Crash of the Titans
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Publisher: Vivendi
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1 + co-op mode
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Crash Bandicoot has been around for oh, 10 years or more now, and sold millions of copies of games spread across just about every format known to man and bandicoot. Now back in the day Crash was actually considered quite fresh and exciting, but oh boy is he a tired old mascot now. The story goes the same way they always do: the same old plot in which Doctor Neo Cortex steals something and kidnaps Crash’s girlfriend bandicoot (can’t remember her name, but she looks a lot like Joy out of My Name Is Earl). But wait! There’s a whole new twist to this Bandicoot adventure; Old boy Cortex has got a bit well… crap in his old age and his niece Nina takes over the evil boss role. Oh, and there’s another “new” thing too, now instead of smashing millions of crates you have to thump millions of enemies.

Actually, millions may be an underestimate, after two or three hours of Crash of the Titans I felt like I’d beaten up enough remarkably similar cartoony bad guys for one lifetime, and had to go play something else to regain some sanity. The Titans from the title are the game’s only new feature; you basically have to take control of a much larger beastie (hasn’t that been done before?) to smash your way through barriers too tough for Crash to break and to advance past certain parts of the levels. Taking control of the titans is called “jacking” and can you guess how you do it? Yep, you thump, kick or shoot them till their strength gauge shows they’re ready.

The titans are a disappointing bunch with some bizarre yet highly unimaginative designs. There are 15 apparently but Scorporilla for instance, is a gorilla with a scorpion’s tail slapped on it - wow! now that must have taken weeks for the artists to come up with!… Once you learn their attacks the titans are easy enough to beat for the most part, although you’ll have to jack a weaker titan to jack the next one up the food chain, and so on.

Most of these levels are SO boring that they could be the same old map, but with a slightly different texture whacked on them, or maybe mirrored. There are many, many of them and they’re themed (jungley, volcano-ey, beachy etc….) with spoof movie titles… (Haven’t we seen that in a platform game before too? - Ed.) Sadly radical level design is not this game’s strong point, despite the developer’s name. Most levels involve Crash running or surfing (by using his mask companion Aku Aku as a hoverboard) along a linear track or tube, smashing objects or avoiding them as necessary. Every now and then there’ll be a joyful respite from this samey gameplay with a more traditional platform section, but they’re few and far between and to be honest with the game’s fixed-perspective camera, they’re not much fun anyway and the camera actually hampers your view on occasion. Every level has a mojo room challenge, in which you can earn some extra mojo, to earn extra lives, and you also learn new power attacks and combos to power Crash up as you go along.

However the real problem is the samey nature of the gameplay, and the incentives to keep playing are few and far between, and only the 360’s achievements kept me playing it as long as I did. A co-op mode helps things along a bit, at any point in the game get your friend to join in and play as Carbon-Crash, and work together, although why you’d subject a friend to this I don’t know. When we played it the fun didn’t last long. We also had a slight problem figuring out who the game is aimed at. Some parents may shy away from their younger kids using this incessant (if cartoony) violence throughout the game, and the difficulty level may be too high for them too – many titans can kill you in one or two hits. There are points when you get heavily outnumbered by enemies, and kids don’t like that. Inconsistencies like being able to go into some water while other water is death also annoy. There were also places where all we could do is restart the entire level because we got to a point where jacking the “boss” titan required to advance was impossible because the ones lower down the food chain had all disappeared – and you simply aren’t capable of jacking some titans as Crash.

Crash of the Titans plot sounded like a cool idea, but despite lots of new moves and excellent animation, the poor overall implementation, a fixed perspective camera and boring, repetitious level design mean this once highly-rated mascot’s latest game is a bit of a one-trick pony…

Best Bits

- It’s Crash!
- Colourful and violent
- Co-op mode
Worst Bits

- Maybe too violent, and too difficult for the little ones it’s surely aimed at
- Boring level design
- Fighting and jacking soon gets tiresome
- Unhelpful camera
- Annoying cutscenes
- Last-gen graphics

by: Princess BB

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