few months ago Nintendo played their trump card. A certain plumber
was re-employed to fix that leaking pipe which could easily have
burst due to the constant pressure from the Sony 32-bit console. A
touch of welding, a few new washers, a little flux to help with the
fusion and... WHAM! Super Mario was back on the scene with a
vengeance. A little older, a lot wiser and in total 3D.
Step forward Fox Interactive and Argonaut Software with their all
new platform game Croc. He's cute, he jumps, he swims, he climbs, he
swings and best of all he is also in total 3D. So can he reach the
highest platform of will it be handbags and shoes for the little
green crocodile? Let's put him to the test.
It all started one morning in the third month of the year Soupspoon
(smokin'?). The King of the Gobbos discovered a small basket on the
riverbank in which a baby crocodile lay. Deciding that he was not
part of the Annual Midget Crocodile Basket Race, as first thought,
he took Croc back to his village and there he instructed the Gobbos
to raise the reptile as one of their own.
This was all fine until during one fantastic growth spurt Croc grew
as tall as three Gobbos. He also became very accident prone,
smashing into buildings and tripping over the little furry peoples
homes. A simple game with his friends would lead to multiple
contusions and internal bleeding. It was time for Croc to leave.
As Croc was gathering his belongings the valley was suddenly
swarming with Dantinis, the Gobbos arch enemies, led by their king
Baron Dante. King Rufus summoned Beany the Bird to whisk Croc away
to safety. From afar Beany and Croc hatched their plot to rescue the
imprisoned King Rufus and his subjects from the evil Barons grasp
and so the adventure begins.
Previous platform games such as Crash and Pandemonium restricted the
player to a predetermined track, not allowing you to venture from
the rails, although occasionally your route would branch into
Croc is a platform game set in a fully three dimensional world that
allows you to go anywhere within the boundaries of each level. The
game contains over 40 levels which are divided into small themed
groups. There are five different worlds to explore including
volcanoes, ice glaciers and underwater caves, while eight bosses
must be overcome to advance onto the next stage.
is very nice to look at, very nice indeed. The lime green polygon
crocodile will be an instant hit with the kids. Large blinking eyes,
ever wagging tail, flared nostrils, two baby teeth and a Lara Croft
backpack. The Gobbos are equally as cute making the task of rescuing
them all the more worthwhile.
The enemies range from the small beady eyed Dantinis to giant
rattlesnakes that occasionally raise their heads out from a well.
Smaller rattlers act more like worms as they crawl just below the
earths surface before popping their heads above ground like a
periscope to check all around. Each has been well animated and
combined they provide remarkable visual experience.
The scenery is equally impressive to look at. Bright, colorful and
interactive. There is very little evidence of polygon clipping and
only seemed to occur when you stand Croc next to a solid wall and
flip him around 180 degrees. Even then, this was minimal.
The camera tracks Croc from above and behind while the shoulder
buttons are used to toggle through the three available heights with
each proving useful at different stages of the game. Should the
viewing angle ever stray off-centre then a quick hop/flip action
will return the camera to a central position.
The stunning graphics have obviously taken a fair chunk out of the
Playstation's memory bank resulting in each level being divided into
small playing areas. A door opens, a couple of puzzles, half a dozen
jumps, then its through the exit door for the inevitable wait while
the next section loads. This does slow down the pace of the game but
no more that it did with Resident Evil.
are more than two hours of original music contained within the game
in which a compression technique was used to cram it all in. The
instruments are all played by real musicians rather than being
synthesized and it's all presented in Dolby Surround for your
enjoyment. It is cheerful enough although it occasionally drones on
like a Sim City soundtrack.
Croc's cute looks are matched by a voice that Tex Avery would have
been proud of. A swish of his tail will destroy the toughest of
baddies with each thrust accompanied by a jubilant cry of 'Ka-boom,
Ka-splat, Ka-pow'. All very jolly.
gameplay follows the traditional 'Sonic, Mario' style. White
Crystals are collected throughout each level. If you get over 100
then you will earn an extra life. There are also 5 different colored
crystals to collect which will unlock a bonus area at the end of
Croc's cuddly friends, the Gobbos, have been scattered across the
lands by Baron Dante and you can find them hidden in crates, locked
in cages or simply standing on a hazardous platform. There are six
of them hidden in each level and when Croc touches them they will be
magically reduced in size and then packed into his backpack. If you
find every Gobbo and then defeat the theme worlds guardian, access
is granted to a secret level. There are 8 secret levels to unveil
and each contains a magical Jigsaw Piece. If all the pieces are
collected then a mysterious fifth island will be unlocked.
Throughout the game you will come across many interactive elements.
Boxes may be used to climb up to higher levels or simply smashed to
reveal a cache of crystals. Occasionally you will come across a
Gobbo who is trapped inside a locked cage. Croc must discover the
whereabouts of the silver key to release his furry friend. Grabbing
hold of the string from a floating balloon will carry you over
hazardous areas or swinging hand over hand on the monkey bars allows
you cross bottomless pits and pools of bubbling lava. There are also
switches that activate moving platforms, giant jellies to bounce up
to high areas and torches to brighten up darkened levels. Although
you cannot scale the surrounding walls, certain levels do contain
climbable sections where ridges are notched into the wall allowing
Croc to reach another level. What platform game would be complete
without the extra life icon which takes the form of a ruby red
breaks down the boundaries with superb visuals as the graphics
almost reach the standard of Super Mario 64. The gameplay is
simplicity in it's purest form and the puzzles will be solved in a
matter of seconds but Croc has probably been moulded to suit the
platform novice or the younger player. Nothing wrong with that as
the PSX market is steadily expanding to cover all age groups and
Its a 'must buy' for the kids and a probable purchase for those who
don't like their games to be too taxing on the mind. Great fun and
pleasing on the eyes.
Finally the platform genre receives the full 3D treatment with an
excellent effort from the Argonaut development team. The graphics
are so silky smooth and the gameplay sticks with the proven formula
which should guarantee that Croc is a smash hit. The game is Analog
compatible with the right stick used to adjust the camera angle, but
the left stick seems a little over sensitive for controlling the
direction of the character and will often result in you falling from
the ledges and platforms.