The First Crackdown Still Makes Me Scream

By Tim Rogers on at

On the occasion of Crackdown 3 releasing just eleven days from today, I revisited the first Crackdown. I loved it in 2007, and it pleases me to report that I still love it today. In this video, I ruminate on my enjoyment of it and philosophise about why it might have failed to become Microsoft’s “GTA Killer.”

Why didn’t Crackdown beat GTA? Well, for starters, it wasn’t as good. Also, it was exclusive to the Xbox 360, whereas Grand Theft Auto IV was multi-platform. Those two factors might have a lot to do with Crackdown’s failure to become a global household name.

In looking at Crackdown more deeply, I found it to be a game that narratively contextualises Grand-Theft-y behaviour by making every civilian a serial killer. It’s a game made for water-cooler discourse about its big, shocking moments. It is the perfect game for Twitch, a decade before Fortnite.

It is also a game about cops who can jump. Why didn’t “cops who can jump” at least become a genre of movies?

Though developed by a team led by David Jones, alumnus of Grand Theft Auto publisher DMA designs, Crackdown represented a different take on the open-world genre. Without Crackdown and its tireless devotion to wild mechanics and hilarious fun, we might not have Just CauseSaints Row might have never decided to go all in on humour in its later instalments.

I loved Crackdown in 2007. I played it in online co-op with a buddy across an ocean. We shouted like spontaneously combusting imbeciles as we threw cars, jumped between rooftops, kicked dudes, threw cars, kicked cars, threw dudes at cars, kicked dudes at cars, kicked cars at dudes, threw cars at dudes, threw cars at cars that the other one of us had just thrown, and threw dudes at dudes that the other one of us had just thrown.

You can hear more about my enjoyment of the game in the video.

Despite Crackdown 3's imminent release, little information about it has reached me. That is by choice. I’ve tried to avoid getting hyped because I don’t want to feel bad if it’s not the best game of all time. I’m a little worried about it. On the other hand, its trailer clearly shows Terry Crews’ lead character collecting an Agility Orb. That’s all I need to know to stand at attention ready to play it when I can.