Everyone’s favorite Bandicoot learns some new moves.
In the days of conspicuously mustachioed plumbers and unnaturally fast hedgehogs, it was common knowledge that the best way to sell a console was through an absurdly cute mascot. As those days began to wane, Sony commissioned the invention of something called a Bandicoot to use as the family-friendly face of its still young Playstation console. The resulting creation, Crash Bandicoot, has seen his fair share of highs and lows, from appreciable popularity in the early years as a nimble platformer, to a dubious turn in a recently released mini-game collection for the DS, Crash Boom Bang! Like any good mascot, Crash is once again gearing for a comeback in a whole new game with a developer new to series. Radical Games has implemented some pronounced changes to the Crash formula in hopes of bringing the sly bandicoot name back to prominence with their latest incarnation, Crash Of The Titans.
While Crash Of The Titans will retain some platforming elements of the previous games, Radical has added a new brawler component to freshen up the core gameplay. Central to the game is the system of “attack and jack," in which Crash, after sufficiently beating up an enemy, can take possession of them and use their specific attack powers to progress. There are fifteen different enemies that Crash will be able to take control of, encompassing an imaginatively dreamy mash-up of animals with names like Scorporilla, Parafox, and Shellephant. Crash will use his basic melee attack to stun the enemy and then whip out his trusty wooden Aku Aku mask, a familiar item for returning fans, and hop on the back of the enemy and use their abilities to navigate various environmental puzzles in the level.
The controls of Crash are simple and straightforward, while still promising to take advantage of the Wii controller’s unique features to add something special. Players move Crash with the Nunchuk’s analog stick and jump with the A button on the Wii remote. The B button can be used for Crash’s basic melee attack, and hitting B three times in a row will unleash an irony-laden “Norris Roundhouse." Crash’s familiar tornado-like spin jump can be executed by spinning the Wii remote while jumping. When controlling different enemy creatures, players will be able to take advantage of the Wii remote’s IR functionality to target specific objects in the level with projectile attacks. Some stronger enemies will use gesture-based controls to execute powerful area attacks, such as the above-mentioned Scorporilla, who can raise a series of spikes from the ground with a swift raising of the Wii remote and Nunchuk. Players will also be able to use the Wii remote’s IR function to pick up “mojo" orbs floating around a level, not unlike the mechanic of picking up star fragments in Super Mario Galaxy.
While the game will have plenty of old school platforming action hopping across chasms and elevated ledges, a new series of environmental puzzles promise to take advantage of the “jack and attack" feature of the game. A typical level may have a large obstacle that can only be broken down by taking control of a larger enemy, while some gates will have target-based locks that can only be opened by creatures with projectile attacks. The catch, however, is that Crash will not be able to simply take control of every enemy he encounters. Rather, there is a progression of enemy types, from small to large, that Crash must go through before being able to successfully stun some of the game’s bigger baddies. To further spice up the mix, two player co-op will be available for those interested in brawling through the game with a friend.
It’s been a long time since Crash has been able to stand side by side with his old school mascot colleagues. While the method of exploiting a furry animal spokesman to sell video game wares may be well past its expiration date, a good action platformer is always in style and Radical Games hopes to bring Crash Bandicoot back in style. Crash Of The Titans is set to release next week, October 2, 2007.