Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex is the first instalment of the bandicoot series on the PS2. I never played the other games so I can’t say how it compares to them. Crash Bandicoot: TWoC was one of the first games we bought for the PS2. I found it rather difficult and didn’t bother long with it (stopped after the second boss). Some days ago (weeks?) I stumbled on it and thought “Maybe I should try again”.
And so I did. And yes, I didn’t find it too difficult the second time around.
What I liked:
- I liked the varied surroundings of the levels: there are snow levels, water levels, futuristic levels, “Wild West” levels, …
- I like the idea to go back to a level and collect the crystals, relics, gems. It is fun trying to figure out how to get them and then trying to get them.
- I liked that there are a lot of different “vehicles” to go through a level: a truck, a sub, a plane, a kind of sphere, … You even get to play as another character, Coco, in certain levels.
What I didn’t like:
- Loading time: I remember that I was fairly shocked about the loading time when playing this game for the first time. Do all games take this long to load, I wondered. The good news is: no. The bad news: Crash Bandicoot: TWoC is still the game with the longest loading time I know. After playing games for some years now on the PS2 and before that on PC, I’m pretty sure that says something. It’s not only that it takes long to load, the loading screen comes up after nearly all the things you do. I sometimes thought that the time it took me to beat the time trial of a level is shorter than the loading time before and after that level.
- Camera: The camera can be annoying sometimes when you don’t see clearly where you’re going. It can be downright frustrating when you’re running away from something (happens a lot) and you can’t see where you’re running because Crash is running in the direction of the player = you see his front, not his rear. These chase sequences are very frustrating because you have to memorize the way in order to not run into enemies or obstacles and take a hit. They pop up in front of Crash and most of the time there is no time to try and change your path. So you have to repeat.
- Instant deaths: Going too near to an enemy, you’re dead and have to start over. It’s not always clear when near is too near and it seems to vary with the kind of “vehicle” you’re moving around. I also thought that Coco’s more prone to that. Extra annoying points in connection with the chase sequences.
- Controls: Overall, the controls are rather smooth, but for some vehicles (well, I would say most) they are sluggish which makes, you guessed it, for frustrating moments when you bumped into something because of it and – instant death.
- Underwater Levels: This one gets a special mention. I hated them. Never bothered to come back. I found the controls here just too …
Did I mention the loading times?
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex is an entertaining game despite all the flaws I listed here. It’s just a question of whether you can get used to them or not. But hey, they provided you with the necessary time for that. Remember the loading time? If you get used to the flaws, there are some fun levels without annoying and frustrating moments. And they make one wonder what could have been with just a few little tweaks.
I didn’t mention the bosses (five in all), although I should have, but more important …
Did I mention the atrocious long loading times?
Did I enjoy playing this game? It was okay, sometimes even good.
Would I recommend this game? For fans of platformer maybe.
Grade: 3 / 5