Remember those ads with the guy in the odd-looking outfit trying to get a bazooka through airport security? This is the game they were advertising.

Company Credits

Title: Crash Bandicoot: Warped
Developer: Naughty Dog
System: PlayStation
Release Date: 1998
Game Type: Platform Jumper

Premise

The evil Neo Cortex, who works for the more evil Uka Uka, is trying to
take over the world by collecting crystals and gems. It’s up to Crash
Bandicoot, and his sister Coco, to get the crystals first.

High Point

The variety of game play. Some levels play like your typical
Mario-inspired game, but the races, dogfights, and dinosaur stampedes
were a nice break from the ordinary.

Low Point

The time trials. I rapidly lost interest in the game after playing
several levels over and over again to shave a second or two off my
final time.

My Progress

I didn’t play the entire game, so I should mention what I missed. My
completion is about 85%, as the game measures it. I have completed
all mandatory levels (including the defeat of Neo Cortex) and 5 of the
7 optional levels. (I don’t have enough relics to access levels 29 or
30, and I don’t plan on spending enough time on the game to access
them.) According to the walkthroughs I found at GameFaqs.com, I have every gem I
can get without using relics to access more levels.

I should also note that this is the first Crash Bandicoot game I’ve
played. I picked this up, as well as Crash Team Racing and Crash
Bash, in a relatively cheap three-pack called Crash Bandicoot
Collector’s Edition
.

The Scores

This game is remarkably lacking in the originality
department. The platform levels are shockingly similar to Mario
games. You can attack enemies by jumping on them, spinning into them,
throwing things at them, or propelling other enemies into them.
Breaking boxes (many of which are marked with a question mark) can
help you collect little items (in this case, fruit instead of Mario’s
coins.) Once you have 100 of them, you get a free life. Some boxes
need to be hit repeatedly, giving out two items at a time. Other
boxes will allow you to take another hit from enemies without dying,
or make you temporarily invincible (marked by a rapidly rotating
colour palette and up-tempo music.) If not for the vehicle levels,
this would seem like nothing more than a cheap Mario knock-off. I
give it 3 out of 6.

The story is all but absent. Take the premise above, add the
fact that there’s a new mini-boss, N. Tropy, who was hired to build a
time machine, and you’ve got the entire thing. (Well, except for the
ending, but that’s never really in doubt, is it?) I give it 2 out of
6.

The graphics are actually quite good. The playable
characters and bosses have a lot of personality in them, although the
run-of-the-mill enemies don’t have much. Each enemy will kill Crash
in its own unique way, so I sometimes found myself sacrificing one of
my many spare lives to check out a new animation. They did not,
however, give the enemies unique deaths themselves. Most of the time,
they just disappear in a puff of smoke. This could be due to
constraints on the number of wireframe animations a CD can hold,
though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The sound and music are functional, but not spectacular. The
voice actors sometimes lay the accents on so thick that I can’t
understand what they are saying. The sound effects do an excellent
job of giving the player clues about the environment in a lot of
cases, but the effects themselves are pretty basic. I give it 4 out
of 6.

The playability is pretty decent. The basic controls are
intuitive, and the controls for the new powers you acquire are given
right there on screen when you get that power. My only serious
complaints are that it can sometimes be difficult to judge where Crash
will land (as, unlike Mario, he refuses to balance with one toe on the
edge of a building), and the fruit bazooka occasionally refuses to
point in the right direction when Crash is facing into or out of the
screen (which is usually only a problem when you are aiming for the
corner of a screen.) I give it 4 out of 6.

The immersion is slightly flawed. I get the time travel
motif, but the warp rooms are designed in time periods that don’t
necessarily correspond to the time periods of the levels accessed
through those rooms. There wasn’t really a clear, consistent picture
of a world presented at any point in the game, which kept me from
really getting involved. I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, this is a decent platform jumper, but I wouldn’t
call it a must-have game by any stretch of the imagination. It really
felt like somebody was told to make a Mario-type game for the
PlayStation because Nintendo wouldn’t port the real Mario games
themselves. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Crash Bandicoot: Warped receives 24 out of 42.

Up Next

I’ve got a number of PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games I haven’t
reviewed yet. They are all listed at the bottom of this page.
If there’s anything on that list you’d like to see reviewed in
particular, let me know.