Friday, August 22, 2014

Review #141: Crash Bandicoot 3 - Warped

 A fitting end to the trilogy.
 Crash Bandicoot 2 was an amazing game, a fantastic platformer game and a Playstation must have. Could Naughty Dog top themselves in just one year?

 As per norm, Crash Bandicoot 3 takes place directly after Crash Bandicoot 2, N. Cortex's plan thwarted by Crash, and now he must answer to his boss, Uka Uka, Aku Aku's evil counterpart. Uka Uka introduces a new Villain, N. Tropy, who can control time(And thus give an excuse for the new settings), so Crash must gather crystals again, in order to stop them. You know the deal, story isn't the game focus, and it really shouldn't matter, it's a simple bad guy vs good guy approach. Worth mentioning, this time they gave all five bosses more personality, as they now taunt you before levels, which is a really neat touch, and the voice acting is pretty good!
 It should come as no surprise that gameplay remains relatively unchanged, pick a level from the hub, platform your way through the level, using your spin attack or slide to kill enemies, grab wumpa fruits for extra lives and collect the crystals. The game is definitely easier than previous Crash entries, the slide-jump has been toned down, and there's no instances in which you are required to use it, unlike Crash 2, it also feels a bit less rewarding as a consequence, Crash 2 had gotten the difficulty just right. Crash 3 also has a lot more "variety levels" in which you ride an animal as Coco, on a nonstop ride through a set track, racing levels in which Crash drives a bike, a few airplane levels and some that take place exclusively under water. Variety is appreciated, but I would've like more platforming levels, kinda like Crash 2, but that's just me. And, to be fair, besides a certain boss battle that takes place in Space, the vehicle levels feel fantastic, with spot on, responsive controls.

 One of the best new aspects is that every boss drops a new move after their defeat, and they are all incredibly useful, a beefed up body slam, a beefed up spin attack(which can double as a gliding tool!), double jumping, a bazooka(Seriously) and Running, to aid in the time trials. Time Trials? Time Trials. After collecting a level's gem, you can tackle the Time Trial, in which you must dash in order to beat certain time limits and earn Ankhs. While you are basically replaying a level, the way in which you must tackle them changes a fair bit, and they are more fun than they deserve to, much challenging too since you can't die at all. Lastly, collision detection seems to have been ironed out, not once did I feel a death wasn't my fault, which is something that had been bugging me since Crash 1. Worth noting, Crash's movement has been altered, he feels a bit... faster, but it takes a couple of levels to get used to it, and it's not a bad thing at all.
 There's a ton to do and collect in Crash 3, even more than Crash 2. Each level has at least one gem, one crystal and one time trial ankh. Then there are levels that have gems tucked away in alternate paths, and levels hidden withing other levels, and 5 extra levels(Technically 3) if you collect 25 ankhs... you'll certainly find yourself busy with this game. Regardless, a basic playthrough of the game(Without stopping to collect everything) is on par with previous Crash games.

 The game looks about as good as Crash 2, but enemies do seem a bit more detailed, and so do the levels(Though it might've to do with the newer settings). While Crash 2 felt as if it expanded on Crash 1 environments, recycling a few, all environments in Crash 3 are new, it's nice finally stepping out of the snow and jungle levels! The new areas take place in Arabia, a futuristic city, a medieval city, the prehistoric domains of a very angry triceratops and on more modern streets for the racing stages. Music is as catchy as ever, and there's really not much else to say about it!

 Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped might not be a huge improvement over Crash Bandicoot 2, but it manages to reach the same level of quality while also feeling new in many ways. Personally, I would've liked a few more platforming stages, but I'm not against variety!
 9.0 out of 10.

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