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Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex

Developer: Traveller's Tales | Publisher: VU Games
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 10/29/01 | Genre: Platform

Don't you just love load times? I mean--really, really love load times? If you are like me and despise load times, then you will probably be disappointed by Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Load Times... er I mean, the Wrath of Cortex. However, if you can get past the load times, you may find something to enjoy.

Naughty Dog, the creators of the beloved marsupial, Crash, have moved on to the greener pastures of Jak & Daxter after Universal decided to give the development reigns over to Traveller's Tales. I have nothing against Traveller's Tales... but they still have a little ways to go in order to catch up to Naughty Dog.

Visually, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex is on par with past crash titles. While the cinematic scenes use the same engine that the gameplay uses, the graphics aren't anywhere near the quality of other Playstation 2 titles like Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. To make up for the lack of high resolution graphics, Traveller's Tales includes some great looking environmental effects like laser beams, rain drops, and some very nice looking water effects.

Controlling Crash and his sister, Coco (who is playable in certain levels) is very similar to prior Crash titles. Players can move our heroes with either the analog control stick or the D-Pad. How exactly are the controls setup, you ask: X Jumps, X+O performs a High Jump, Square Spins, jumping and hitting O will do a belly flop, and running and hitting O will perform a slide.

Also included Crash are a variety of different vehicles to control--including the Firefly, Space Fighter, Copter Pak, Jeep, Scooter, Snowboard, Sub, Mech, and a rolling ball similar to the gameplay of Super Monkey Ball over on the GameCube. While these different elements add a little variety to the game, they are oddly placed and don't make much sense within the storyline. Hopefully in a future sequel, Traveller's Tales will do a little better job incorporating these elements into the story.

Speaking of the story, after waiting five minutes for the first cinema to load, the players learn that the evil Uka Uka wants to rid the world of Crash Bandicoot. Dr. Cortex has been working on a "Super Secret Weapon" in order to accomplish this... however, he lacks a power supply in order to make it function. Uka Uka tells the villains present a story about some Ancient Elemental Masks that can be unleashed to power the "Super Secret Weapon." Aku Aku learns of what his evil brother has planned and warns Crash and Coco about the Wrath of Cortex.

The gameplay zones in Crash are divided up into five different areas. Each of the areas has five different levels and one boss level. After all levels are successfully defeated, a sixth area opens up with a warp portal to the final boss.

The gameplay in crash is very fun and for the most part shows you that a game with a static camera may be the best way to do a 3D game. While at times your viewpoint may be blocked by an a wall or item, the camera angles are much better overall than other 3D platform titles on the market now. However, the load times really impact the fun you can have with Crash. Everytime you go into a level, it will take at least 25 to 30 seconds for it to load up. Likewise, everytime you defeat a level and go back to the level selection screen, it will take another 35 to 30 seconds to load. Because of this flaw, I am forced to give Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex a C+. I enjoyed the title but no game with such long load times deserves any higher grade. Hopefully this problem will be corrected in the next version of Crash.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 08/21/01
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Screenshots for Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex

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