For the time, Crusader was amazingly impressive. The high-resolution graphics were incredible, the number of animations and combat options almost ridiculous. What were stodgy controls then are now a little painful, but there’s still plenty of power in being able to roll around, fire in 360 degrees, and unleash an armory of toys like scuttling spiderbots and placeable detpacks. Who doesn’t love lots of big explosions? Nobody, that’s who – and Crusader did them bigger than almost anyone at the time.[…]
Crusader’s primary weakness is that it falls between two different genres. It’s not fast paced and fluid enough to be a great action game, but nor do the extra bits it bolts on add enough to make it a hybrid. There’s a bit of stealth, but you’re not going to play it as a stealth game. You get plenty of gadgets, but it’s hardly Deus Ex. It’s impossible to play without wishing it could have had the flexibility of 3D, even knowing that the technology of the day would never have been up to the challenge. Still, if the suits at EA (which currently holds the Crusader license) are looking for a franchise to reboot, they could certainly do worse than dig the Silencer up for one last mission…
Undeniable biases aside, I do feel Crusader holds up rather well in a contemporary gaming sense. Some design tropes of the era from which it was made in combination with the technology of the day may lead players astray, but I do feel it is an overall strong game.
You can read the whole review here.