November 18, 2001
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Rating Players Price
29/11/2001UniversalTraveller's Tales1$99.95

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Time to get out of there.
While Nintendo has Mario and Sega has Sonic the Hedgehog Sony was left without a recognisable mascot for the Playstation. Naughty Dog came up with the closest thing in Crash Bandicoot, the little orange guy from Down Under. With some wonderful platform styled gameplay the three games in the series have stood the test of time and managed to capture the hearts of gamers around the world. Sadly, Naughty Dog lost the rights to Crash Bandicoot and Universal, the publisher, handed development to Travellers Tales who have worked on games such as A Bug's Life on PSOne/N64, Sonic R on Saturn/PC and Toy Story 2 on Dreamcast/PSOne. This is by far their biggest challenge, but everything is looking good.

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Rolling around the levels.
The storyline should be fairly familiar to those who have played past games with Uka Uka and Dr Neo Cortex once again looking to destroy Crash Bandicoot. Dr Neo Cortex has developed a new invention to make use of the four elements - earth, wind, fire and water. Using these elements he can create disasters such as earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanos and tornados to try and defeat Crash once and for all. Crash Bandicoot muse beat Cortex, and his experimental creation, Crunch, to the elements before Crunch becomes the ultimate power in the world.

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The game is now in high resolution.
As with previous games in the series Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex includes several different styles of gameplay across the 25 varied levels within the game. This variety includes side scrolling platform levels, more 3D roaming levels where you run into the screen, swimming underwater, riding a submarine, as well snowboarding with Coco. New to this game is the ability to fly a glider, control a mech loader like those Ripley has in Aliens, and fly a helipack, which should be terrific fun. These levels are littered with familiar features from past games including the TNT boxes, Nitro boxes, apples to collect and bosses to defeat. The game now includes a few new abilities for crash to learn including a sneaking function so he can We can also expect plenty of bonus rounds to help us rack up the extra lives needed to complete the game. Time will tell however if Travellers Tales have boosted the difficulty level, or overall length, from previous games which were a bit on the easy and short side.

Although the series has changed developer from Naughty Dog to Travellers Tales the game looks to remain graphically faithful to the original. We can expect improved animation and some more detail in the backgrounds, but Travellers Tales are hardly pushing the system with the biggest change being the move to a much higher resolution compared to the originals. The music and sound effect should also be familiar, and let's face it, there weren't too many problems with the original so if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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Dangerous nitro boxes return.
With a release only days away from writing this preview it must be said that this game is looking to remain quite faithful to the original PSOne games, if in fact a little too similar. For younger people, or lovers of the originals, you should be able to squeeze several hours of enjoyment from this title. Unfortunately, the developers don't look to have utilised the Playstation 2 to enhance the graphics to what we have come to expect from the system. Still, gameplay is the key to any game and the Crash Bandicoot series has always impressed. The variety of the levels on offer here should, at the least, keep you interested until the very end. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath Of Cortex should be a game to consider upon release around late November.