Developers: Eurocom Entertainment Software
Publishers: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Plot: Aku Aku and Uka Uka create a series of challenges to finally decide who is stronger: good or evil?
Crash Bandicoot was one of the reigning champions of the Playstation era. Seeing as the serious games weren’t as addictive as the crazy world of Crash, Spyro and Rayman, there seemed to be no beating the Bandicoot. With three strong adventure games to its name, as well as a racing game that went down a storm, despite the obvious risks, it seemed that Crash could no wrong. Well, that was until Crash Bash came out…
The alarm bells begin to ring when you notice that Naughty Dog have left the team, starting to toy with a new series (a little-known duo known as Jak and Daxter). This explains why the tone and atmosphere of Crash Bandicoot is a little off. The characters are still there, as it is hard to get the fun side of things too badly wrong. Crash is still the same speechless hero, using yelps and gasps to communicate with the player. As for everyone else, without a firm plot, all that is required is a series of phrases that the game can randomly use, whenever it feels the need. However, at the same time, Crash Bash feels a little hollow. I am going to go ahead and blame the lack of story here. Even Crash Team Racing threw together a plot, so the fact that Crash and Cortex would be on a race track together without trying to kill each other (most of the time!) made sense with context. However, the lack of context on Crash Bash just creates a confused mess. Nothing is explained and as a result, a few well-timed yelps and groans from Cortex, does not save the day. Without Naughty Dog, Sony feel lost at sea, trying to mimic the last few games, but without a strong enough idea of how to go about it.
It is just so lazy. The concept behind the game was to have a series of mini-games that players could whack out at parties. I don’t know a single person who would choose a game of Crash Bash over Crash Team Racing when their friends came over. There is no pattern to the mini-games either. One moment, you are using a Ripper Roo pogo stick to claim territory over your opponents and the next, you are all trying to stay on an icy pillar that is wobbling in the sea. It doesn’t make any sense. It is essentially a few ideas half-heartedly thrown into a pot, to try and keep the Crash Bandicoot series ticking over for one more game. A lot of the disappointment comes from the fact that we all wanted a straight-forward platforming style of gaming with this fifth instalment. CTR provided a nice break with a Mariokart clone, but Crash Bash does nothing for the player. If Crash Bandicoot was going to start to decline, it would mostly like be with the fifth entry to the series, but no one quite thought it would instantly crash and burn quite like this. Some could argue that hasn’t been a good Crash Bandicoot game since, or more likely, after the world was subjected to Crash Bash, there was no longer any faith in the series being able to live up to the glory days. This time, it really was game over.
Final Verdict: The golden era of Crash Bandicoot ends abruptly here.