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Game Review: Crash Of The Titans

Publisher: Sierra

Platform: Available on all platforms, tested on the

Nintendo Wii

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

In the 1700 – 1800’s 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

doesn’t speak, he just makes little noises), Crunch, and Coco

(Crash’s sister). Also fighting on the hero’s 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 Crash’s sister Coco in his insane quest to gather all the mojo and conquer the planet. Crash has to save his sister and thwart Neo Cortex’s plans of world domination.

 

The art is stylish. The game’s 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 it’s filled, the beast is stunned and you can

“jack” the brute by jumping on his back and controlling his mind with the Aku-Aku

mask.

 

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, Crash’s

homie, is a Mr. T sound alike, and though he doesn’t 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 it’s 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

do kickflips.

 

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 you’ll 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 you’ll spend beating it.

 

Gentle Jones is online right now at www.gentlejones.com

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