Crash of the Titans (Wii) - Review by andyr
Crash Bandicoot has been around for quite a while now - first surfacing in the days of the PS1 where it became one of the great platform franchises. However original developers Naughty Dog stopped working on the games and sadly it somewhat faded. With the advent of the Wii it was a title that was bound to produce something for the console, but would it bring anything new or just be another stagnant platformer? Read on to find out.
In this episode, Crash's nemesis Cortex turns up at the start of the game and kidnaps his sister, with the intention of building an army of monsters to destroy their Island and ultimately take over the world. It's up to Crash and Aku Aku to give chase and put a stop to their dastardly plans.
Pretty standard fare here, with Crash running, jumping and 'surfing' through twenty levels, attacking every living thing in site & picking up the magical 'mojo' which can give him new moves & ability upgrades. Progression is extremely linear which is not necessarily a bad thing as it means you don't have to worry you might have missed a corridor along the way. Indeed if you do try to backtrack you'll eventually be blocked off from going any further back. Lose all your lives and its back to the start of the level for you, which is one of my pet hates of this type of game - especially when I've lost multiple lives trying to jump onto a damn rope. Argh - rope jumping! I'm sure I'll get the hang of it but it annoys the hell out of me; especially since you can't re-orient the camera so that your running straight towards it.
Radical have added a cool new feature this time around - this is the ability to 'jack' the larger enemies you'll encounter and then control them in order to defeat & jack larger and larger creatures. There a several 'arena' sections where this 'food-chaining' is a necessary strategy for progression. To jack your opponent you'll need to attack them until they are sufficiently stunned; a quick tap on the d-pad and Crash will hop onto their shoulders, placing Aku-Aku on their faces and thereby putting them under your control. Each has their own special attack - from lifting spikes out of the ground, to a weird monster-stunning bagpipe tune! While on a monster's back you're safe from harm, but the monster isn't - once it runs out of energy you will lose your mount & have to start jacking again.
There are a number of special levels reached by jumping into a smoky portal, where you'll be set a timed challenge in order to get a special bonus. These are generally pretty easy - though you may need a second attempt at some.
Played with both the WiiMote & Nunchuk, Crash uses both controllers to good effect. The Nunchuk controls movement, heavy attacks & blocks, with the WiiMote buttons used for jumping, light attacks and 'jacking' the enemy monsters. Use of motion sensitive control is kept to just a few moves - shaking the controller while in the air will do a 'spin-hover' (although you can repeatedly tap the A button instead), raising & lowering both controls will perform a monster's special attack, and the odd special movement can be performed with a quick shake or flick.
Overall the Wii version looks pretty good with a smooth frame-rate and colourful and attractive levels. Enemy design is nice too: each of the fifteen controllable titans has been well crafted and their special moves and general movement - from the nippy Snipe to the lumbering Boar - are pretty cool.
Voice acting is pretty good on the whole, with just the right amount of cheese and the sound effects are quirky and very appropriate for the style of game.
Not a ground-breaking title, and unfortunately even the initially cool mechanic of 'jacking' your bigger enemies begins to pale after a while. Despite this it's a pretty fun game to play and the gradual introduction of the titans as the game progresses keeps you interested to see what cool abilities the next one is going to have. Younger children will also find it pretty easy to pick up, with the characters and scenarios appealing to them.
Pro: Easy to pick up and play; good use of the Wii's controllers; Fun sound effects.
Con: Akward camera; gets a little repetitive; losing all your lives sends you back to the start of the level.
Final score: 7