Platform: Available on all platforms, tested on the
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
In the 1700 1800s Australia was home to
thousands of British thieves and mutinous soldiers who worked on the continent in
a penal colony. Before that it was home
to the bandicoot, any of about 20 species
of terrestrial marsupialomnivores in the order Peramelemorphia.
Crash, perhaps the most famous of all
bandicoots, returns to form in the new Crash Of The Titans where he continues to excise English speaking scoundrels from
his native land.
Originally developed as a mascot for the
Playstation, over the past decade Crash has made the transition successfully to
multiple platforms and now Crash Of The
Titans debuts on the Wii console.
The cast of bandicoots includes Crash (who
doesnt speak, he just makes little noises), Crunch, and Coco
(Crashs sister). Also fighting on the heros side is Aku-Aku, ever present in
the series as a tribal mask who protects Crash against damage, and in this title
Aku-Aku provides the most novel game play twists (more on that later).
What happens in the story? While Crash and crew are chilling at home recycling butter, that Evil Dr. Neo Cortex returns to wreak havoc, kidnapping Crashs sister Coco in his insane quest to gather all the mojo and conquer the planet. Crash has to save his sister and thwart Neo Cortexs plans of world domination.
The art is stylish. The games introduction is a silhouette animation with a decidedly 60s feel to the design and a hybrid Hawaiian / tribal theme. The monsters are all toothy beasts with rippling muscles and deadly claws. The assortment of enemies is outstanding, with each nasty species having special attacks unique to the environments they are found in. My favorite was the half scorpion half gorilla, a combination designed for maximum ass kick.
Hijacking these horrid beasties is the twist,
making the fighting aspect robust. When you are wailing on these cats they have
a stun meter that goes up. Once its filled, the beast is stunned and you can
jack the brute by jumping on his back and controlling his mind with the Aku-Aku
Once you are in control, you can use the
monster to fight enemies or take advantage of his special abilities to destroy
environmental obstacles as you navigate the terrain. Many times you will have to hijack something
big to break down a certain type of wall, or else you will need to utilize
their attack to overcome an even bigger beast.
Toward the middle, Neo Cortex goes down for
the count and his cyborg niece, Nina Cortex, takes over the story of planetary
subjugation. Nina is a straight up Emo, with that spikey hair, black shirt and
red necktie get up. There are some other standout characters too, entertaining
mostly thanks to the competent voice acting. Tough-guy Tiny Tiger does a pretty
good Mike Tyson impression, delivering a few laughs. Crunch Bandicoot, Crashs
homie, is a Mr. T sound alike, and though he doesnt appear in the game often,
when he does its pretty funny.
If anyone plays this game, I recommend that
in the starting screens you walk right over to Crunch and kick and punch him
for a few minutes, he has some hilarious ad-libs. Throw in a grip of burp jokes and slapstick,
and its obvious this game is mainly about having some laughs.The platforming aspect is mildly challenging
during the first half, more so the second half of the game. What breaks up the
monotony is the fact that you can use the Aku-Aku mask as a skateboard,
throwing down the mask and using it to hop around and over stuff, you can even
There are several chapters that rely on this functionality
to traverse snake runs through minefields, though you can use the skate feature
pretty much any where. I really liked this and think more games could benefit
form this simple feature, I skated all over the game just for kicks. There were
a bunch of ditches built into the game and even a few bowls. The feature was
not on some Tony Hawk status, but it was fresh to kickflip over bombs and ollie
jerks en route to giving monsters the boot party.
Overall, the game is a a solid platform romp.
The cut scenes are funky, the landscapes are interesting, the soundtrack is
playful, and the characters are rendered cleanly. The Wii version supports
widescreen and 480p. There is some slight glitchyness between scenes, but it
does not impact the game play. The boss battles are clever, but not so
difficult that youll be bogged down all day trying to get past any of them.
Crash Of The Titans is a fresh mix of platformer and brawler, slightly
heavier on the combat side. I had fun playing through the game, and the cherry
on top is at the end you get to whoop on an Emo. This game is a clever update
to the Crash franchise, and well worth the time youll spend beating it.
Gentle Jones is online right now at www.gentlejones.com