Anti-Climax Boss: "Crunch Time", while still reasonably challenging, is a bit of a let down. Rather than having a proper face off against Crunch, the boss consists of a slow endurance of panel attacks by the Elementals before spinning a helpless Cortex. Inexplicably, Crunch is knocked out by the final cutscene, despite never even getting to lay a finger on him. Early storyboards suggest the final boss was meant to have been far more eventful.
Author's Saving Throw: The Greatest Hits/Platinum rerelease of the PS2 version was optimised slightly, halving most the game's infamously long loading times. While the rest of the games' imperfections remain, many freely admit the game is enjoyable when more time is spent playing it than waiting for it to load.
Awesome Music: If nothing else, the game has a great soundtrack. Credit also has to go to having the largest soundtrack of any Crash game, with just over 40 original songs - one for each level.
Contested Sequel: Longtime fans tend to loathe it for feeling too similar to the originals without bringing much new, while others (especially those who played it as a young age or have less access to the Naughty Dog games) love it, sometimes exactly for that reason.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The only one of the Elemental-powered Crunches Crash is able to physically hit is Wa-Wa, who literally turns Crunch into a living wall of water. Everything else requires either special technology or, in the case of Rok-ko, Aku Aku's magic.
Good Bad Bugs: The player can be made immune to Bottomless Pits during their hit refresh time. This is especially gratifying during the otherwise painfully slow ceiling grid areas, where you can much more quickly lose an Aku Aku to run across the bottomless area.
If you're going through one of the "Crash dying" animations, pause the screen and return to the main menu, and you can keep the life you "lost".
Guile Hero: Crash, more so than other times. With the exception of Warped, it's the only game where Crash at least seems to know what he's doing and has to go up against foes that even Aku Aku is afraid of.
Harsher in Hindsight: "Tsunami" has you evading a small tsunami in an Asian themed area and then exploring the flooded remains as a gem pathway.
It's the Same, Now It Sucks: The biggest gripe players had with this game was that it was a carbon copy of Warped!, only adding new levels. One of the reasons Naughty Dog closed the door on Crash was because they felt they took the concept as far as it could; the mixed reaction to Wrath due to precisely this reason aided the notion they probably made the right move.
Most Annoying Sound: The warping sound used in the PS2 version's loading screen likely grated on many gamers, especially those who owned the early release.
Despite the decent soundtrack, the music in the PS2 and GameCube versions doesn't loop smoothly, leaving an annoying bump each time the track ends and restarts.
Narm: Crunch tries his best to be dark and brooding, but it just doesn't work out in a Crash game. Later titles got the point and made him Denser and Wackier.
Nightmare Fuel: The Droid Void, particularly the part when you enter the mech and have have to go through darkness.
Crash's skeleton can be put on full display in Fahrenheit Frenzy.
Polished Port: The Xbox version has a few minor graphical bells and whistles, including better light and model textures and health bars given to the remaining bosses. Some issues with the PS2 version such as the long loading times and the lagged music loops are also fixed.
Scrappy Mechanic: You only spend 6 levels (of 30) and two bosses (of five) playing entirely as the Crash platformer-mode we all know and love. The other 24 levels are all either played as Coco, or spend at least half (if not all) of them in a vehicle of some kind (this is in contrast to fifteen levels (of thirty two) in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, and eighteen (of twenty-seven) in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back). To worsen this, half the vehicles and gimmicks in this game aren't considered very fun or efficient:
The mech. Clunky, hard to maneuver and easy to get hit as, it likely would have been easier and more fun to play the majority of the level as Crash himself.
The sub in the swimming levels is slow, large and easy to get hit, it's missiles actually fire even slower (so much you can outpace the downward bombs) and it has an annoying two step turning phase, meaning you can get stuck facing the screen and unable to fire. Even worse, unlike it's faster counterpart in Warped, it is no longer a disposable extra hit, you must play the level with it and if it is destroyed, you lose a life. Oh and did we mention it counts wumpa fruit as a target?
Similarly, Coco. Anything she can do, Crash can do better, and one of her levels is a Crash level made simpler so that Coco could do it. At times this can feel like a throwback to the older games which are harder due to their lack of bazooka and such.
IGN: Coco (is) a less powerful and less enjoyable playable character. Coco pops into specific levels and must be used to pass that area. She's just not fun the way Crash is. Crash is a silly creature to look at. He's almost absurd, which works great with his various animations. Coco isn't really silly at all. The game isn't called Crash and Coco so why must I be forced to play her?
The ceiling grids in Droid Void, Weathering Heights, etcetera. They are so slow and irritating that the best way to do Weathering Heights' time trial is to actually give up invincibility in exchange for being able to run across the floor and skip the grids. This enables you to halve the Platinum time, and then some.
At the very least it fixed the Scrappy Mechanic of previous games concerning the explosive crates, while only the crates themselves were destroyed if offscreen originally, in this game it will also destroy any nearby crates with the same blast radius as normal, making gem missions a bit easier.
So Okay, It's Average: The general opinion of the game within the fan base. While still fairly enjoyable in many areas, it is for the large part an inferior copy of Warped.
Special Effect Failure: Uka Uka is surrounded by a red glow, as in previous titles, but at some points it becomes apparent that the "glow" is just a flat palette stuck to the back of Uka Uka's model. When Uka Uka faces away from the camera, we get a good view of the glow, and see that there's a hole in the glow effect.
In certain levels such as Gold Rush, you can actually see the empty void where the modelling for the areas end.
In the Gamecube version of the game, the final cutscenes are filled with horrible glitches ranging from Aku-Aku's feathers lacking the proper masking, turning them into colorful squares to Crunch's lighting being JARRINGLY different to everything else in the scene.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The Elementals are fairly undeveloped characters (unless you read the manual) and according to Aku Aku, are too unruly and powerful for even Uka Uka to control. They spend the entire game as mere power ups for Crunch, their fate not even explained during the ending.
As mentioned above, Coco's debut as a fully playable counterpart to Crash. In Warped, she was more like an embellished extra vehicle, with her becoming fully playable like Crash in this game. The way she's presented in the manual and supplementary materials seems to imply that she's supposed to be be faster and more adept at combat than Crash while having weaker athletic ability, but in practice she just ends up being worse than Crash in literally every way. Not only does she lack a slide or crawl move (using a stationary sweep-kick instead), but she only gains access to three of the power-ups (the Double-Jump, Crash Dash and Super Stomp). Which means that while Crash grows stronger and more variable as the game progresses, Coco's skill remains near completely static from when she starts. It wouldn't be until FIVE games later in Mind Over Mutant that she'd finally get her chance to fight on equal footing to her brother (not to mention playable throughout the entire game rather than just a fifth of it).
Unwinnable by Design: A very Merciful example: detonating the Nitro crate at the normal end of "Tsunami" destroys the path to get to the end of the gem path. You're playing as Coco, who can't jump as far as the gaps allow. If you detonate the Nitro and attempt the gem path, you'll have to die to go to the checkpoint right before the path or potentially restart if you hit the Nitro detonator before the checkpoint.
Vindicated by History: Downplayed case. The game was panned by many at the time due to simply reusing Warped's formula. However, since nearly every title in the series afterwards started to drift more and more away from the originals, these days, while still considered very flawed, it gets more appreciation for being of the few multi console Crash games to stay loyal to the classic mechanics, especially since the previous titles remain Sony exclusive.