Hey, let’s face it, every mascot needs a colorful villain to fight against if they’re going to be successful in any way. For example, take Crash Bandicoot. Sony’s unofficial personality has taken on Dr. Neo Cortex and his band of cronies in a number of platformers. They’ve even taken their wacky animosity out of caves and secret lairs to a racetrack and go-karts. However, the latest title in the Crash Bandicoot saga will stretch even the tenuous boundaries of common sense as both Dr. Cortex and Crash team up to save the world. That’s right, the two enemies working together! It’s insanity, or should I say, Crash Twinsanity from Vivendi Universal.
I won’t go heavily into the plot because it’s truly hilarious. I will give you the general scenario that’s set up at the outset. Set a few years after the last game, Dr. Cortex arrives on the scene and promptly kidnaps Crash’s little sister Coco. However, the deranged doctor isn’t content to separate the bandicoot from his sibling; he cross-dresses exactly like her and attempts to lead Crash into a trap he’s set up. That trap involves a large spike pit, lasers and a number of henchmen that our hero’s gone up against. Crash manages to escape the trap but tumbles into a large pit, taking Cortex with him. After discovering a power crystal and crawling to the surface, two aliens confront them. While friendly at first, the aliens decide to destroy the world and tell the unlikely duo that there isn’t anything they can do about it. This leaves Crash and Cortex to save Coco and the world while not killing each other in the process.
Like most of his games, Crash retains many of his stock moves. He has the ability to spin through opponents or boxes. He can perform double jumps to get to higher platforms or areas. He can also bounce off boxes to grab fruit, 100 pieces of which will grant him an extra life. However, Crash has also received new moves within this game. For instance, he has a baseball slide to take out shielded opponents. This move knocks the target up in the air, discarding their protection for other attacks. He also has the ability to crawl under obstacles, gaining access to seemingly blocked off areas. Speaking of impassable areas, a new detonator block allows Crash to blow up remote boxes and barriers.
Fortunately, Aku Aku and his protective masks are scattered though the island to protect the unlikely duo. Collecting three masks still grants invulnerability, which will actually be useful when exploring the island. See, most of the time, the two enemies won’t be peacefully moving through a level; they’ll be fighting every inch of the way or inflicting pain on the other one. For instance, the underground levels are similar to rolling a large snowball down a track, except that snowball is the duo fighting and rolling over each other in a Looney Toons-inspired animation. Still other sections force Crash to hurl Cortex over ravines to activate switches or use his flattened head as a mallet to break open boxes.
If you couldn’t tell by the description, this is a very screwy title. While retaining the same look of the other Crash games, the designers have easily placed a number of sight gags and visual jokes to make players laugh (You’ll see what I mean when you get to the exploding chickens on the beach). The included voice acting is good as well, with plenty of oddball comments given by numerous characters. Crash will be spinning his way into stores with his new “friend” soon, so check back here for a full review!
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