Review By: Brittany Vincent
|# Of Players:||1-2|
|Accessories:||In-game Dolby Digital|
As I'm sure many can relate, Crash Bandicoot was one of the staples of my childhood gaming career. After making the leap to the PS1 those many years ago, the plucky mascot was quite the endearing fellow with his entertaining platformers, wacky humor, and memorable supporting cast. However, that was quite some time ago, and now Crash's appeal is dwindling. A few horrendously bad mascot racers and uninspired platformers later and Crash Bandicoot is left as only a shadow of his former self. This could quickly turn around, though, provided subsequent releases contain the same amount of charm and humor that the latest in the series, Crash Bandicoot: Mind Over Mutant, is packed with. As it is a breath of fresh air to the genre, it is not without its share of problems. However, this could be the most solid entry in the franchise since its original inception.
What we have presented in terms of story is a simple but comical one. The Bandicoots Crash and Coco and cyborg pal Crunch are enjoying a quiet life on Wumpa Island until Dr. Cortex's latest nefarious invention wreaks havoc upon all inhabitants of the island. The "NV," disgused as a cell phone that users wear on their head, is actually a mind control device that turns its wearers into bloodthirsty, crazed beasts that want nothing more than to destroy. As usual, Crash must get to the bottom of this fiasco so no more harm is caused to his friends and the other creatures living on Wumpa Island. As soon as this story is established, it's clear that this game is a lighthearted romp through the platforming days of yore. Crash must put all his old (and new) skills to use, jumping, spinning, collecting items, and defeating enemies along the way to complete the game.
Mind Over Mutant is split up into "missions" that gamers must tackle in order to reach the next area. However, instead of a level select screen or even a level select portal as featured in Warped, Crash must physically travel to each location. This leads to a lot of wasted time spent backtracking through areas you've already passed through once or twice already, getting lost, and venturing to the wrong area more than just a few times, since there is no real map. The game will give you an indication of where your next objective lies, but unless the game specifically mentions a shortcut to get there, or a cutscene takes over, it's completely your responsibility to make it there. This gets very tedious, and will account for much of the playtime accumulated.
Each objective equates to becoming a "defeat him/her", "discover __" or "collect __", which are quite fun and simple to complete, but that's the extent of the gameplay. Younger gamers won't find much fault with this, but for veteran Crash players, this might prove to be a hindrance to fully enjoying the game. However, it's packed with so much charm that it's hard to get annoyed or bored. Character animations are amusing, and cut scenes are laugh out loud hilarious. Villains are given that over-the-top bad guy personality that caters to both young and old gamers, and it's hard not to crack a smile when navigating each mission. This leads to greater satisfaction upon saving Coco, or gathering X amount of parts to build Y.
Crash is now a more "xtreme" version of himself, sporting tribal tattoos that wouldn't look out of place on a preppy frat boy, as well as an obvious mohawk that is (I suppose) an attempt to appeal to the youth of today. It's clear that he's been through a metamorphosis. The game's controls have, as well.
Posted: 2009-02-02 17:45:25 PST