STAFF REVIEW of Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath Of Cortex (Xbox)

Thursday, May 16, 2002.
by VAN

Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath Of Cortex Box art Crash fans rejoice! After a two game break, that beloved orange bandicoot has finally come back to his roots...the 3-D platform!

Sure, Crash Team Racing, and Crash Bash were fun, but Crash Bandicoot has and always will be a 3-D platformer, and I'm glad he has returned.

I have been a huge fan of the Crash Bandicoot series ever since the first game debuted on the PSX. I have owned (and still own) each game in the series, and I have adored them all. I'll admit that I was a bit nervous when I found out that the newest CB title was not going to be developed by the folks at Naughty Dog, who had done an excellent job in making Crash Bandicoot a household name among gamers and non-gamers alike.

Well, Traveler's Tales has raised the bar with this latest game in the Crash Bandicoot series. If you are a die-hard Crash fan, then this is a must-have title. If you are a dyed-in-the-wool FPS gamer, or an RPG fan, perhaps the whimsical theme to this hop & bop 3-D platformer may not be for you. All other gamers need to give this game a play, and to be perfectly honest, even the FPS and RPG guys should fork over the few bucks it would cost to rent this fantastic game.

Veteran Crash players will have little or no trouble in acclaimating themselves with the control scheme utilized in the game. You start out with your familiar spin and slide attacks, and as you progress, more moves are made available to you.

A welcome addition to this newest incarnation in the CB library is the ability to play as Crashes cousin, Cocoa. While her moves seem a bit on the sluggish side when compared to the lightning fast responsiveness of her co-star, the ability to play as another character is appreciated.

As with all 3-D platformers, there are some issues with depth-perception, and poor camera angles at certain points in the game. I can't count the number of times I killed Crash while hopping from one platform to another, only to fall short by a good 3-4 feet. This was frustrating at first, but with a little patience and practice, I was able to put Crash wherever I wanted him to go. Every time.

Luckily, the game is filled with 1-ups galore. Be grateful for this, since you will undoubtedly spend several of Crashes lives while maneuvering him about each of the 25 new 3-D worlds he has been dropped into.

With multiple-modes, and tons of hidden areas and items to seek out, this game provides the gamer with a tremendous replaybility factor. I still go back and play the original Crash from time to time, so I can assume that this latest game will be played over and over and over again.

While the graphics of Crash will not bring home any trophies in the "breathtaking" category, they are extremely well done. For the first time ever, the maligned marsupial has FUR! Yes, fur. Utilizing custom shaders, the development team has beem able to wrap Crash in a truly fuzzy coat. To see this on screen is truly amazing, and you can bet that this technology will be used more in future games.

Any of you who doubt the graphical power of the Xbox, need only play through level 10 of this game to be quickly put in your place. This is the underwater level that we have always dreamed of, and it is now a reality. Rent this to level 10....and tell me it ain't the most gorgeously rendered underwater environment you have ever seen. Go on...I dare you.

The sound effects, dialogue, and ambient noise used throughout this game are pretty much standard Crash Bandicoot fare. Nothing ground-breaking, but quite enjoyable nonetheless. Clancy Brown has returned once again to provide the voice for Dr. Neo Cortex, and he hasn't lost his touch. All in all, a wonderfully designed game.

Traveler's Tales has done a bang-up job on their first Crash game, and I applaud their hard work.

In future Crash titles, I would like to see new villians. Cortex and his cronies are great, but I think it's about time for Crash to meet up with some new baddies.

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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