As a devout fan of the Crash Bandicoot trilogy for PlayStation 1, I was all set to continue the orange bandicoot's adventure's on PS2. But like Spyro, Crash had changed developer between the PS1 and PS2, and in both cases, this was not a good idea.
The graphics are perhaps the only thing about the game worth praising. Crash's cheeky grin and cartoony graphics look even better on PS2.
Granted that the Crash games were never heavily story based, but still, if a game's going to have a little bit of story, it might as well be good. Following his third defeat, Dr. Neo Cortex has developed an anti-Crash warrior called Crush, who crash must defeat.
The game's story unfolds in a similar manner to Crash 3, with upcoming bosses taunting you in between levels. The dialogue, however, is quite bland and doesn't retain any of the humour from the original game.
Now we get to what is really wrong with the game; everything. First off, Crash moves as if he's carrying a backpack full of bricks. His severe lack of speed takes away the fun of being able to storm through the level at high speed during Time Attack like in the previous game. His jumps are equally slow and unstylish.
The next fact cannot be stressed enough; the loading times are a nightmare. You are subjected to a minute-long wait every time you enter and leave a level. Compared to the ~ 5 second waiting times in the previous games, you really have to wonder just how this managed to slip through playtesting.
The variety of levels is good, and the similar style of level that we loved in the previous games are still there, but ultimately it's just like playing a poor version of Crash Bandicoot 3. Some of the bosses in particular (who are all just different versions of Crush) are noticeably copies from CB3. Most of the new vehicles aren't as good as the ones already introduced in the previous games.
This was one of the first PS2 games I bought, and didn't have much else to play. I'm pretty sure that this is the only reason I managed to get through most of the game. Lifespan-wise the game is fine but you'll need a severe lack of things to do in order to want to get through it.
Traveller's Tales have taken Naughty Dog's orange marsupial, sapped all the life (and speed for that matter) from the gameplay and have never looked back. I encourage you to play CB 1-3 on PS1; they are excellent games, but stay away from this travesty.
If you want a good platformer for PS2, get Jak and Daxter (made by Naughty Dog). If you want a great platformer, get Ratchet and Clank (made by Insomniac; the geniuses behind Spyro). Sadly, I think this bandicoot is headed for extinction.