There was a time in the not so distant past that there was no way that anyone could envisage a Crash Bandicoot on any other system other than a Sony, but here it is in all it's glory on the Gameboy Advance!
One of the major points of the original series on PSone was the addictive gameplay and beautiful graphics. At first glance it was believed that there was no way it could be done on the GBA however Vicarious Visions (Spider-Man, Tony Hawk 2 & 3 on Gameboy Color and Advance) have done an absolutely stunning job on capturing the essence of this wonderful title.
As always the evil Neo Cortex is hell-bent on taking over the planet and becoming Earth's supreme ruler! This time however the diminutive madman has shrunk the Earth to the size of a grapefruit so everyone will "have to look up" to him. It's up to Crash, Aku and Coco to stop him in his tracks!
Boasting over 20 levels and sublevels, Crash XS is absolute eye candy, doing poetic justice to the game made great on Playstation. All attacks and controls are present and I was most pleased to see that the chase scenes were still firmly in place with Crash being chased by Ice Creatures in caverns with him rushing down the cavern towards you.
Presenting a true challenge to all fans of platformers, this title will wear your thumbs out to the bone. I just could not get over how good this title looked on the Advance. Normally you look at titles and expect a graphics decline but this was not the case at all. Crash fully looks like his good self, as do all other characters and Vicarious have made the controls for the GBA second nature to manoeuvring our favourite marsupial.
Audio-wise the game is a treat, with all original sounds from the PSone making their presence felt on the machine. Sound compression is slightly noticeable but really what could you expect given the format?
One thing I constantly admire about the GBA is the introduction of memory on the cartridge to save your game. Crash has numerous save slots for you and friends to save their games. Naturally there is an overwrite feature if you wish to use the same slot more than once.
If you are a fan of good platforming games, then as far as I am concerned you have to own this title and see what you were missing on the Playstation. Crash Bandicoot XS is a must buy cartridge for the Gameboy Advance and a true addition to the series, rather than an amusing distraction/add-on.
- Tory Favro