Crash Bash Review
It all started with Nintendo that pretty much created the party games such as Mario Kart and Mario Party, but what Nintendo did good, Sony did better. Take Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing, Mario Kart had its amazingly great four-player battles, while it suffered from a poor adventure mode, on the other hand Crash Team took what Mario had in the battles, made it faster, better and best of all, more fun, as for the adventure mode it'll be a very long before you play another kart game with an adventure mode as brilliant as CTRs. But for awhile now Nintendo has been ruling with Mario Party 1 and 2 and no other publisher had any plans on creating another party game with their mascot using the Mario Party formula, but Universal, the rightful owners of Crash Bandicoot have joined with Eurocom to create their very own party game with out favorite bandicoot, Crash. Read the review of the very last Crash Bandicoot game to ever grace the PSOne.
While not as visually spectacular as Crash: Warped, Crash Bash still looks very good, and holds up to carry the Crash license. Even though Eurocom was behind development and not Naughty Dog, they still managed to capture the fragrance that the Crash series has always featured, and you really can't tell that another developer was behind the project. As for the game's overall visual package, I must admit that pretty much everything on screen is limited and simplistic, but the characters look just as good as they do in the adventure games. The backgrounds are limited to exploration just like Mario Party, and the arena, be it a square or a circle, is the only place you can run around. The backgrounds include anything from a jungle, to a rain forest, to an arctic environment with polar bears and overgrown sea bass running amok. The characters look great, every characater looks just as he/she did in all of the previous Bandicoot games. Special effects are also something you will see here, missile explosions, fire, nitro crate explosions and lightning striking all look pretty good. There aren't really many structures to be shown instead of the old crates which include the TNT, rock crate, and nitro, which can either cause damage or be thrown. The game may not win an award for visual performance but there isn't really anything displeasing in the visuals, and thankfully the frame rate never acts up.
In Mario Party the adventure mode played-out more like a board game where if you land on a certain place you get thrown into a mini-game or some other type of encounter. Sadly Crash Bash poorly fails to deliver on a good adventure mode and instead brings us a piece of the pie from previous Crash games. Like the previous Crash games you are in a circle shaped warp room with portals to stages or in this case mini-games, stepping on the mini-games portal will send you to the corresponding location. It shows that the adventure mode is clearly lacking any innovation, but I can't say the same about the mini-games. The story here is Aku-Aku (the evil one) and Uka-Uka (the good one) are arguing again and Uka-Uka decides to make a contest between the good and the evil, and winner takes all once and for all. Aku-Aku accepts, he summons his minions, and then gives two of the six to Uka-Uka since they only had Crash and Cocoa. The game will then put you into a warp room with five mini-games in each room and a boss that has to be fought like a Crash adventure boss.
There are well over 30 mini-games to choose, everything from four way pong with a space ship, to knocking off enemies from ice-cliffs with polar bears, to hurling TNT and rock crates at other characters, Crash Bash has got it all. I frankly don't understand why other critics have miserably bashed Crash Bash, I had a blast playing the game with three other people, in-fact we were all screaming like a bunch of monkeys and the excitement level got so high that I began biting my fingers because I lost a game of Polar Panic which should have been mine. The point is that not only is Crash Bash's mini-games better than both Mario Party's, but the game is also the mutli-player game of the year for the PSOne. While it lacks the adventure mode that made Mario Party a treat, it certainly makes up for it with the intense multi-player games.
The sound isn't exactly on remarkable standards but that is not to say that it is bad, not by any means. The audio is quite good, Eurocom delivers voice acting to the scene but it only occurs between the two mask brothers Aku-Aku and Uka-Uka. Once again those "whoahs" from Crash return every time he gets hit, and other sound effects such as TNT explosions all make it into the multi-player fiasco, pretty much what you've heard in previous Bandicoot games you'll hear here. The tracks are also reminiscent of previous Crash games, which once again is a good touch. Nothing foul in the sound, but nothing incredible either.
Since you are limited to only a square and circle battle arena moving around should not be a problem at all. For every mini-game you play it will feature different controls, and screens will explain to you how to use the controls to your advantage before a mini-game starts. The analog can be used as well but there isn't any sensitivity really, since in a game like Crash Bash you always need to move as fast as possible. This being a battle game and all, the Dual Shock rumbles a lot and it feels great, if you get head butted by a polar and get knocked off the ice, the controller will let you know that with a grueling shock, and I like that a lot.
It's hard to believe that a majority of very respected critics have under-rated Crash Bash, which in almost all ways is more exciting than a Mario Party game will ever be, there may not be as many mini-games as Mario but nearly every one given to you is a blast. While it won't win any awards for its graphics or other technological areas, Crash Bash stands out as being one of the best multi-player games since Crash Team Racing, it's a shame that he's not sticking around exclusively for the PSOne. By all means if you have a multi-tap and a few extra controllers, I urge you to get a copy of Crash Bash, it's mindless fun.