The Crash Bandicoot franchise is a very polished and
refined one, and as such I didn't go into this game expecting any
major changes to the series' successful formulate. I got exactly
what I suspected, as Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced is basically a new
and slightly improved sequel over Crash's previous GBA outing.
This time, N. Tropy teams up with the evil (of course) N. Trance to
brainwash Crash's buddies and turn them against our bandicoot hero.
Thus Crash sets out to snap them back into reality, and take down the
evil duo at the same time. Just enough to move the action forward,
without being all that different from previous Crash games.
Gameplay-wise, anyone who’s ever played any Crash game knows exactly
what to expect here. Crash will break barrels, kill enemies via
spinning and stomping, and ride one of several different vehicles.
And of course, he still dies if hit by a bad guy/thing once unless
protected by an Aku Aku. New to the handheld scene are the Magic
Carpet, Copter (which I think actually appeared in the latest console
version as well), and Freeze crates. Over 40 different levels
alternate between side scrolling, forward-scrolling, and isometric
levels. The forward-scrolling levels (wakeboarding) are still as
frustrating as ever, with obstacles popping mere seconds before
impact. All of this is typical Crash however, and thus fans of the
series have come to expect them.
The only real innovation in gameplay is the new Atlas Sphere levels,
which feature Crash or Crunch rolling around a level American
Gladiator style and are the only isometric levels found in the game.
These are done from the same perspective as the GBA Tony Hawk games
(and they're even polygonal too!), which isn't surprising since the
developer is the same. These actually end up being among the most
tedious levels in the game however, since the A button can be used to
brake and slow down the sphere to a crawling speed. As long as the A
button is held down, players shouldn't have much trouble with these
levels. The result is that most people will hold down A and tediously
crawl through these levels, while the only thing being tested is the
The graphics are virtually identical to The Huge Adventure, with the
only difference being some new artwork where required (ex: different
themed levels) and the occasional polygon touch. The familiar
elements (barrels, Crash himself, returning enemy animation, etc.) all
look the same, and the new ones are all done in typical Crash style.
Sound is the same story, with another excellent but familiar
soundtrack and many sound effects carried over from the previous GBA
- Sticks to the
tried and true gameplay formula, which means 40+ more excellent
levels of Crash goodness.
- The sound and
graphics are still spectacular on the GBA, even if they're mostly
like the last one.
- Links to the
last Crash, unlocking secret levels, characters, etc.
- More of the
same isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I really wish the series
would start seeing more innovation.
- The Atlas
Sphere levels are mildly disappointing, and tedious as long as the
player plays smartly (AKA hold down the A button to keep the
While I'm disappointed that there wasn't more
innovation (and what's there isn't that great), I can't deny that
this is another excellent addition to the Crash series. If you're a
hardcore Crash fan you have to own this, as do most platform fans in
general or those who missed his last outing.