Reviews: Crash Bandicoot The Wrath Of Cortex

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Flawed but Entertaining Rehash
Crash Bandicoot The Wrath Of Cortex tends to be rated poorly with many fans considered a lesser instalment to the Naughty Dog games and thoroughly lacking in innovation. Is much of this true? Well some of it, yes. Does this mean it's not fun? Not necessarily.

The game is the standard Warped setup, a warp room of thirty or so levels with the usual linear structure of the original games. To it's credit it's execution is at least more unique, unlike the PS One games it rarely repeats the same areas. It also keeps the routes fresh with loads of gimmicks and vehicles. Maybe a bit too much. So much that only eight levels are fully platformer. The gimmicks are of mixed variety as well, not always as well implemented as Warped's variation. The mine cart and boarding segments are fun enough and usually compliment a mostly platform level, the mech and submarine are just frustrating and cumbersome though. Coco also seems pointless, being just a weaker skin of Crash. Some original gimmicks have also been screwed up (those ceiling frames...). It's a shame as some of the routes themselves are the funnest I've seen in the series. I've replayed Jungle Rumble and Banzai Bonzai many times over.

The cosmetics are the bigger letdown however, they actually pale compared to the PS One series, which felt like playing an actual cartoon. The cutscenes are bland, the level graphics are basic (though are decorated with some nice special effects such as fog and lightning) and most of the characters look off model and lifeless. Compared to the usual whimsical boss fare, Crunch and the Elementals aren't all that interesting opponents either. The game at least runs on a fairly solid engine with barely any slowdown or glitches, ironically ageing better than a lot of the later Crash titles. PS2 gamers are heavily advised to get the faster loading Greatest Hits/Platinum release however.

On average the good outweighs the bad, it just depends on whether you like recycled Crash fare. In fairness this was Crash's first multi console game so was likely designed to show Nintendo and Microsoft gamers what they were missing during the PS One years. It's still more accessible than the ND series so if you want a retro styled title this is a decent enough title to go for, if marred by some blatant design flaws.
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