He's only 5 years old but has already sold over 20 million videogames with his name on them? Who is he? A little aussie marsupial by the name of Crash Bandicoot. Hitting it big back in 1996 with his original platform title, Crash was an instant success, and was developed by a not too familiar company, Naughty Dog. Rightfully so the birth parents of Crash were Naughty Dog as they have developed four of five of his Playstation titles. Crash Bandicoot had seen three absolutely amazing adventures, and a kart title that blew the pants off of any other kart game out there. The only Crash Bandicoot game not to be developed by Naughty Dog was Crash Bash. A Mario Party-esque game, which failed to earn high remarks with many critics, but fared reasonably well for a few others. Crash's life was long-lived on the PS2, he was a great -and very silly- mascot, which is what made him Crash Bandicoot. His signature funky dance will live on forever, and when I heard that Universal would be taking Crash away and publishing him on various consoles, I could only *sigh* and hope for the best. It bothered to be think of how future games would play without Naughty Dog's talent behind the development, but after playing this recent build of Crash, it's safe to say that he's in good hands.
Sporting roughly 2000 polygons, Crash Bandicoot looks superbly detailed, and incredibly smooth. Up close views of the him show that Traveller's Tales have been busy creating a great looking bandicoot for all of us. But aside from character detail is the trademark environments that we've become so accustomed to, from previous installments of Crash. Crash's tropical environments have returned, and this time they feature erupting volcanoes and farms. The first stage on the build was a volcano area where one was erupting violently in the distance, as debris (such as hot rocks) from the eruptions soar towards the ground that you are on. But don't worry it doesn't take damage, it's just a cool effect. Visually Crash Bandicoot is an excellent game, it's environments are filled with a barrage of colors that light up the atmosphere.
Honestly I wasn't expecting anything new from Crash's PS2 outing, and I'd be lying if I said that I'm happy with the lack of change. I know that this formula is what made Crash so great, but I think it's time for a change. Now while this isn't a great plague to the game, I'm hoping something new for Crash's fifth adventure. What I'm referring to is the gaming perspective, I would love a full 3D adventure a'la Jak and Daxter and Ape Escape. On the other hand Wrath of Cortex is still an excellent and amusing game. So far the preview we've played features five incredibly diverse stages, everything from running around an area with a gushing volcano, to flying a glider around a farm, or even rolling in a ball avoiding holes on the floor and flying out of bounds from the course. No doubt about it, Crash is a great and fun game, but I must express myself and say that I'm saddened that Crash will be on other consoles, I was never good at sharing. Expect Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex to ship October 2000.