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Better than Crash Bandicoot XS, but it couldn't get much worse....
on 19 September 2012
I'll be honest, this game isn't all that bad. In fact, I had fun playing and would still be if not for this blasted headache (too much World of Warcraft). It's dirty great fun considering how underplayed GBA games are in this day and age, but it could've been so much more. Then again, it's Vicarious Visions, so I don't expect a great deal from them.
As far as the story goes, it's a direct sequel to the first game. And I'm not talking about Crash Bandicoot 1, either, this is a whole new miniseries. Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced is the sequel to XS, and XS was the sequel to Wrath of Cortex. And Wrath of Cortex is often known as "Crash Bandicoot 4", because it was Crash's Playstation 2 debut. Anyway, Cortex failed to shrink the world to the size of a wumpa fruit as promised before, and stop Crash Bandicoot. So now Uka Uka (why is he the main antagonist?!) gains help of the loyal and reliable N. Tropy with assistance from N. Trance. N. Tropy's expertise lie in time and space, while N. Trance deals in hypnotism.
The two work together to hypnotize Crush Bandicoot, Coco Bandicoot and even Fake Crash and make them work for Uka Uka. And Crash must work with Aku Aku to stop them! Good concept, but not that well done.
The story is told through short pictures and dialogue boxes throughout the game, interrupting some parts of levels but at the same time filling you in as you go along. A nice system. Moving onto the gameplay, things aren't looking all that good....
The game is a sidescroller most of the time, as Crash spin attacks and double jumps his way through levels, destroying the crates and enemies before him. Players familiar with CB3: Warped will recognize some of the level designs such as the Turkish/Persian level designs, the water levels and the ancient Egyptian-esque worlds. The lobby system works completely differently, more like a board game and allowing players to travel both in a linear fashion and a non-linear fashion.
However there are new additions - Crash now rides in jeeps, on wakeboards and even in the hamster ball which I HATED in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. Not all that well done though, best left for characters like Spyro the Dragon on GBA.
In terms of graphics, they've not changed. For 32-bits, you can't expect much but so much more could've been done. I and many others expected some better visuals, animations and storytelling videos. As for the soundtrack, some new original songs have been added, but expect to hear variations on the CB2 and 3 music. Poor effort, Vicarious Visions, as always.
So if you liked the first game, XS, on GBA then you'll like this and some. However, if you didn't, don't bother with this because it's not all that much new. Recommended for under £5.