Crash Bandicoot - The Wrath of Cortex
Review of Crash Bandicoot - The Wrath of Cortex
The game begins with a wealth of video clips to set the background story for Crash’s latest adventure. Dr. Cortex is of course back in the thick of things and has weaved yet another devious plan to get Crash. These are extensive videos that take up over 10 minutes to tell the story. Fortunately, you can bypass them with the start button to get right to the action. I do however recommend that you just watch them once, to see the attention to detail that went into them and to get the low down. They really set the stage for the incredible graphics that you’ll see throughout the game. What’s amazing is it is all crammed onto a CD, rather than on a DVD. With all the levels and scenes, it’s amazing it was all done on a CD.
If there is one thing to complain about, it’s the load time. There’s a nice graphic of crash falling and falling and the effects of updraft on his arms and such, but it can be a little annoying especially if you went into the wrong adventure and need to go back—loading, back, loading, new level, loading… You get the picture.
Once the loading is done, the graphics are simply stunning. The backgrounds are all polygon rendered and very flashy with a bright palette. Camera angles don’t change too often, but do seem to move along nicely with Crash. Sometimes it faces Crash, sometimes behind, etc. When it follows Crash forward or backwards, the camera seems to move as if on rails keeping a relative distance to Crash. Crash is rendered extremely well. He’s somewhat of an angled creature to begin with, but his movements are fluid and there seems to be very little in the way of noticeable polygons edging or breaks in the rendering. All items and characters you interact with are presented extremely well. Crash also dies in creative ways depending on where you are and the situation at hand. For example in the wintry level, he turns into a “Crash-sicle” if you fall into the icy water. In another level, if you crash into a wizard, he turns Crash into a bat. In the many different crafts that Crash uses in various levels, there is one which is similar to those hamster balls that Crash has to operate without crashing. What is really amazing is you can see Crash through the clear panels walking and moving the ball. It’s this kind of attention to visual detail that you get throughout the game. There is a HUD that auto-hides itself but bounces up when a new life is added, etc. You can always quickly view the status with a press of a button, so it is nice to keep it hidden.
If you’re at all familiar with Crash, you know that there are many items along the way to either get or avoid. The crates are well marked and you know right away what to do. It does help to read the manual to find out what the best option is. Of course, you collect the Wumpa Fruit throughout the game. Each 100 collected gets Crash another life. You will learn a few tricks to get more fruit, such as pulling what is the equivalent of a belly flop to crack open the steel crates. It’s also important to build up lives in easier levels. There are some that will take many, many lives to get through. The key to those is to hit the checkpoints that start you further and further along the game if Crash gets killed. There’s one that you are constantly trying to outrun a dragon and blindly don’t know what’s in front, so avoiding the pits is especially difficult as well as avoiding the dragon. Each level has a crystal to capture. Capture all five and it opens up a new set of five levels to navigate through. Saving the game, is unfortunately not very easy. You can’t just save a game at any point by pressing start or select. You have to exit the level, then exit out of the set of five levels to the main area (you start there, so it’s easy) and save at the main save/load console. I recommend doing this when you’ve built up enough lives before venturing into the harder levels. The feedback on the controllers is also excellent. You feel the bump as Crash bounces, whirls or hits a wall. The controls are natural to use regardless of which type of craft he’s in or walking. Overall, the navigation is smooth and easy.
Overall, the sound effects are tremendous and realistic. There’s a nice wood-splintering sound as Crash trashes a crate. Where realism with sound effects is important, there are realistic sounds. There are some arcade noises for the fruit and new lives, etc. that are functional and are different than any other sounds, so they remain unique. The stereo sound for the background music is excellent and adds to the overall professional feel of this game.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Crash Bandicoot - The Wrath of Cortex' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Tom Downey © Absolute PlayStation
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