Hello and welcome to today’s blog on Stephen Niven – Mainly about video games! In this blog post I am going to be reviewing Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex for the PlayStation 2; which was the first multi-platform game in the franchise. Considering Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy was recently revealed, I felt that it would be a good time to review his first 6th generation game!
So what is Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex? Well, it is a platforming adventure game that was released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube in 2001 and 2002 respectively. It was the fourth main installment (sixth overall) in the franchise, and was developed by Traveller’s Tales and published by Universal Interactive Studios; along with Konami. It is most notable for being the first game in the series to not be released exclusively for a PlayStation console, and was later re-released as a launch title for the Xbox Originals line up on Xbox 360’s Live Marketplace service in late 2007.
In the Wrath of Cortex, you play as Crash Bandicoot, and his younger sister Coco; with the aim of gathering crystals by completing levels that are filled with platforming challenges. The gameplay is very similar to what was found in Crash 2 and Crash Warped, and like the previous games, you are again aided by Aku Aku – a wooden mask ‘witch doctor’. You access these levels by using the ‘Virtual Reality Hub System’, which is split up into five ‘VR Hubs’, with each one including five different teleportation portals. At first, only one hub is open, and you can unlock the others by defeating bosses in boss battles. As well as crystals, you can also obtain gems, coloured gems, and relics; by breaking open every box in a level, completing a secret area, and recording a time on a time trial respectively. You start the game with just four lives, and you can lose one when you are hit by an enemy or by any other type of damage.
You can however gain more of them by earning 100 ‘Wumpa Fruits’ or by collecting an extra life token (found in special boxes). If you run out of lives though, it’s game over! The game begins with Uka Uka – the evil wooden mask ‘witch doctor’, at a space station slamming his villainy friends for their ‘low track record for spreading evil’. He orders them to come up with a plan to eliminate Crash Bandicoot, and shortly after Doctor Neo Cortex comes forward with the announcement of Crunch Bandicoot – the ‘genetically enhanced super-weapon’. He however reveals that it is missing a power source, to which Uka Uka suggests using a group of masks called the Elementals. They had power over earth, water, fire and air, but were later imprisoned by the Ancients with the aid of special crystals, that put them into a state of hibernation. Shortly after, the Elementals are awoken, and start to cause destruction.
So in conclusion, what do I think about Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex? I think it’s an alright game, though it could of been better. After reading about the development history of it however, I understand why it released like it did (Universal wanted Traveller’s Tales to create the game in under 12 months!). It received ‘mixed to generally positive reviews’, with most critics giving the game a 7/10; and was praised for having the same gameplay that featured in the hit PS1 games. It was however criticized because of its poor load times and the little changes that it made to the formula ‘established by its predecessors’. Anyway, would I recommend you to buy this game? Yes, it’s a decent Crash Bandicoot game!
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