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Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure

Review By:  Jared Black

Developer:  Vicarious Visions
Publisher:  Universal
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Platform
ESRB:  Everyone
Date Posted:  6-5-02

Who woulda thunk it? Just a few short years after he stood outside Nintendo of America’s corporate offices calling out Mario for a brawl, Crash Bandicoot is now playing all three sides of this generation’s console war. By virtue of having the only current handheld system worth owning, Nintendo actually gets a double dose of Crash goodness on both the GameCube and GBA. If Crash’s first non-Sony console title is any indication, we’re in for a real treat.

It’s tempting to say something witty like "this ain’t your mamma’s Crash", but in reality it really is. While Crash’s first handheld adventure is a brand new game, it’s almost identical in every way to Crash’s outings on the PSOne. This time Dr. Neo Cortex shrinks the entire earth, and obviously Crash along with it, to the size of a wumpa fruit. Crash must traverse 20 levels and recover the crystals that will allow sister Coco to set things right again. Along the way he’ll spin attack foes and crates, jump, slide, collect wumpa fruit (100 = 1 extra life of course), and pick up special moves from defeated bosses. The side-scrolling levels are broken up with other types of levels, including forward scrolling shooting stages (think Starfox) and "coming towards you" polar bear rides. The latter is mildly frustrating as enemies generally show up on the screen mere seconds before they reach the ‘coot, resulting in a lot of cheap deaths. Other than that, the gameplay is as tight as it’s ever been. The one hit and you’re dead philosophy of previous Crash games is here in this adventure, but at least they give you a ton of lives to play with.

The graphics are amazing, and are almost as good as those found in the PSOne. Crash is animated well, retaining his signature goofy run and Taz-ish spin attack. Other moves are performed with similar style and flair. Environments are nicely varied and incredibly detailed, and are full of vibrant color and unique enemies all with their own exaggerated animation. Overall this game rivals some of the GBA’s best graphically, and is only limited by screen size and hardware power in besting the PSOne versions.

The sound is done equally well. The music in this game retains the same jungle/comic style the series is known for, and is loud, crisp, and sounds great in headphones. The sound effects are awesome too, with samples seemingly pulled straight out of the PSOne versions. Crash sounds the same, Aku Aku sounds the same, breaking crates sounds the same, and all-new enemies have their own unique sound effects. Just a wonderful package.

Highs:

  • Outstanding graphics that rival Crash’s PSOne outings.
  • Gameplay refined from three previous 2D platformers that still works as well as it did then.
  • The music score is catchy, and the sound effects are crisp.

Lows:

  • Forward-moving stages are incredibly frustrating at times, requiring rote memorization instead of skill.
  • One-hit deaths are so mid-90’s.

Final Verdict:

On a system already deluged with platform games, Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure ranks just below the Mario remakes and perhaps Castlevania: Circle of the Moon in overall quality. With it’s different approach and unique style, Crash comes highly recommended to even the staunchest of PSOne detractors.

Overall Score: 9.1

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