Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Crash of the Titans Review

Poor Crash Bandicoot. Once a beloved Playstation icon, he slowly became just another platformer in a sea of them. This game tried to make Crash and his friends "hip" and "cool" to a modern audience. It's too bad that all the people who were interested in this game were Crash fans who wanted a classic Crash game. This game changed everything from the series and just made it... mediocre, making Crash fall further into obscurity.

Story-5/10- The story is ridiculously basic. Cortex, Crash's big headed arch-nemesis, kidnaps Crash's sister, Coco, freezes Crash's kinda-sorta brother, Crunch, in a block of ice. After the first world, Cortex gets replaced by his daught... er, niece, Nina. Crash then has to travel to different worlds to find Coco. That's basically it. Crash has to go to different worlds and try to find Coco. He goes to the lava level and beats Tiny Tiger, who tells him to go to N. Gin's base, N. Gin then tells Crash that Uka Uka might have Coco, so he goes there and then Uka Uka then tells Crash where Nina is and then he goes to her base and rescues Coco. It's basically Super Mario Brothers with bandicoots.

The plot wouldn't be as bad as it is if it weren't for the fact that the dialog tries it's hardest to be funny, but it just doesn't work. This game considers pointless pop cultures "humor". There are scenes directly lifted from Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, just with a couple words replaced with different words. There are the occasional funny bits, mostly stemming from N. Gin and his insane ramblings.

The voice acting is very good, with several voice actors returning from Crash Tag Team Racing and some new ones for the new characters. The voice actors do good jobs handling they're characters, with super stars like Nolan North and John DiMaggio providing voice talents.
Gameplay-6/10- The game plays nothing like a classic Crash game. It is a beat 'em up platformer that adds the gimmick of taking control (Jacking) the titular titans. Each titan is unique, kinda, but I'll start with Crash who has gained a couple new moves, like the fact that he can punch and kick instead of his classic spin move. There are two types of melee attacks, the light attacks which are good for taking down smaller enemies, and the heavy attacks which break titan's defense. Crash does get his spin attack back, but he also gets a slide ability, where he rides his friendly mask Aku Aku. This move is mandatory for some sections.

A big part of the gameplay are the Mojo orbs.Collecting enough of these orbs will unlock a new upgrade, like the amount of time you can use your spin attack for, or how much health you have, or even new combos to take out enemies faster. There are only 27 upgrades, and you'll probably unlock them all by the final level.

Speaking of collecting, another big thing in the game is Voodoo Dolls. There's a hidden Voodoo Doll in every level that unlocks concept art you can look at, Mojo Voodoo Dolls which you can unlock by beating the Mojo Room challenge, which I'll get to in a minute, and then there's the ranking Voodoo Doll. There are three things to do in each level, beat an amount of minion enemies, which range from rat scientists to bunny witch doctors, racking up a big enough combo, and destroying all three SpyBots, which are hilariously shaped like toilets. Doing all three of these objectives grants you a Gold Voodoo Doll, which go toward a very unsatisfying reward.

Then there's the Mojo Rooms. These rooms are accessed by blue portals in each level, and give you a special challenge to beat. These challenges include beating up enough enemies, collecting enough Green Mojo, and maybe something else I can't remember. Beating the challenge rewards you with a Voodoo Doll that lets you replay the challenge without having to find it in the level again. It's too bad that these challenges are so uninteresting that you'll never want to play them again.

Now we can finally get to the titans. There are a lot of titans and only a few of them are actually useful and unique. By far the worst example of this is the Goar, which is used twice in two levels. It's replaced by the RhinoRoller very quickly. The RhinoRoller is far more useful than the Goar anyway, as it can roll around really quickly and hits hard. My personal favorites are the Sludges, which have the longest reaching attack, and the Scorporilla, which is really powerful and pretty common late in the game.

Each titan also has a special move activated by doing something specific with the WiiMote, like waving your hands back and forth to mimic flapping wings, banging your chest and then slamming both the Nunchuk and the WiiMote down at the same time, to even spinning the WiiMote around to mimic spinning. It's just too bad that most of them are just flailing the WiiMote and waiting for something to happen.

Finally there are the bosses. All three of them. The first one is against Cortex and a Yuktopus, the second against Uka Uka and his new body, and finally Nina in her giant spider-bot. The all act the same though, with you jacking a weak titan, then a stronger one, and then possessing the big one and destroying three things. There are two other occasions that could be classified as boss fights, but they're so piss easy that I really can't say that they are boss fights.

Graphics-6/10- Ah, a game where I can talk about the graphics. The graphics are good, with some creative level designs, such as the level that takes place in a bland, grey office building that you have to smash through, and the level that takes place in Cortex's mansion, or the lava level that has these big drilling beetle robots that you have to destroy. The animations are plenty and the environments are colorful. But if I'm showering the graphics with praise, then why did it only get a 6? Why? The character re-designs.

Each character has a brand new hip/cool design that I'm assuming someone who had never even seen a Crash Bandicoot game came up with. Seriously, all the characters have the bare bones of their original designs. The worst is poor old Tiny Tiger, who went from being a musclebound Tazmanian Tiger brute who hated Crash, to a Bengal Tiger who is a poor Mike Tyson knock-off. They are literally completely different characters with the same name. This is seriously like taking my favorite Crash character, Dingodile, getting rid of his Australian accent, giving him a British one, and getting rid of his dingo half to just make him a crocodile man.

It just gets me so pissed off. The only re-design I actually liked a bit was Aku Aku's, as that had a gameplay purpose to it. But I need to move away from this, so let's talk about the titans.

Each titan is a mix between two different things, and each one of them is creative. When you jack one Aku Aku will shape shift to fit on the monster's face. Each titan has a different mask look, but it's hardly noticeable. Some of the titans just look weird and out of place. The Battler and the Stench titans looking far too realistic than they should.

Overall-5/10- The game is mediocre, with some bad storytelling and character moves. This game becomes worse when you realize that everything in this game is done FAR better in it's sequel, Mind Over Mutant. The titans there have unique abilities, there are far less of them, so it makes them stand out more, the humor and story are much better, and there's far more to do. If you're looking for a modern Crash Bandicoot  game, get Mind Over Mutant, but if you can't find it, get this as a rental.

But now I would like to bring you to attention of my new attraction, Crash-A-Palooza! I will be reviewing a bunch of Crash games, both good or bad, for an indefinite period of time, and I have a big list of games here, including:
Crash of the Titans (DS)
Mind Over Mutant (DS)
Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage
Crash Twinsanity
Crash Tag Team Racing
Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
and Crash Team Racing.
I will be reviewing all of those games, in no particular order.

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