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Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, the first next-generation addition to the bestselling PlayStation series, delivers the same mix of intuitive gameplay and elaborate adventure that fans have come to expect, with many enhancements and all-new environments and missions. Neo Cortex is back, and he means to rid himself of Crash once and for all. To energise his most diabolical creation to date, Cortex channels the power of the Elementals, a group of renegade masks with the destructive power of Air, Earth, Water and Fire. To stop the Elementals and Cortex's new weapon, Crash or Coco (a fully playable character for the first time) will face five game hubs, 25 dynamic levels and five unique bosses, as well as the appearance of a new character that will rock the Crash world.
You can complete specific levels of the game to play as Crash's fiery sister. Coco will have a wide variety of moves and animations tailored to fit her personality. New free-roam sections will be implemented within certain levels of the game. These sections feature puzzles and hidden areas never before seen in a Crash game. New bosses and mini-bosses offer up a Noah's Ark-sized list of new creatures. The game also has an all-new graphics engine that brings vivid life to environment and characters as never before. What's more, the terrible loading times that blighted the PS2 version have thankfully been fixed here.
Crash Bandicoot, the famous marsupial video-game icon, comes spinning into yet another solid action platform game in Crash Bandicoot: the Wrath of Cortex. This is the first true platform game for the Xbox, and is suitable for cartoon-action loving fans of all ages.
Evil is at an all-time decline, so Crash's arch-nemesis Dr Neo Cortex is designing the ultimate weapon: Crunch, the extra-evil-bio-engineered-super-bandicoot. However, in order to complete Crunch, the good doctor needs more power... the kind of power that only evil, renegade voodoo masks can provide. Enter the Elementals.
Set free by the evil voodoo mask Uka-Uka, the Elementals control various aspects of the environment. They are so powerful and so dangerous that they almost destroyed the earth once, and were sealed in special crystals to protect the earth from certain doom. Uka-Uka believes that by harnessing the power of these evil masks, Dr Cortex will have all the power he needs to complete Crunch and finally finish off Crash.
So once again Crash returns to his crystal-collecting, box-bashing, bad guy-spinning ways. Can he stop the masks? Will he defeat Crunch? Only time, and your weary game-playing hands, will tell.
The Wrath of Cortex is the hardest game in the series' history. There are 30 levels, seven different vehicles for Crash to use, bonus levels and a time trial mode. Also, as you progress throughout the game, you fight five bosses and for each boss you defeat, you unlock a new move (double jump, bazooka, tiptoe, Crash dash and death tornado). And in what is probably the coolest feature, you get to play as Crash's sister Coco on some levels.
Okay, so the game is good, but is it perfect? Well, the graphics are solid, but not much of an improvement over the PS2 version--it definitely doesn't take full advantage of the Xbox's hardware. Also, the long load times for the levels can be annoying. Lastly, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex was not developed by Naughty Dog, the company that started the series. The game, while faithfully following the traditional feel of the series, misses some of the polished quirkiness that Naughty Dog was known for.The Wrath of Cortex is a great game for all ages, and will give you 40-plus hours of gameplay. --Bryan Karsh Amazon.com
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