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Game Profile
Vivendi Games
Travellers Tales
GENRE: Platformer
September 17, 2002
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

Crash: Mind over Mutant

Crash: Mind over Mutant

Crash: Mind over Mutant

Crash: Mind over Mutant

More in this Series
 Written by Ilan Mejer  on December 10, 2002

Full Review: Crash on the GameCube, who would have thought?

Crash Bandicoot ? The Wrath of the Cortex is as formulaic as platform games come. From story, to aesthetics, to gameplay, Crash Bandicoot is out-smarted, out-maneuvered, and plain worn out by other entries into the genre on this console. Dr. Neo Cortex, the quintessential bad apple that wants for only world domination and the end of his nemesis, Crash, meddles with the Elemental Powers. The requisite eruption unbalances the entire world, but more importantly, scatters crystals! It is Crash's job to recover these crystals, reign in the Elemental Powers, and generally right all wrongs afflicting the land, stopping Dr. Cortex in the process.

Bored yet? Well, do not let the game's cookie-cutter story stop you from basking in its equally generic presentation and gameplay. In most respects, Crash is identical to the PS2 version that came out a while back. Granted, it has a few minor graphical tweaks, somewhat improved framerates, and greatly improved load times, but it is still an unimpressive port of an unimpressive game. To add insult to injury, it does not contain the significant graphical improvements (or progressive scan support) of the earlier Xbox port of the same game. Crash is a game that was not pushing either the Playstation 2 or the Xbox, and to receive a generally inferior version so late in the game is an insult.

The gameplay is very textbook as far as platform games go. Crash can run, jump, spin, sneak, and slide around a world built in 3D, but locked into generally 2D rails. It follows the example of its Playstation predecessors to a T, adding nothing significant or substantial to the equation. From the fruit collecting, to the crate smashing, even to the occasional vehicle riding, Crash Bandicoot is as basic as they come. Actually, the vehicle riding sequences are significantly more enjoyable than the rest of the game, although they are nothing more than incidental mini-games and are not enough a part of the gameplay. The game is not particularly challenging, though it does provide the basic satisfaction garnered from completing stages and collecting goodies. Ultimately, Crash is a game that probably would appeal to the GameCube's younger audience.

The graphics in Crash Bandicoot are serviceable but in no way push any boundaries for the GCN. The game could have been released at the GameCube's inception and still looked unimpressive when stacked against the system's launch library. The models and architecture lack the roundness you might be used to seeing in current next generation games. Our hero, Crash, looks decent enough in the cutscenes, but in gameplay largely resembles an animated, orange smear. The worlds are fully realized in three dimensions, but most of the stages remain locked on two-dimensional rails, resulting in a very functional camera perspective. However, despite not taxing the GameCube's resources the game suffers from occasional draw in problems and framerate chugs. These issues are all evidence of an inferior port, unfortunately.

Like the graphics, the soundscape for Wrath of the Cortex is predictable. Crash has always featured music of the Congo-beat variety, and it gets the job done for the most part. The composition of the music is decent, and their in-game renditions are catchy enough, though not gripping. The sound effects also succeed in paralleling the on-screen action. The voice acting is? weird and comes off awkward, particularly in the cutscenes. They grate, they annoy, but thankfully, they end soon enough. Overall, the music and sounds reinforce Crash's mediocrity.

Bottom Line
Long story short: Super Mario trounces Crash Bandicoot, with or without a super mushroom, fire flower, or FLUDD device. If you are looking for expansive 3D worlds, clever puzzles, brilliant platforming, and a satisfying system of challenges and rewards in a platform game, chances are you already own Super Mario Sunshine. Crash Bandicoot excels in none of these elements. Only the most dedicated of platform gamers, or those too young to overcome Super Mario Sunshine's higher degree of difficulty could get any measure of satisfaction from Crash Bandicoot ? The Wrath of the Cortex on the GameCube.

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