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It's A Hat-Trick For The Bandicoot,
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This review is from: Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (Video Game)
"Hat-trick" is a word most commonly heard in football, but did you know it actually originated from the sport of Cricket? It's when a bowler bowls three balls in a row and gets wickets from all of them. Moving on a little bit, in 1998 Crash Bandicoot completed his hat-trick of top-quality platform games with the release of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped on the PSone.
Picking up where Crash Bandicoot 2 left off (if you played and got 100% completion from that game) Dr.Cortex's space station crash lands into a temple on a small island. The destruction leads to the freedom of an evil witch doctor mask called Uka Uka. It seems Dr.Cortex wasn't the evil big cheese afterall. Uka Uka is ticked off at the fact that Cortex lost all the crystals in the previous game; but with the help of a time-twister machine and its creator, Dr.N.Tropy, the villains plan to go to various points in time and steal the crystals from their original places.
Meanwhile the good witch doctor mask, Aku Aku, senses Uka Uka's escape from afar, and warns Crash and his sister Coco about the danger he brings to the world. Together they must use the time-twister machine to grab the crystals before the villlains do.
The game layout is very similar to CB2. There are 25 levels, with five in each warp area. You have to collect a crystal from each level and then complete a boss fight before you can move onto the next warp area. The gameplay style still involves running away from and into the screen, as well as running from side to side; although here in CB3 some of those styles are combined together to make for more exciting levels; especially in the Prehistoric levels where all three styles (away from, into, and side) are used.
The crystals, gems, boxes and level format initially make CB3 seem like nothing more than CB2 with a big 3 painted over the 2. But trust me, there are differences and features that make this game a worthwhile classic purchase. First, and most obvious, CB3 has a time travel theme. The levels you play through take place in numerous and famous periods of time, which include (but are not restricted to) the Prehistoric dinosaur age, ancient Egypt, and my personal favourite, Medieval England. Time travel is a great idea. It just sends your imagination running wild, especially if you're a hyper active kid.
100% completion still needs to be gained by collecting all the crystals and gems; but now there is one other thing you need to grab in order to achieve that goal. Time Relics. When you complete a level by collecting its crystal, you'll find a clock when you enter that level again. This activates "Time Trial" mode where you have to race to the end of the stage as fast as you can. If you're quick enough you'll earn a relic, which comes in sapphire, gold or platinum, depending on how fast you were. This is another great idea because it gives you a reason to play the levels through multiple times, as well as adding extra mileage to the game.
Crash is not the only orange marsupial you get to play as in CB3. For the first time ever in the Crash Bandicoot series you get to play as Crash's sister, Coco, who stars in her very own levels of mayhem; the highlights of which are the Pirate themed levels where she rides the waves on a jet-ski. But this doesn't mean Crash gets to miss out on all this vehicle business. He himself gets to make like a biker dude, and ride a motorbike in races through the desert. Yet another high point of a brilliant game.
The time-travel theme, the relics, and Coco's levels combine beautifully with the already established series features (breaking boxes, collecting gems, etc.) to make this a brilliant game; and the quality is further heightened thanks to the game's bosses, who are both funny and popular in equal measure, and the new abilities that can be obtained for Crash by defeating those bosses.
There's nothing really bad to say about this game. One minor fault I could point out is that despite the nice varity of levels, it could've perhaps done with a couple more themes to make it even more varied, like the Viking era, or the American wild west. Also the game is a little more challenging than CB2, but it's still fairly easy and can be polished off by gaming veterans in about three or four sittings.
But I'm just being picky. Crash Bandicoot 3 is without doubt Crash's finest hour. If you're a PSone fan you should buy a copy of this game and relish it for all it's worth. Yes, there was a decent racer in the form of Crash Team Racing, but this was the last truely great Crash Bandicoot platformer ever released. OK, you've read my review. Now go and buy the game!