So what happens when you combine B-movie disaster flick elements and turn it into a romantic adventure game? You get Agetec’s Raw Danger, a campy, ugly little gem that provides some entertaining moments amongst old-school concepts and mildly underwhelming disaster effects. Still, it’s not bad for its starting gate price.
When a game launches for under $20 a pop (that’s right, UNDER), you have to question what’s wrong with it: Defective gameplay? Inoperable controls? A clumsy playing schematic? Well, in this case it’s a semblance to none of the above. And while the game has its fair share of problems, Raw Danger works fine for what it is. More than anything it’s the low presentation qualities that warrant its easily affordable retail price. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to be had or that you won’t be mildly entertained by this game. Oh, it’s quite the contrary.
Much in the same way that people have confused Capcom’s “excellent” storytelling with laughable dialogue and cheesy plots, Raw Danger is a game that makes these faults apparent with its underachiving voice-acting, yet intriguing story premise. The game contains a simple gameplay mechanic that’s put to use with a handful of playable characters from the metropolis, Geo City, who are put through a string of disastrous events that are caused by a flood, on the very Eve of Christmas.
Now for those of you who are under the impression that this an outright action game with choices, you’re wrong. It plays out similar to other action-adventure titles (i.e., Resident Evil, Syberia, etc.,) given that players will still have to solve a good deal of puzzles – sometimes even platform oriented – before moving on to the next scenario or completing a chapter. The actual disaster encounters happen here and there (and mostly with select characters) but mostly it’s about taking on one task after another in the traditional survival-genre method. A better example would probably be Silent Hill without the creatures or demonic story elements. And...you would have to replace the entire town with flooding and crashing, and tipped over vehicles, etc. But you get my drift.
Speaking of the town...while Irem’s intention was to make the game seem “disaster ridden”, it all came off a bit underwhelming, as I mentioned earlier, because of the graphics. Now I’ll be one of the first to say that graphics don’t mean much, but in a game that’s trying to convey a deliberate sense of fear, desperation and situational tension, it’s imperative that things look overwhelming. While the character models are meagerly acceptable to today’s PS2 standards, and the weather effects are give and take at times, the city really suffers from a visual disease called gray. That’s right, everything looks too drab and dull, despite being somewhat detailed. I know the grayish look gives the entire atmosphere a much more desolated feel, but it also gives a much more lifeless feel and that rings true even for the disaster effects. Not only that, many of the buildings and objects suffer from extremely simplified geometry (almost worthy of the PSOne) and the textures come off with underachieving qualities and the not-so-appeasable smeared look.
Overall though, if you're a fan of this genre and don’t mind low presentation values (although they at least have some mouth movements for the character models) and some minor, but forgivable control/camera issues that come along with action-adventure-puzzle titles like this, then Raw Danger wouldn’t be bad addition to your PS2 collection. And while I would suggest to rent it before you buy it, you would probably save more money just picking the game up with its super-budget price tag.