Crash Bandicoot is a bargain basement Taz, a capering, rolling-eyed dingo-like creature. Over the few years before his PS2 debut, Crash Bandicoot: the Wrath of Cortex, he’s appeared in various PSone titles–usually Mario wannabe platformers, but there’ve also been blatant Mario Party and Mario Kart rip-offs in the shapes of Crash Bash and Crash Team Racing.
Never less than fun, yet never a realistic contender when compared against the genre-defining Mario 64, Crash has sometimes received a fairly rough ride from the press. With original developers Naughty Dog passing on the chance to produce a PS2 version, Travellers Tales have created this effort, and in terms of gameplay, there’s no progression here whatsoever. This is Crash as we know and tolerate him, albeit with fancier lighting effects. All the familiar faces return, including (obviously, given the title) arch-goon Dr Cortex.
And it’s great, as it goes. Ignore the on-rails nature of the gameplay and the dismally slow loading times; it’s unlikely you’ll come across a jauntier, more ridiculous, stupid-brilliant game for some time. As well as the usual platform action, there are mine-cart chases á la Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom, hysterically playable Marble Madness-style levels, secrets, bonuses, vehicles, new moves; all kinds of everything, as Dana might have put it if she were into video games rather than winning the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest. Simple to pick up and play, crammed with outlandish ideas, colourful, loud and a laff riot into the bargain, it would be a hard heart that didn’t warm to this old ‘coot. —Steve Colton