Dr. Neo Cortex is back and up to no good in the latest instalment of the Crash Bandicoot series on the XBox games console.
I must confess that it felt weird playing a game which used to be Sony's flagship character on the opposition's machine. However, with the huge amount of improvements that have been made, it's easy to understand why XBox gamers have been treated to the marsupials adventures.
Firstly, this is the best looking Crash game hands down. Textures are detailed and plentiful and animated to the point that for the first time Crash actually has fur!! That's correct, you can discern fur moving as he ducks and weaves through the game.
The basic storyline is simple yet fun. Cortex has developed a super weapon to take out Crash and his sister Coco and take over the world: A Super-Bandicoot called Crunch who is almost all powerful and certainly seems hopped up on something.
As per the previous Crash games, the adventures revolve around a hub system that finally results in 30 new action packed levels.
A bane of the PS2 version of the same title was the exceedingly slow loading times for every level. These have been all but banished from the XBox version with a wait of about 5 seconds for each level to load.
Framerates for the game are solid and never seem to take a real hit even when the action is fast and furious. Everything is polished and a real improvement over it's predecessor. That was one of my main complaints over the previous PS2 version. I feel bad comparing console versions of a game however it is almost a necessity when covering this title.
Whilst enjoyable on Playstation 2, I feel that this XBox version has been given a lot more love than the last one. It just didn't truly feel like a next generation game. This one does.
Sound is handled well in the game and is handled in a great way with all the classic tunes making their appearance once again to assault your eardrums. It is a bit confusing when using a surround sound setup to discern exactly where everything is coming from so I would suggest just using your television speakers for this one.
The control system is easy to follow as it has been in the past, however Crash can learn new moves within the game as he progresses. Spinning, ducking and attacking are but a small part of his repertoire.
Not unlike Crash: Warped you do get to play as his sister Coco. I enjoyed this experience on Warped when playing as Coco I got to ride on the back of a tiger along the Great Wall of China.