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on 27 September 2010
December 1997. I remember that time fairly well. I was gearing up for what would be the last ever Christmas school play I would ever participate in. I always found the plays to be embarrassing, but unfortunately the teachers insisted on saving the most embarrassing part of my childhood for the last play...having me and the rest of the kids in my year singing the Spice Girls song "Who Do You Think You Are?" I appreciate the Spice Girls' music today, but back then...boy! I just wanted to get out of that school hall quickly. Anyway in that same month of that same year, Naughty Dog released the sequel to their platform creation Crash Bandicoot on the PSone, entitled "Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back." There was certainly nothing embarrassing about it. It was very, very good, and because of it Crash took one giant step towards becoming a platform icon.

In this second Crash outing -picking up just after the final fight from Crash Bandicoot- Dr.Neo Cortex, platforming's favourite evil bearded turd, crashes into a dark cavern and discovers a crystal, after which his match goes out and he does a passable Homer Simpson impression. One year later and Cortex has discovered a destructive force in outer space that threatens to destroy the Earth. Insisting that he's a changed dwarf, he enlists the help of our orange furry hero to collect 25 crystals (in addition to the one he picked up a year earlier) in order to contain this threat. But is Dr.Cortex's motive for real? Has this one-time evil-doer really turned over a new leaf and embraced a life kindness, charity, and optionally boring himself to death through watching endless Jennifer Aniston romcoms? I'm sure you've made up your mind already. I don't know why I even bothered asking.

CB2 was an improvement over CB1 in several departments. First, and probably the most obvious, the game structure is more flexible than a yoga teacher. In CB1 you had to play through the same levels in the same order; NO exceptions; much like platformers on consoles older than the PSone, like the Master System, the Mega Drive and the SNES. Not a particularly big deal for me since I enjoyed every level in that game, but it may have annoyed those who liked certain levels but had to play through two or three other ones before they could get to it. But in CB2 things are different. You're in a warp room with access to five different levels, which you can take on in any order you see fit. Once you've collected the crystals you face off against an end-of-warp-room boss, and spin a hundred shades of poo out of them before you reach five more levels which can again be "de-crystaled" in any order. The flexible game structure is convenient. If you dislike playing a certain level, you can put it off for a while and tackle the other areas; or if you're having a tough time in one place (not likely) you can simply come back to it later.

The save system was given a much needed tidy up and dusting down, probably by Naughty Dog's finest butler. In the first game saving could only be done in one of two ways. 1) Finding three tokens in a level in order to access a bonus area and then completing that area. Or 2) Completing a level without dying AND breaking all the boxes in that level in order to grab a gem. This was something of a nuisance, especially as the later levels in CB1 were tricky and required really careful timing with jumps and enemy attacks. You may have found yourself needing a rest from video games for the night and so you switched off the console; but when you switched the console back on the next day there was a good chance you had to replay the last level you played on the day before. Not just that, but possibly the level before that one as well. Sounds annoying, doesn't it? But in the second game the save system went from complex to simple. The save area is in the warp room. After collecting a crystal and completing a level you can then save your game in the warp room before moving onto the next level. This review has got some pretty long paragraphs, huh? I hope you're not trying to read them all in one breath!

To the casual gamer it would seem rather pointless to talk about the graphics in a video game from the 90's. However anyone with a self-proclaimed mild case of OCD (like me!) will be pleased to know that the graphics here are better than the first game. The colours used in the designs of the characters and levels' scenery are not overly saturated like before (it was a little distracting in CB1 in my view); and while the scenery maintains a cartoony look, it's more detailed. The reflections on the ice in the snow levels in particular are still fairly impressive today. There are a few more variations in Crash's death scenes as well, some of which will put a smirk on even the Grim Reaper's boney face. My personal favourite? When Crash gets blown up by a Nitro crate he turns into an angel and floats up to the sky while playing the didgeridoo. The angel thing looks like a homage to Alex Kidd if you ask me.

Other improvements include more variation in the level's themes. You have traditional jungle levels, snowy arctic levels, dark dank sewer levels and many more. There's the entertaining company of several characters who communicate with Crash via a warp room hologram, like his computer loving sister, Coco; all of whom have some decent acting provided to their voices. There are sliding and crawling abilities for the bandicoot to play around with; and there are numerous secrets hidden throughout the game which lead to special levels and more gems...?...What are they? Hey, that's for me to know and you to find out!

To get 100% completion of this game you still have to collect gems and you still have to do that by breaking every single box in the level, except for the colour gems which are hidden away in certain areas. But the gems here are easier to obtain. You don't have to get through the level without dying. Any boxes you break before you hit a checkpoint remain broken, meaning that you only have to worry about the boxes after the checkpoint. But this isn't necessarily a good thing, and this leads me onto CB2's one and only flaw.

Due to the improved save system and the game's leniency regarding gem collecting as mentioned above, CB2 is easier to complete than CB1. The save system is convenient and should have been in the first game. However the gem collecting thing combined with the general lack of challenge from the boss fights made this second Crash game a little too easy. Gaming veterans will be able to polish off this game completely in around two sittings. Possibly even just the one. Even relatively inexperienced gamers may find themselves covering a lot of percentage ground after just a couple hours of play.

But don't let the lack of challenge put you off experiencing a classic like Crash Bandicoot 2. The bright level scenery, likeable voice acting, and generally enjoyable gameplay all make this a lovely PSone platform game for everyone to enjoy. If you've yet to experience the delights of CB2, then you really need to buy a second hand PSone console and a copy of this game and do so. It's great. Simple as that...What?...The secrets again?! Alright, ONE freebie and that's it! Get through the whole of Level 1 "Turtle Woods" without breaking a box and you'll earn yourself a blue gem. There you go, now scram!
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on 29 November 2006
i have played on all of the Crash games for PS1 and this was the very first one i played and i loved it.

the music fits well with a very funny energetic central playing character, Crash, and i believe is great fun for all ages.

the bandicoot must master his way through 25 levels of different difficults (growing in difficulty as progresses) and to many people will be seen as exceptionally easy. but thats only if you play it day in day out.

it is a challenging game when first starting and the spinning, boy slamming, crawling, jumping, slide tackling powers of Crash master the better powers of the first game - but not the third

favourite levels included:

- hang eight with the big plant creatures

- the 'Tiny' boss level

- unbearable - you will know why when doing it

its a great game and a classic for anyone of any age

its fast, energetic and different

less challenging than the first but there are even more gems and crystals to collect which keeps audiences playing to they get everything

controls are easy to use allowing for less frustration

better than the first and probably equal to the third but this is harder than that one

if you dont buy then its definetly worth playing
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on 17 December 2011
Crash Bandicoot 2 is an awesome game , just like crash 1, 3 and team racing! all these games should be in every ones ps1 collection in my opinion.
the game is really fun, jumping around collecting apples, crystals, gems, jumping onto objects, running away from a boulder and using a polar bear(i like the music on that level).
the save system is great unlike crash 1. it is easier than crash 1 if you just want to collect the crystals but some of the gems are hard to get though.
this is my fave crash but i wished it had more levels and i would love it if naughty dog made a new crash and make it like these old games.
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VINE VOICEon 23 July 2000
This game is brilliant. I couldnt stop playing it for ages. The best level has got to be when you ride a polar bear. Its not as good as Crash Bandicoot 3, but its still supurb. If you like Crash Bamdicoot 1 you should definatly get this.
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on 24 May 2009
Before I got this game, I was told that it is the best game in the Crash Bandicoot series. When I got it, I found out that they were right. I have Crash Bandicoot 3, which is also a great game, but I think Crash Bandicoot 2 is slightly better. It is a really fun game and is full of challenges. If you're a fan of platforming games, you should own this one, even if it is old. It is a great game for all ages.
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on 1 November 2008
Crash is one of the icons of the Playstation, as is Mario to the Nintendo or Sonic to the Sega. The first game was great, but a bit rough and ready and was not quite the finished product (with problems such as the dire saving system). This sequel has ironed out those creases and set the tone for the Crash Bandicoot franchise. Whereas Crash Bandicoot 1 was more of a traditional platformer, following a quite strict linear pattern, Cortex Srikes Back is not so restricted because of the new warp room format and more roaming gameplay, and the game is better for that. Also collecting gems has been made a lot easier as it doesn't matter if you lose a life during a level, you can still get the gem. Naughty Dog have returned to sanity and introduced a normal saving system (thank goodness), so no worries about not completing that daft bonus level here (apologies to anyone who hasn't played the original and doesn't know what I'm talking about).
The graphics could be better, and are inferior to Nintendo's wonderfully colourful creations, but the pros of this game considerably outweigh the cons and your Playstation isn't complete without it.
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on 16 February 2009
Well, we all thought the first one was brilliant but this is something else!!! Better graphics, analogue compatible, new characters, new storyline, more things to collect, more environments, it goes on! I first got this game when I was 9, 10, something like that: I was the happiest person in the world!!! That was before I even played it!

Another truly amazing game and again, one of the best ever. It's such a massive step up from the first one that at first, you'll think it's a completely different series! You get to control a rocket pack aswell!

This time, at first, you have to help Cortex but of course, being Cortex, he turns on you at the end! Then you have to fight him again, like in nearly all the Crash games. You build up more of a relationship with the characters because they talk to you a lot more. We are also introduced to Crash's sister, Coco.

Again, the music on this game is fantastic like in the first one. If you thought the first one was good, then buy this, and you'll know the definition of a good game!
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on 7 August 2014
For me Crash Bandicoot is a very important part of my life. This isn't the first game i ever played that was Super Mario Land 2 on the Gameboy and later on the original Rayman and Hercules which were bundled alongside with Crash 2 for my 6th birthday present.

After many months of failing on Rayman and Hercules i decided to replay Crash 2 and after a few weeks of being scared of the boulder levels when i did beat them i instanly fell in love with Crash 2 and i generally believe video games in general and since then have been a main gamer playing nearly all systems including all of the Nintendo and Xbox Consoles.

To make this short thank you Naughty Dog this is still after playing all your games from the PS1 and onwards my absolute favourite, if you want a fun platformer this game has everything great gameplay,Fantastic Music, Creative and fun levels and a fair difficulty spike.
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on 1 November 2013
I love Crash Bandicoot, he is my childhood and nothing beats the early games! I still play this now, I've had it for years and years and it never gets old. Brilliant, brilliant fun, I wish they never changed his games.
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on 22 December 2014
I had played this years back and it seemed so much harder back then as it took me years to to finish. I got it again yesterday and completed it in only a few hours. Despite being almost 20 years old it's barely dated at all when compared to others games from that era and the controls are still very smooth.

I find a lot of games from the Playstation One unplayable these days, the controls are always stiff and the graphics by today's standards incomprehensibly bad - (Tomb Raider is a good example) - But this is in my opinion one of the rare one's that have aged gracefully.
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