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Apr 20, 2009

Review: Crash: Mind over Mutant

Crash: Mind over Mutant
Vivendi Games, Sierra Entertainment
Available for Playstation 2, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, Playstation Portable and Nintendo DS

Crash Bandicoot is back and he's better than ever in the latest instalment of the franchise entitled Crash: Mind over Mutant that brings together the Crash family of characters onto the Xbox 360. When a newly rejuvenated Dr. Neo Cortex returns to the world, he has one goal of total domination of the planet and he'll do it one brain at a time if he has to.

Dr. Cortex and his ally, N. Brio develop a personal digital assistant called NV that allows them to control the minds of animals and mutants and turn them into crazed beasts through text messaging. Fortunately Crash and his friend, Aku Aku are not affected by the device and are able to save their friend, Coco and learn of Dr. Cortex’s evil plan via his blog. Upon learning that, Crash and his friend set off to stop the evil Doctor and his plot against the Titans of Wumpa Island.

The platforming game play will take all of two seconds to master for anyone who’s ever played a game in the genre before. Some parts will require the hijacking of certain monsters, such as a telepathic creature that can use its mighty brain to toss foes aside and rearrange towers into bridges, or a rolling titan needed to access hard-to-reach areas. Most of the game consists of traveling from Point A to Point B and then back to Point A again, which will get tiresome very quickly.

As far as combat goes, Crash and his mutant counterparts can level up and acquire new abilities, but for the most part, all you will ever need to do is hit a single attack button over and over again, no matter what character or creature you are using. Crash’s trademark spin makes a return, although for some reason it is mapped to the left thumbstick instead of a button. As a result, it’s hard to stay in one place when you need to keep spinning, and I found it easier to ignore that whole aspect of game play.

The fixed camera also hurts the overall experience, especially when you’re going backwards and sideways and can’t see the area you’re trying to reach. There’s really no excuse in this day and age for a game to not have some way to shift the point of view, and it is definitely a source of frustration while playing the game.

Control, level design, and camera issues aside, the one thing that is really missing from Mind over Mutant is a sense of challenge. This might be good game for a younger gamer just being introduced to the series, but for someone who has been playing video games for twenty years, I would have much rather have game with a bit more challenge to it.

What does shine through in this game is the humorous dialog which features the wonderful voice talents of Mark Hamil (Star Wars) and John DiMaggio (Futurama). Despite the fact, the game needed a bit of work when it came to the controls and level design, I did find myself giggling at the cut scenes and enjoying the plot.

Putting aside the level design for a moment, I was happy to see how colourful and bright the graphics were in the game. I’m a big fan of cartoons and it was fun to sit and play a nicely designed 3D cartoon game. The cut scenes were presented in different styles like old time black and white reels to full 3D animations, which made them really fun to watch.

Ultimately the Crash Bandicoot franchise is started to fall into the same hole as Sonic the Hedgehog and needs a good reboot. The developers need to realise that adults still want to play their games and make sure they develop for both markets. It’s not that hard to put difficulty levels in games nowadays. While I did enjoy the animations, the voiceovers and storyline of the game, the controls, level designs and camera problems really stopped me from loving this game. Hopefully the next instalment will solve these problems and we’ll have a Crash game worthy of the original.

Rating: 5 out of 10
Pass on it!

1 comment:

The Video Game Addict said...

Crash and a couple other platformers from the early Playstation era have been floundering badly as of late.

Spyro is another one.

His original game was awesome.

Also linked to your blog on mine; hope that's okay.