resulting in there being no customisation options and rather unbelievably having to restart the level from the beginning after pressing the options button to pause the game that can become very frustrating if you naturally pause the game for any number of everyday reasons.
The opening cartoon animation has voice-overs, although there are no voice-overs for the majority of the game after that as dialogue switches to speech bubbles other than for Cid enthusiastically exclaiming, “Did you see that?!” or saying, “Yes!” and a couple more small phrases. Sound effects include Cid jumping, punching, destroying crates, collecting items, turning on switches to open doors, equipping and firing a weapon at enemies, enemies performing attacks on Cid and ambience related to the scenery within the level such as saws and electricity in the warehouse level, alongside adventurous and climactic instrumental music. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation, although it could have produced sound effects or voice-overs.
The trophy list includes 17 trophies with 3 bronze trophies, 3 silver trophies, 10 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Tutorial 1 and Tutorial 2 bronze trophies for completing both tutorials. However, each of the 14 trophies after both tutorials have been completed are purely related to how hard the player finds each of the levels to be, so if you are fluent in side-scrolling platformers, then it might be an easier platinum trophy. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 5 to 10 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are no difficulty levels, although Crash Dummy’s difficulty curve is most certainly reminiscent to retro side-scrolling platformers such as The Incredible Crash Test Dummies and Soccer Kid due to its puzzle solving, platforming exploration and a range of enemies. However, having three lives combined with being able to find another life here or there throughout levels and infinite continues allowing the player to resume from where they left off after all of Cid’s lives had been used reduces the fundamental difficulty by at least giving the player a fair chance to continue their progression through the level.
There is no local or online co-operative or competitive multiplayer and there are no online leaderboards. Local or online co-operative multiplayer could have seen two players controlling two crash test dummies in an attempt to complete each level, while local or online competitive multiplayer would have tasked a player to guide Cid through defeating enemies that were controlled by the other player. Meanwhile, online leaderboards could have showcased the fastest times from each player for completing individual levels and every level combined.
Crash Dummy’s replayability stems from the two tutorials and 14 levels encompassing themed level design, alongside attempting to find all of the orb collectibles situated within each level and experiencing charming retro esque puzzle solving and platforming gameplay.
• Title: Crash Dummy
• Developer: Twelve Games
• Publisher: Funbox Media
• System: PS4
• Format: Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: No
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1
• Hard Drive Space Required: 897MB