Tuesday , May 28 2024
Jungle mayhem full of great graphics and voice talent, but needs more content, innovation and variety.

Nintendo Wii Review: Crash of the Titans

In this revamped installment, Crash must battle familiar bad guys on a monster filled island, but has some friends to help him along the way. “I can't actually hear you. I'm really far away and I'm flying like a hovercraft or something.” This bad guy quote epitomizes the fun tone in a standard “bad guy takes a hero’s friend, then the hero’s rescues her” story. Experienced voice actors like Jess Harnell (Crash), Greg Eagles (the “good” floating voodoo mask Aku Aku), Lex Lang (Dr. Neo Cortex) and Nolan North (Dr. N.Gin) keep these popular characters alive and kicking.

Voice actor extraordinaire John Di Maggio (Bender from Futurama) provides even more appeal as Aku’s evil twin brother Uka Uka (clever). An additional surprise character twist adds more punch to the cartoony proceedings. Players can choose an easy, normal or hard level and have five save slots – plenty for most households. There are no checkpoints, but usually return close to your previous point after dying. The replay options stretch out the replay value a bit (most players can finish the game in less than ten hours), but more levels would’ve been better.

The action works well as Crash focuses on the linear missions while breaking things up with some side items. A targeting system/Wii control option for destroying items on the sides (and collecting ensuing bonus items) would eliminate the annoying busy work here. Guess it’s still no work, no reward in the standard, familiar video game world. The game has some decent side missions and plenty of tutorial material, especially helpful as the game’s complexity progresses. The jungle theme includes voodoo dolls, collecting “mojo” and piggybacking then possessing huge monsters. This element progresses nicely and makes good use of the Wii control interface.

Crash’s appearance lives up to his Bandicoot (rat-like marsupial…yes, it’s an actual animal) status, looking ragged aesthetically, but packing some mean fighting moves like jump kicks. Crash has great agility as well like the ability to spin like a helicopter and gently float down after big jumps. Special moves and sniping action are big pluses here. Other special equipment helps the hero along the way, but the new “jacking” element takes the stage here. After you stun an enemy, Crash has the ability to lift up for special moves that match the action well (lift up first jack – spikes from ground)

Most bosses fall with constant button mashing moves and well-timed special attacks (Z button). Even when you can’t get a boss down, they’ll give you time to strategize and defeat them plus most of the killer combination moves are pretty simple.

If you can’t beat them, then join them! That mantra is taken literally here as players in the co-op mode can jump in another’s backpack when the going gets tough. This nice feature avoids frustration (especially from younger, inexperienced players) often seen in the co-op mode. One catch – the players must switch positions (or the better jumper can keep the remote). Whatever position you’re in, stay close to each other or you’ll experience camera challenges.

The cut scenes have a minimal story with some hit and miss humor, but mainly work because of the high level of voice acting. Players can even have fun with the customizable pointer during these scenes among the relatively easy game play. Decent mayhem full of great graphics for a largely young crowd with an appetite for destruction, but more content (boosting the replay value), innovation (using more Wii control elements) and variety (enemies, bonus items, etc.) is needed for a higher recommendation.

Crash of the Titans is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor and Mild Language. This game can also be found on: GBA and Nintendo DS (rated E), PS2, PSP and Xbox 360.

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