The single player is what the game was designed for, though the multiplayer will make your life much easier. Let me give you a plot synopsis here. You’re Crash Bandicoot, a character that seems to have been carried throughout so many systems throughout the years. I used to play it back on a Playstation One, the only game that I would actually play on the system over and over. If you know me, I hated the playstation, so this was a big deal for me to concede that I did indeed enjoy a game. Therefore I was quick to pick this game up off the shelf at my local rental store and get ready to play it.
You’re Crash Bandicoot and the evil bad guy comes and kidnaps your friend (oh no!). Therefore you must go save them (logically). The game is a sequence of levels that slowly advance in difficulty. You can destroy parts of the environment to get collectibles that will level you up when you collect enough. When I say level you up I mean that you learn a new combo button based move. Beyond those moves that you’ll learn you have a basic jump (A) which you can press again in the air to jump again (Oooh). You also have your basic attack buttons to do some kicks and what not.
There are secret areas on each level where you can play a bonus game in an attempt to get some more collectibles and unlock some cool stuff. There are also collectibles throughout the level such as concept artwork. You can also unlock masks of each of your enemies if you kill enough of them. These masks make it easier for you to hijack them in the future. By hijack I mean you jump on their back and throw a mask over their face. By doing this you gain control over the beast and can perform any of his moves towards your enemies. He has limited health, and when he dies, you’ll be thrown off. You can also choose to get off of the beast at any time and attempt to get on a new one. Killing any enemy will unleash collectibles which will move you forward in learning a new move.
There are multiple difficulties to choose at the beginning of the game, ranging from easy to hard. There are, give or take, twenty levels throughout the game. As soon as you beat it you can choose to go back and replay it at any time in case you want to stock up on any collectibles you might have missed. The game also has automatic save points, usually before particularly precarious areas, that you’ll learn to enjoy. You also have a set amount of lives. Similar to a Mario game, if you lose all your lives you will lose all the checkpoints accumulated in the latest level, and have to restart it from the beginning. You can collect more lives either by finding them in the game or by collecting enough collectibles.
So now onto my what’s good, what isn’t about this single player. Apparently, towards the end of the single player campaign, you’ll learn an infinite jump move that will allow you to beat the game with extreme ease. However it is the last thing you unlock. So you’re thinking to yourself “Okay, so they don’t want to make the game too easy too quickly”. Well, not quite. Although the first level is a breeze and the second level is easy, the third level starts to get actually pretty tough. Therefore, even though you’ll think to yourself “this is a kid’s game, I can play on hard”, you’ll actually have a pretty hard time. Some of the levels get extremely long as well, which means there are more opportunities to die which translates to more opportunities to lose lives which translates to running out of lives which means losing all your checkpoints. This can get really frustrating really fast, since the game itself is basically a repeat over and over of the same level. Some of the bosses can get ridiculously hard as well, and you’ll actually find yourself trying to manipulate the game into screwing up so that you can get one bad guy alone without the other four running at you. You’ll absolutely require the masks to make any attempt at all of being able to beat the game on hard without the use of the infinite jump ability.
Therefore an extreme amount of people recommend actually playing the first level over and over again to milk the collectibles in an attempt to unlock the infinite jump. I was one of the people that decided to do this, and wow, can I tell you that it is boring. If it’s so boring why did I continue playing it? For two reasons. One, I couldn’t get past about level eleven anymore, despite how hard I tried, on the hardest difficulty. Two, although I could beat the game on easy and then just transfer all my collectibles into the hard gameplay, the game wasn’t that fun, and almost no one recommended playing through it a second time.
If you’re wondering about the concept artwork, it isn’t very exciting, but it does unlock a couple of achievements, so it was worth looking up online. By the way – even though you would assume that the moves get better as you advance in the game, almost everyone recommends using the 12th move you learn (out of about 35) throughout the entirety of the game. They didn’t seem to really take into account how much damage each new attack did or how much it should cost to unlock. This means you’ll be frustrated much longer than necessary.
Despite all my complaining, it was fun to beat up on some bad guys running at you, even if they were, at times, almost impossible. The camera angles are sure not to help you out at all. It definitely was worth playing…for nostalgic effect.
Single player score: 6/10
If you decide to do so you can play this game cooperatively. This makes it much less of a hassle, since they didn’t seem to put more enemies in despite having more players to use. This actually significantly improves the game since it actually makes it pretty fair, and I actually enjoyed this mode. Besides having two people everything is the same that I mentioned in the single-player.
Multiplayer score: 8/10
You’re Crash Bandicoot and his friends, so of youre you’re supposed to look at least slightly cartoonish. The cutscenes are pretty well done (despite being a little odd…why does crash need to eat his foot at the beginning?). When you’re actually playing the game they did a good job of making it obvious what parts of the game were destructible and what not. The enemies look solid and run at you kind of humorously, as if they are socially awkward enemies. They put a good amount of work into making a variety of enemies in the game, which adds to the interest. There is also your share of caves and lava levels and what not, which keeps it at least somewhat interesting. The problem is that the game seems to drag on way too long, which translates to you feeling like you’ve seen it all before. I wouldn’t say there is anything memorable about the graphics, but it doesn’t look bad.
Graphics score: 7/10
You’ll hear enemies chasing you. You can also listen in on some bad guys having some chats if you stand far enough way, which are often times somewhat humorous. You’ll also hear the voice acting of your friends and the antagonist. Although the dialogue can get really lame (the game is made for eleven year olds or so) the acting of the dialogue is perfectly fine. There is some background music always playing that will shift depending on if you’re on a lava level or a cave level or a bonus area. It’s fine.
Sound score: 8.5/10
There are your usual suspect achievements for beating each level and completing the game on each of the difficulties. The difficulty achievements do stack if that is a concern of yours. I currently have 28 of 47 of the achievements for a score of 469/1000. The achievement guide is probably next on my list of guides, so stay tuned for that. The achievements are pretty straight forward in their wording, and are pretty basic and easy to obtain. My lack of fully completing the game has to do with me not fully completing the game, obviously. As I mentioned I could not get past level eleven or so, which caused me to return the game without re-renting it when my week with it was over. There are some collection achievements (Find all of the conception artwork, Have 7 lives) and what not. There is also a single multiplayer achievement, which basically just requires you to sign in with another profile and press start to get it. My major complaint was that the game didn’t require you to play it through more than once, specifically not with another player. I’m a big fan of achievements that have designated ones for single player and designated ones for co-op play because both types are extremely different playthroughs. No online multiplayer means no online achievements.
Achievement Score: 7/10
There is a bunch of picture packs available for this game. I would normally ignore these and just say “picture packs available”, but they seriously have about 10 available for you to download (80 MS point each). I’m still going to give it a score of N/a though since it is so…useless.
DLC Score: N/a
Final Score: 7.2/10
• The graphics and sound are perfectly acceptable for what you would expect
• They take a game that has performed well in the past and make a sequel to it
• Interesting level up system
• Many collectibles to find
• Boring after the first couple levels
• Has very little replay value
• Achievements don’t force you to play through the game more than once (which could be a pro in this case, but it means that a rental is fine)
• The game is too hard without the infinite jump and too easy with it
• You might have to play some levels a couple times over to collect the masks to make it possible to beat the next level
• You’ll have to play some levels over if you missed some collectibles that you really wanted
• Too hard for the target audience, too boring for the older groups
I think this game is an absolute rental. You’ll be able to power through it once on easy mode the first time through in less than a week (despite it sometimes getting boring). If you’re an achievement junkie you’ll be able to pull about 400 points in one playthrough, more if you use the internet vigilantly. The game should not be bought – it doesn’t lend itself enough to be replayed – unless you can get it for less than ten dollars. The game does not hit its target audience well, which should be considered before buying for younger groups. If you have any comments/questions please write them below or send me a private message.