A review by Moz

When I think with a touch of nostalgia to the good old days way back in the dark ages of the nineteen nineties and the original Playstation console (yes it really has been that long) one of the most successful characters at the time along with Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog and Nintendo's Mario Brothers was theCrash Bandicootseries. Ah, those graphics, those colours, that bloody irritating tune, well it brings a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat just thinking about it.

The original Crash Bandicoot titles released on the PSone were created by Naughty Dog Software (who are now the creators of the fantastic Jak and Daxter series), and they were an immediate success with gamers. They had imaginative locations, superb graphics (despite at that time still being in 2D) and wacky and amusing gameplay. Since the departure of Naughty Dog a number of new companies have taken over the Crash license at one time or another but have never has the success of the initial Crash titles. When Travellers Tales took over the license they produced the first title in the series for the PS2 Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex which was closely followed by Crash

Nitro Kart which was an updated version of Crash Team Racing originally released on the PSone. Although both of these titles were relatively successful, neither offered anything particularly groundbreaking to the existing tried and trusted formula. Now with the release of Crash TwinSanity travellers Tales hopes to have come up with an original twist to the series and hopefully bring Crash back from the forefront in the gaming industry. But have they managed to pull it off?

In this latest offering Crash and his nemesis Dr Neo Cortex are thrown together by a bizarre set of circumstances. Cortex has been left floating around the Artic in a block of ice for the past three years when he finds himself washed up on the shore of Crash's Island home. Once defrosted he hatches a cunning plan to wreak revenge on his arch rival Crash Bandicoot and lure him into an ambush. He sees Crash's younger sister playing on the beach, knocks her out with a stun gun and then takes her place by donning a dress and blonde wig. If anyone is old enough to remember the Kenny Everitt character "Cupid Stunt" then this could be her uglier twin sister, beard and all. Then Cortex, dressed as the younger sister calls to Crash and tells him to follow her as there is something she wants to show him in the forest (I know, how many times have we all heard that before from a bearded lady?). This is where you take over initially playing as Crash. This first part of the game where you follow your "sister" serves mainly as a tutorial. When Crash eventually catches up Cortex who finally reveals his true identity and a showdown ensues. Cortex deploys a huge mechanical droid to finish off the unsuspecting Bandicoot. The mechanical menace is easily defeated and falls through a hole in the ground. Coretx is furious and launches a physical attack on Crash which sees them both falling through the hole into the mines below.

When Crash and Cortex are thrown together indulging in fisticuffs they form a sphere that can be negotiated through the caverns avoiding traps, explosives and obstacles. I thought this to be very similar to the concept of I-Ninja a PS2 title by Namco where a ball has to be negotiated along pipes and platforms and calling for a huge amount of patience and dexterity. In other parts of the game Crash uses Cortex as a weapon, amongst other things, by spinning him around and using his head as a hammer to smash boxes, assault enemies etc. This is another idea that has also been used recently on another PS2 title Whiplash where a rabbit and a weasel are chained together and are trying to escape from an animal testing lab (trust me it's funnier than it sounds!!). These ideas may not be original but they do give Crash TwinSanitysome diversity from its previously repetitive formula.

As in previous Crash titles there are still the obligatory gems and crystals to collect by completing certain tasks and defeating bosses. Additional lives can be acquired by collecting a number of "wumpa" fruit or smashing specific crates, so there is nothing particularly new there. What is new, however, is the opportunity of controlling other characters in some levels such as Dr Neo Cortex himself as well as his sister Nina who has the ability to swing across hoops with her mechanical arms.

As in previous titles in the series the graphics are bright and colourful, the locations diverse and the dialogue relatively amusing, what is more Travellers Tales have still managed to produce the compulsory irritating background music that is synonymous with previous Crash titles.

That said, those are possibly most of the games good points. I'm sorry to all you Crash fans out there but I hated this game. I very quickly became frustrated by the slow response time the characters had to the control system. At one point in the early stages of the game I had manages to accumulate 12 lives only to loose 9 of them due to no other fault other than poor or on occasion no response to given commands. Many times while trying to implement to slide attack on an enemy Crash would crawl along the floor only to sustain injury by a counter attack. Also some of the camera angles make it very difficult to gauge and negotiate platforms and jumps. There are also very few save points which means that it could take a long time to complete a challenge, you run out of lives, can't save your game so have to start all over again, aaaahhhhh!!!!! The dialogue is actually quite amusing until you realise that you can't skip cut scenes which means that if you die you have to listen to the same thing over and over and over... again. Basically after playing Crash TwinSanity for several hours I began to loose the will to live, as there wasn't enough to the game to make me want to persevere and complete it. The game is aimed at the younger market but I personally don't think that a six year old is going to have the patience to play this game for any length of time. Maybe I'm doing the game a great disservice but I would recommend that you try before you buy.