Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex
Game Info
Platform(s)
PS2, GC, Xbox
Publisher
Universal Interactive
Developer
Traveler's Tales
Genre
Platformer
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Mild Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Variety of levels
• Good, simple fun
• Colorful and visually nice

The Bad

• Hellish loading times
• Not a lot of new gameplay
• Certain areas are too open to be challenging

 
Grade
C

Once again, everyone's favorite (or hated) Bandicoot is back. To be honest, the story is shallow and inconsequential, but it gives the player a reason why they should work through numerous levels to the end. Anyone who's played any of the Crash Bandicoot games will know what they're getting into from the get-go. This time, though, Naughty Dog isn't the name behind the code. That honor goes to Traveler's Tales, who have been given the task to keep the series going, even if in a predictable way.

Graphically, this game looks good. The bright color palette and nice level design really stand out. Visual effects are used well and everything moves with a certain fluidity. The level design itself is nice, even if a little less than challenging in certain areas. Rather than having to dodge or jump certain on-screen troubles, you can just run around them, due to the overlarge area. This takes a little of the challenge out of certain areas, but doesn't ruin the overall fun of the game. In all, the game isn't pushing the hardware to it's limits, but does manage to look better than previous incarnations. You wouldn't know that Naughty Dog didn't build this one from looking at it.

Gameplay-wise, this is basically what you would expect. On certain levels, there is a change of gameplay, often from simple platforming to riding in carts or jeeps and back. On other levels, you have to use Coco, Crash's sister in what amounts to your basic platforming levels. Because just about every level is built on a linear path, don't expect a lot of exploration. While a number of the level gimmicks are reused from previous games, they are freshened up to a degree. The introduction of the Gyroball levels are nice and the boss fight in which you must use the Gyroball is a great change of pace. Also, once you finish a level, you can go back and try to complete it again by getting a good time or all of the "fruit" on the regular path and in hidden areas.

Probably the biggest glaring problem is the extremely long loading times. And, I'm not talking 10 seconds. I'm talking 25-30 seconds to load a new level. When you first start up the game, you have to wait while the game loads the intro screen and then wait again to load for either a new game or previous save. The waiting really breaks up what could be a fairly enjoyable experience.

What it really breaks down to is that the game feels like it's all been done before. Except for a few things, the game feels like a greatest hits of the Playstation versions in a prettier PS2 package. If you're looking for something fresh and new, this might not be it. If you just want more of the same, check this one out as a rental first.

- - Vane

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