Crash Bandicoot : The Wrath of Cortex
by Universal Interactive Studios
Crash is back! Finally we have the Playstation's premier platform character on the Playstation 2. Of course the old rival is back and this time Dr. Cortex is desperate to get revenge. Aku Aku's evil brother has decided to enlist the terrible help of Cortex and the Elementals, the destructive masks. These evil masks have terrific powers and are keen to bring an end to Crash's existence. As if this dastardly team wasn't enough another enemy now exists in Crunch, Cortex's genetically enhanced bandicoot.
Crash has to save the day again and to do this he must defeat the Elementals as it is their power that is sustaining Crunch. In order to defeat each Elemental you have to collect six crystals. There are five levels, which can be tackled in any order, and a boss to defeat in order to obtain these crystals. In total there are 30 levels within the game. As well as going through the levels in the normal fashion you can also deviate your route to go for bonuses or gems and relics. You can even return to the levels and activate (by walking Crash or Coco over the stopwatch) a time challenge in order to record you best effort.
The variety within the levels, is truly amazing. Crash's adventures involve flying a helicopter, controlling a mech, controlling a submarine and most bizarre of all rolling about in a hamster ball, to name but a few things. There are also many more vehicles throughout the levels. A great feature of the levels is that they sometimes change styles mid-level. Crash may start in submarine but end up on foot or start on foot and end up in a jeep. The variety seems endless and will keep you glued to the TV.
One of the better features this time is that you get to control Coco. She has slightly different moves to Crash and does not have access to the extra moves that Crash can pick up along the way. Coco's levels are specific to her and cannot be performed by Crash and vice versa.
Graphically the game looks great. The colours and textures that have been used will make you think you are playing a Nintendo platformer. The smouldering effect on the fire Elemental levels and the snow covered floors of the Artic Roll level (as well as the first level) are two particular highpoints.
All of this sounds great but there a few disaster areas with this game. None of the cutscenes have subtitles. Deaf gamers will be completely in the dark as regards to the storyline which is a great shame. Of course the gameplay is unaffected as it is purely platform action but why not subtitle the cutscenes and give everyone full access? In addition to this, the game has chronic loading times. Each level takes somewhere between 30-60 seconds to load up which is just unacceptable. There seems nothing that could explain this huge delay and it is a shame as it knocks the shine off this brilliant platformer.
Overall Game Rating: 7.5/10 Crash Bandicoot : The Wrath of Cortex is an excellent platform game that most Crash fans will be pleased with. It is both funny and exhilarating. However those who didn't get on with the earlier Crash games will find nothing here to change their opinion. The lack of subtitles to explain the story and the obscene loading times are just plain wrong but these problems aside, this is still one of the best platform games on the PS2.
Deaf Gamers comment: Crash Bandicoot is an excellent and compelling platform game. It is just a crying shame that no subtitles were used for the cutscenes. As the game is a platform game, and no need for subtitles exist within the main game, this isn't a complete disaster. Had the subtitles been in there though it would have scored at least 8.5.