STAFF REVIEW of Crash: Twinsanity (Xbox)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004.
by KmanX

Crash:  Twinsanity Box art I think the defining moment with Crash Twinsanity occurred within the first five minutes of the game when a skunk (yes a skunk) kindly informed me that after ten years of walking back and forth, back and forth, he wasnt going to stand for it anymore. It was time for a change. That smart-mouthed skunk was right, after 10 years (that cant be right because that makes me feel so old!) it was time for a change. But how do you change a platform game? Well I know that mouthy skunk would have said change the story but thats a given.

While the story doesnt really change from the other Crash plot lines, there is a nice little twist. In this latest installment Crash Bandicoot and Dr. Neo Cortex are forced to work together as an evil force threatening their island home. Working together though is a relative term. Crash doesnt seem to mind too much as he gets to use and abuse the good Dr. in a variety of ways.

This is demonstrated early on as Crash and Dr. Cortex are wrestling over a crystal. Its that cartoon kind of wrestling were two peeps roll around on the ground in circles exchanging punches. Whats really cool about this is you start (albeit unknowingly) at the top of the hill. You and the good Dr. fight (roll) down the hill. Push up on the control stick you travel at eye popping (literally because those crates of nitro are scattered everywhere) speeds or you can take the easy way out and hold back to slow you roll. There are several different paths you can take to get to the end or at least what you think is the end

The different paths are pretty consistent on the other levels as well. One of the main selling points with this game is you can move freely through 3D environments. This is true to a certain extent. This free roaming allows you to take choose how you can get to the end of a level or at least to the save beacon. Sort of. This is after all a platform game so you do have a certain path you must travel. To what extent though really depends on the level. The more you explore though the better the chance you will have to find the gems hidden in the levels. These gems earn you the usual unlockables like character art. The gems are also required for those obsessive compulsive peeps who have to finish the game with a 100% completion. Some of the hidden gems are easier to find than others but that just adds to the fun game play.

There isnt much to the game play since it is a platformer but the challenge of trying to get these hidden gems adds to the fun factor. Also adding to the fun are the new moves you will learn, and they usually involve abusing Dr. C as mentioned earlier. At varying times you can use the Dr. as a hammer to smash crates and smash foes. You can also spin him around to throw a switch. The new additions give the game play a little shot of excitement with a touch of fun.

I think the character humor also adds some fun to the sound with the comments made by Dr. Cortex. He has comments about everything, which is good considering he is really the only one who talks. Other characters do offer tidbits here and there but nothing memorable or worth noting -- with of course the exception being the sassy skunk that I mentioned earlier. Aside from the odd comment from any character, there really isnt much to the soundtrack. Some cheesy tunes play throughout but they dont really stand out. Its that typical background music that you know is there but you dont really pay attention to it. I did pay enough attention to notice that it does change level to level and will also change at key points in a level.

What does garner a lot of attention in this game are the visuals. The graphics are cool and very polished. I think they have to be because of how 3D most of the levels really are. I first noticed the depth with the brawling level I mentioned earlier but I really took notice and appreciated it on the ice level later on. After jumping my way up for what seemed to be an eternity I paused for a min and just looked around. It was cool to say stuff still moving way down below to where I had started. Even I as I climbed the frame rate was good and consistent. I have yet to experience any hiccups or slowdowns and everything was very smooth, almost as smooth as the cut scenes. These cut scenes werent just smooth, they were slick they looked so good. They featured animation worthy of a Hollywood movie. My only complaint is they are too short but they did looked great.

The cut scenes arent the only thing short in the game. The length isnt what I would have hoped for. I seemed to plough through this in no time. Granted I didnt find ALL the crystals but I did find my share. I was hoping it would last longer because I was having fun with this one as not only is it the best looking Crash Bandicoot title to date but I also thought it was the most fun, although I dont count Crash Nitro Kart in that group.

As for suggestions, just continue to keep the game fresh if there are going to be future installments as I suspect there would be given the fan base Crash seems to have.

Overall: 7.4 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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