Angry German Kid Returns, known in Japan as 'Keyboard Crusher: 21st Century Strike' (Japanese: キーボードクラッシャー：２１世紀ストライク, Hepburn: 'Kībōdo Kurasshā: Nijūichi-Seiki Sutoraiku') is a 2004 first-person action-adventure shooter role-playing video game developed by the Edret Games branch at Drillimation Studios and published by Namco for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube consoles, as well as Microsoft Windows and Macintosh computers. It is the first game to be released after a 14-year hiatus of the series, and is the first FPS game from Drillimation Studios. The game follows the story of a hacker named Leopold Slikk and his quest to take back the Bergisches Land from the Staatmeister.
The game's lead developer, Edret Games, wanted to target the game for a European audience. Nevertheless, the game had to be censored in some regions due to swastikas and portraits of Hitler. The North American and European versions of the game sold fine, but the Japanese version's sales were poor.
- "Prepare yourself for the total meltdown!"
- - Official attention grabber
Drillimation's notorious hacker returns to your PlayStation 2/Xbox/Nintendo GameCube in a new team-based shooter. This sequel features both multiplayer deathmatch and campaign modes, which can be played via Drillimation Online and a system link. Now you and your friends can compete as one of six combat specialists across multi-mission campaigns. Whether you battle in the past or in the future, this game promises more action and humor during warfare.
Angry German Kid Returns develops its narrative thread through the actions of its player-controlled protagonist, Leopold Slikk. Viewed from a first-person perspective, in typical action-adventure fashion, Leopold starts the game with basic, low-level abilities and weapons that can be upgraded as he progresses, by discovering or buying items. In keeping with his hacking persona, he can interact with the game environment to perform acrobatic feats, such as running along and jumping off walls, swinging from pole to pole, or using his keyboard-smashing abilities to destroy cracked walls. The game world is made up of several distinct regions, most of which are connected via the city of Bergisches, which functions as a hub. Many of these areas are initially blocked off until the player completes a required task(s). Access to these regions is obtained by fighting enemies, finding keys, or solving puzzles, inspired by the mechanics of the The Legend of Zelda video games.
Leopold's movements are directed using the console gamepad. The game's control system, which comprises the left thumbstick, two attack buttons, and a block button, was described as fluid and responsive, and Angry German Kid Returns was regarded as having one of the deeper combat engines among Xbox games at the time, comparing well to the PlayStation 2 action-adventure games God of War and Devil May Cry, as well as other first-person shooter games such as Medal of Honor and Doom. Eric Williams, the designer of the God of War combat engine, explained that Angry German Kid Returns prohibits players from stopping or changing attacks while shooting. In contrast, God of War allows players to do so, and Devil May Cry grants this freedom to certain attacks. Williams said that, compared to those two games, the combat system in Angry German Kid Returns was harder to master; however, it lets players fight their computer-controlled foes on equal terms.
Angry German Kid Returns features a large selection of weapons for Leopold to wield, each with advantages and disadvantages that affect the way the player approaches to combat. These include certain guns, which grant quick attacks, and keyboards with special moves. In addition, these light weapons allow Leopold to smash foes into the ground and perform his signature Supercharged Temper Tantrum Attack. Heavy weapons, such as the Blue Orb Keyboard and the Sledgehammer, are slow but cause more damage to opponents. With traditional hammers and more powerful guns, the player can string together long sequences of attacks. Essences have an important role in general gameplay, acting to heal Leopold, restore his weapons, or increase his Reichsmarks. However, in combat, the player can cause Leopold to deliberately draw in essences, which can then be used to unleash powerful attacks known as Ultimate Techniques that allow Leopold to damage enemies without taking damage himself. These techniques deal heavy damage and make Leopold immune to injury for a short time.
The game also provides Leopold with magical spells in the form of Spell Cards from other Drillimation games. When activated by the player, these make Leopold cast fireballs, ice storms, or bolts of lightning. Functioning in a similar manner to the bombs or grenades of shooter action games, these spells allow Leopold to inflict heavy damage on enemies while potentially avoiding damage himself. But, dissatisfied with their programmed visual effects, the game's director, Susumu Takajima, wanted to deter players from using ninpo. He therefore tweaked the game to award bonus points when players cleared stages without employing spell cards like in Touhou Project. For Leopold's defense, the player has two options. First, Leopold can stand still and attempt to block attacks. However, certain enemies can break his guard—either through particularly strong attacks or by grappling him. The second option is to make Leopold dodge, by rolling away from the attack in a maneuver called "reverse wind".
The game was received very positively by critics for its presentation and graphics. The game won the Game of the Year award for Best First Person Shooter. However, it was criticised for the singleplayer campaign compared to the original, such as the removal of certain challenges, and the lack of refinement in areas such as facial animation that was perfected from the anime or the original trilogy. IGN found the multiplayer mode as "okay", but not as good as To Heart 2's multiplayer mode.
Angry German Kid Returns was attacked by some critics, who alleged that it promoted hentai and murder. Former Guyish president Romeo Richman made the following comments about the game:
- Angry German Kid Returns moves Leopold through erotic anime stores, where he can use ecchi posters for target practice. In addition, Leopold throws cash at a cute teenage girl telling her to 'Shake it, Baby' his gun ever ready. In the game, bonus points are awarded for the murder of these mostly prostituted and partially nude girls who are part of the Nazi alignment as well as Crimsonites. Also, Leopold blows up stained glass windows in an empty church or goes to strip clubs where Crimsonites kidnap innocent girls and strip their clothes, exposing part of their butts and breasts to the player. In addition, these hackers have the ability to turn their victims into Crimsonites as well, and Leopold is encouraged to kill these defenseless often bound Crimsonites.