[Thanks to my good friend Square for the banner image!]
Hakaiou: King of Crusher (lit. “Destruction King: King of Crusher”) is a Japanese-exclusive action game released in 1998 for the PlayStation by budget developer FAB Communication. Described as a “rage simulator”, the game tells the story of an unnamed Japanese salaryman who, after being bitten by a space bug, finds himself free of his inhibitions and begins a march of mayhem through his home and beyond. The gameplay loop of Hakaiou is similar to that of Rampage, where you stomp your way through various maps in order to smash everything you see. Causing enough destruction in each level will not only allow you to progress through the game, but will also grant the player more power, eventually building to a finale of gargantuan scale with a showdown against the embodiment of liberty itself. However, underneath the rampant chaos and destruction lies a story about the ways in which we cope with our feelings of societal vs personal freedom and lashing out against the oppressive systems that control us. Mostly though it’s about smashing things and having a good time.
Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “A living being wants above all else to release its strength; life itself is the will to power”. Hakaiou: King of Crusher bestows this sense of raw aggression to the player, creating a world made out of destructible items to punch and kick into oblivion. However, power comes with a price, and that price is control. Even though the game released midway through the PlayStation’s life cycle, Hakaiou shows all of the growing pains of 3D at once. Your character controls like a car and takes turns poorly, which can cause a lot of trouble in the cramped maps. Judging distance to objects and hitboxes is a hit-or-miss affair, and the moveset’s basic reach and power is constantly being redefined throughout the game, causing growing pains between level sets. Still, it’s not so much about the details as it is about the destination, and Hakaiou: King of Crusher still delivers a fun and entertaining, if mildly frustrating, experience.
“Right or wrong, it’s very pleasant to break something from time to time.”
I’m the great terror of Let’s Play ChorpSaway and I will be giving you a guided tour through this sordid story of anger and mayhem. Joining me are my fellow delinquents TheJayOfSpade, FutureFriend, and Taoc, who have never seen this game but love meaningless violence as much as anyone else. Together we’ll journey across the world as we follow the trail of destruction left by the King of Crusher himself.
Hakaiou was never released in English, but thanks to my good friend Jupi, I have added subtitles for the dialogue into the videos so that everyone can follow along with this tragic tale.
“It’s just one of those days/When you don’t wanna wake up/Everything is fucked/Everybody sucks/You don’t really know why/But you wanna justify/Rippin’ someone’s head off”