Crow: City of Angels, The

Crow: City of Angels, The

Acclaim's latest license catch-and-release is an astoundingly bad game down to its core.

Jewel Case Release

3D / Beat’em Up
CDs: 1
(272 Megs)
1 Player
ESRB: Mature
Animated Violence Animated Blood
Retail Barcode:
0 21481 21072 6
Gray Matter
Sony ID:
February 26, 1997

3D fighting with a vengeance

They killed you. But you came back. An avenging angel from beyond the grave. A vigilante reborn to bring justice to the damned. Take your unearthly powers and wreak vengeance on Judah, L.A.’s drug king, Kali, the nin-jitsu death-bitch, Curve, Spider Monkey and an army of lowlife thugs…because life after death is hell.

  • No obstacle will stop your unearthly quest for vengeance!
  • Clear your path to Judah with shotguns, uzis, and molotov cocktails!
  • The swift kick of justice!
  • Hunt for the damned through a 3D labyrinth of seedy streets!


There is no way to fully understand the severity of how much this game defies logic. From the moment the game starts, warning signs begin going off that keep begging the player not to play it and never stops. I didn’t listen, and now I am here to tell the tale.

Based off of the movie it’s name after, The Crow is essentially a side-scrolling beat’em up trapped in a horrific Resident Evil engine gone horribly wrong. The problem is that not a single element of the individual parts was finalized with any sort of care.

Presenting itself first and foremost are the poorly rendered levels that the player will be crawling across. There are, at any given time, only 4 colors on screen: black, brown, yellow, and red. That’s it…with black being the most prevalent. There is no vibrancy to the game at all, let alone the ability to actually see anything in the background. Worse still, the designers decided to add in more camera angles than were remotely needed. Such foolery results in frequent pauses, off-screen characters, poor viewing angles, and my personal favorite – lack of depth.

Rather than just keep things simple, Gray Matter decided that The Crow should move and fight as if he were in Tekken; even though he’s walking in 3D you will auto-lock onto an enemy. This lock-on causes a plane-shift, and he’ll duel as if they were the only two in the room. There is no way to escape this lock without first beating the enemy, causing death at the hands of any enemy that was actually smart enough to come in behind him. Worse still, the clipping and damage boxes that determine where the moves hit are practically non-existent. I spent half the game trying to move incrementally back and forth pleading for anything to just hit the bastard I was fighting against.

The voice-over work and music are 100% forgettable and unacceptable. Every music track is roughly 20 seconds of the same repeating loop, and if it does change is atrocious. Late in the game, enemy voice-overs were even assigned incorrectly; a male and female voice were swapped or opponents called out the wrong threat associated to their weapon (a knife wielder screamed, “Eat lead!”). Boss characters have absolutely no rhyme or reason to their patterns. When fighting said monstrosities, Ashe will suddenly have extra moves that he couldn’t use on regular foes. I couldn’t tell what they were – the same move came out no matter what I pressed.

Unless one uses a GameShark code for Infinite Health like I did, be prepared to die instantly with no chance to retaliate. Enemies can come pre-equipped with shotguns and missile launchers that will kill Ashe before there’s even a chance to grasp the situation. Curve, the 2nd-in-command, has a rocket-launching guitar. I am not even kidding.

All of this ends up as one giant ass piece of crap, an absolute abomination of development time, and several hours of my life I will never, ever get back. Out of the 1200+ games released on the PlayStation, this ranks as one of the top 10 Worst Games of all time, hands down.

Which is something to crow about.



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There are no known Variants for this game…thankfully.


  • Acclaim’s! Exclamation! Point! Abuse! Continues!
  • The only Crow movie or related media to be released as a video game.
  • If you, for whatever reason, need to play this game, here’s a lone game play tip to save yourself wasted time: In the church level, you’ll have to cross three chandeliers – you’ll auto jump to the first one, and then at the very end of the swing, just press forward, then do it again. Anything other than that will cause you to drop, and if you drop three times, it’s game over.
  • There are glitches all over the place, the best of them being an audio clip that was improperly recorded – resulting in an ear piercing, eye-popping buzzer noise. It’s supposed to be there, just not at that level.
  • There are no credits when you finish the game…those you can view at the Title Screen. It’s as if the developers knew no one…but me…would actually play through it.
  • PlayStation’s version features some extra passwords that were not featured in the Saturn version.
  • Most of the cinematic movies are noticeably rushed – the characters race through their lines, and there’s minimal movement in all of them sans the bookend movies.

The Verdict


The Good: You can at least see what the developers were trying to accomplish.

The Bad: Jaw dropping Incompetence on every level